What is Influencer Marketing and Why Does it Matter?
Discover the Value of Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is the process of identifying, researching, engaging and supporting the people who create high-impact conversations with customers about your brand, products or services.
Influencer marketing offers brands the potential to unify their marketing, PR, sales, product, digital marketing, and social media through powerful and relevant relationship-based communication. Both the ROI and marketing potential of influencer marketing are immense.
Certainly, the value of influence over customers is not a novel concept in marketing. But as online customer conversations continue to evolve so drastically, influencers are playing a critical role in breaking online clutter, creating relevant customer dialogue and bringing trust to the table for brands and marketers alike.
Why Influence Matters
With one tweet, tap, or snap we interact with our peers in an instant, as we do with brands. This new social fabric affects how people relate to and involve themselves with brands, ultimately enabling them to be more than just buyers. Brands set to succeed in this new environment have acknowledged the fundamental retooling and transformation already underway. Thus, they have made strides to value their community, and in turn become valued members.
Influencers offer a unique lens for a brand to relate to its community and earn its trust.
Why Influencers are the Lifeblood of Your Inbound Marketing
Utilizing an inbound approach to influencer marketing drives awareness, cultivates an audience, and bolsters owned media over time. The effects of influencer marketing on your inbound efforts include:
- improved word-of-mouth advertising
- increased number of expert opinions gained
- social proof
All of these factors are essential in gaining customer trust and loyalty. In fact, a recent Nielsen study found that 92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations above all other forms of advertising. By starting with a relevant message and audience, mapping your best-fit influencers, and utilizing social engagement best-practices, your inbound marketing will reap massive rewards.
The Power of Influencers to Guide an Audience
In a highly social web, information travels like waves — and influencers are the wavemakers. They have the following, trust and influence to guide an audience toward loving, listening or leaving brands.
So, how is this different from public relations? Influencer marketing does not revolve around paid shills, or celebrity endorsements. It’s about unique, honest, legitimate relationships between the customer, brand and influencer. Which is exactly what makes influencer marketing so unique from other marketing tactics. When brands commit to influencers, they are also committing to being long-term advocates for their audience and customers.
B2C and B2B Companies Killing it With Influencers
Travelocity: Advancing the Art of Travel
Travelocity was the world’s first online travel agency, inspiring millions to take control of their travel and champion their own journeys. But as more companies have entered the online travel agency fold, customer experiences in this arena are gaining a reputation for being a bit too transactional. No human touch. No authenticity. Just cut rate prices on hotels, flights, and all car rentals.
Enter influencer marketing. Travelocity set out to reverse these negative customer perceptions by creating an influencer community of travel experts.
Through community engagement and monitoring, Travelocity sought to impact customers in an authentic way. By utilizing influencer marketing best practices, Travelocity has been a key component in humanizing travel planning for customers. This has been a huge success due to community management, ongoing engagement, and real relationship-building.
What’s on the Horizon for Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is rapidly gaining popularity. No doubt marketers are catching on to the ROI and relationship-building potential. But just how big is it? And what challenges can marketers expect to face in the coming years? In 2015, Schlesinger Associates released a study in which 84% of marketers said they would launch at least one influencer campaign in the following year. Others have claimed that the industry of influencer marketing could soon balloon to $5-10 billion dollars in spend.
We have fostered a culture that empowers us to spend every ounce of energy towards solving our customers’ problems and lifting their businesses through influencer marketing.