What is Influencer Marketing
Like much in the digital marketing realm, it’s an offline concept converted for an online world. Pick someone people listen to and get them to introduce your product or service. If only it was that simple…
roduct endorsements have been around for as long as advertising, in all it’s myriad forms, has existed. Companies have begged royals for their stamp of approval for many hundreds of years. Likewise anyone who is famous or well known is likely to be offered endorsement deals. At its core this is influencer marketing. And 92% of marketers who used it in 2017 found it to be effective.
In today’s internet driven world, this type of marketing has a wide-reaching realm. From the mightiest YouTuber with millions of subscribers to the smaller specialist blogs, there is a corresponding group of content consumers who are not just listening, but devouring, the content these channels produce. Getting your product into these channels can make a real difference.
“Influencers are content creators with built-in distribution: a loyal following that spans across many channels, from their blog to various social platforms.” – Kamiu Lee, VP of Strategy at Bloglovin
Let’s not confuse influence marketing with advertising. This is more than just paying George Foreman or David Beckham to hold one of your t-shirts and smile at a camera. Nor is it simply handing over some cash to a blogger to say lovely things about you.
Influencer marketing is about working with an influencer so they are able to show your product in its true light using the style to which their fans have become accustomed.
Let me give you an example of well-planned influencer marketing. Subaru’s #MeetAnOwner campaign got stuntman Devin Graham to slide off a 500-foot cliff into a base jump. You’ll need to watch the video to see how the linkup to the Subaru brand works. But work it does. It isn’t forced, cheesy or manufactured. Just some well-known guys doing what they love best.
Let’s take an example where influencer marketing would not work. Paying a big name YouTube vlogger to hold up your product and reel off a list of features. Viewers would smell a rat a mile off. Plus any influencer worth their salt would refuse to do it in the first place.
It’s worth noting here that good influencer marketing needs partnership and co-operation. The simplest form would be simply to send your product to the influencer with a note saying “Here, we make these, I hope you find it useful”. People do this to YouTuber Casey Neistat all the time (so much that he made a feature of him opening his mail to see what people had sent him). Beware, coming out of the blue, this approach might annoy the influencer. It does raise a good point, which is that a good relationship with an influencer is not about control. You’re not trying to put words into their mouth. If it’s a simple review you’re after, contact the influencer beforehand to arrange a demo of the product. Work with them, the results will be far more balanced.
It’s not a case of competing with social or content marketing, then. Quite the reverse. influencer marketing works hand in hand with all other digital channels. No, scratch that.. influencer marketing works because of all the other digital channels. Just like other forms of digital marketing, It’s not a quick fix or a short-term game. You’ll need to work hard with a well-planned strategy to get this form of marketing to work for you. But, as can be seen in plenty of examples, the results can be staggeringly good