One of the big shifts we’ve seen in marketing during the pandemic is the increased demand for authentic and personal brand connections. These engaging, transparent connections are now the new normal: They’re essential to gaining customer trust and building brand loyalty, which explains why influencer marketing continues to dominate social media trends.
Unlike banner ads and pop-ups, consumers actually trust influencers:
- 95% of people age 18-34 read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business (BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey 2018).
- 74% of consumers trust opinions they find on social media, including those from friends, families, and influencers, to help them make the right decision about buying a product or service (Digital Marketing Institute).
- Sponsored blog posts alone have proven to yield up to 11x more ROI than standard banner ads (Influencer Marketing Hub).
If you’re incorporating influencers as part of your marketing strategy, use the latest influencer trends to guide your effort:
Go with niche or micro-influencers. Unlike celebrities, niche or micro-influencers (2,000 to 10,000 followers), are engaged with their audiences: 6 in 10 teens follow advice from influencers over celebrities (Digital Marketing Institute). Since most influencers have built their social followings organically, their audiences follow them specifically for the content they create, which means they’re more likely to buy products from their collaborations with sponsoring brands.
Seek an authentic brand fit. Before partnering with an influencer, understand his/her audience demographic and make sure there is a natural fit with your product and brand.
Understand their ethos. Influencers have power when delivering a message to their audience—so know where they stand (and what issues they are vocal about). For instance, if your products are eco-friendly then don’t partner with an influencer who is aligned with products that are not environmentally responsible, as you may get backlash.
Incorporate video. Use of video boosts digital content views and shares, not only because it’s entertaining—it’s also effective: Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text (Insivia); and 72% of customers would rather learn about a product or service by way of video (HubSpot). Use videos as part of your influencer collaboration (Instagram Stories, Reels, TikTok, YouTube, etc.) to create content that resonates.
Create long-term influencer partnerships. Instead of one-off posts, more brands are using ambassadors to help connect with their audiences over time: 40% of people say they’ve purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, Vine, or YouTube (Twitter and Annalect). Like relationships, building a lasting connection with your customers using an influencer will be more productive for driving brand loyalty.
Tap user-generated content. Much the same as using organic user generated content, by engaging an influencer to create content around your products or services and then sharing that on social media, you’ll expand your reach. Create brand and product- or campaign-specific hashtags to help drive sharing; and then repost shared images or videos, share in your stories, and save them on your headlines.
As influencer marketing has become far more transparent, and thus, relatable, consumers are responding to brand-sponsored content in a big way. When managed as part of an integrated marketing strategy, it can yield exceptional results for your brand.