Everyone and their dogs are talking about influencer marketing, and while it’s no longer the new kid on the block, this marketing approach is still widely misunderstood. If you believe influencer marketing is here to stay — trust me, it is — you need to know what’s fact and what’s fiction about these trending campaigns.
Influencer marketing is an effective form of marketing: fact
In 2017 Fiji Water set out to demonstrate their commitment to hydrating those who want to look and feel great. The water brand joined forces with Danielle Bernstein’s fashion blog We Wore What to create a series of eight minute workout videos, helping followers find motivation to push themselves.
The campaign #BodyWoreWhat generated millions of impressions and helped bring awareness to the Fiji Water brand movement. It’s unclear whether or not the brand saw a significant increase in sales, but this isn’t surprising. Most influencer marketing campaigns are better served to drive brand awareness over purchase conversion.
The best influencers have the biggest reach: fiction
Social media superstar, Nikkie de Jager has 11 million followers and 891 million video views on YouTube. Over the past six years, Nikkie has built her personal brand through beauty tutorials and sharing her experiences with cosmetics and procedures. Her followers, known as “glow babies,” have come to expect expert tips and honest feedback about the products and techniques used to create her many looks.
Do you think her “glow babies” would find a post promoting a vacuum interesting? Would the post build Nikkie’s image or the brand’s image? Most likely, no. That’s because reach is not the primary factor in determining the “best” influencer. Instead, marketers need to identify influencers that share an authentic connection to their products and brand identity.
Influencer marketing only happens online: fiction
It’s true that tracking impressions, likes, comments, and clicks of online campaigns featuring influencers like Danielle or Nikkie is easy. But just because offline influencer marketing is harder to measure doesn’t mean consumers aren’t having conversations about your product outside of the world wide web.
In fact, according to a Berkeley Research Group, more than 90% of retail sales still happen in stores. These customers ask friends, family, co-workers, and store associates for advice on what to buy. The 2017 Consumer Content Report: Influence in the Digital Age declares that nearly three times as many people say content from friends and family influences their purchase decisions compared to content from celebrities. Just because tracking the efficacy of offline influencer campaigns is extremely difficult doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile.
Bringing it all together
As the consumer buying journey continues to evolve, influencer marketing will become a larger part of the marketing mix. It’s crucial for marketers to understand the many facets of influencer marketing and leverage the right tactic for the right purpose.
On one end of the spectrum the insta-famous, mega influencers can support top of the funnel marketing, creating positive brand recognition. On the other end, subject matter experts with a genuine passion, knowledge, and experience can support bottom of the funnel marketing, helping consumers make confident buying decisions. Getting to the truth of influencer marketing will separate the winners and losers.