Most (83 percent) of global consumers say digital advertisements interrupt their online experience, according to Rakuten Marketing. So it should come as no surprise to learn 78 percent of consumers use ad blockers or proactively opt out of ads in other ways. If you choose to continue purchasing digital ads to promote your business, you will have lost three-quarters of potential buyers before you even start.
Diminished ad reach isn’t the half of it. The average click-through rate (CTR) of ads is now only 0.05 percent, according to Smart Insights. Competition for consumers’ attention is fierce, and Influencer Marketing could be just what’s needed to reach today’s advertising-averse consumers.
Having road tested Influencer Marketing extensively, I believe that done right, this increasingly popular modality can deliver phenomenal results for both B2B and B2C industries. Rather than interrupting a person’s online experience, the brand becomes an organic, integral part of influencers’ content. According to a Tomoson study, marketers generate an average $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer talent fees. Depending upon the industry, the topic, and the specific influencers you work with, ROI can be even better. For example, the year-long campaign I ran on behalf of custom skincare provider Curology generated $15 in annualized subscription revenue for every dollar spent on talent fees.
Before you dive into Influencer Marketing, consider four pieces to the Influencer Marketing puzzle that will help you understand when and how to incorporate Influencer Marketing successfully into the mix.
#1 It’s a long-term play
Unlike pay-per-click advertising campaigns which are capable of driving same day sales until the moment you pull the plug, Influencer Marketing campaigns can generate same day sales as well as build brand awareness indefinitely. Influencer Marketing tends to require more time than resources, but the positive, long-term impacts are well-worth the effort.
#2: Building a solid foundation is vital
Start by setting clear goals and designating quantifiable metrics such as cost per view, cost per acquisition, and other essential data points to measure outcomes. You also need to develop concise message guidelines that get your points across while leaving influencers ample room to do their thing.
Bear in mind that social media stars have cultivated their following by presenting themselves and their viewpoints authentically. They’re in tune with what fits their brand, what’s trending and what works with their audience.
Too much brand interference inevitably leads to poor campaign performance. Last summer, the PR agency responsible for launching an augmented reality shooting game insisted on changing video titles and descriptions, both of which are key SEO ranking factors on YouTube. As a result, the toy manufacturer lost over half a million views on a single video compared to the YouTube family’s average reach.
3 Find the right people
Choosing the right people is your single most important success factor, and social media is the obvious place to discover the people who influence your buyers. I use tools like Little Bird and BuzzSumo to figure out who’s sharing relevant content, and I’m a big fan of using Twitter lists to source B2B influencers.
Once you identify the list of candidates, watch what the influencer posts, how often they post, and how their followers react. Do people repost, comment, share, and otherwise interact with the content in and around topics that appeal to your buyers? If not, move on to the next candidate.
#4 Make Friends with Influencers
This is easier said than done. In many industries, social media stars are inundated with impersonal email blasts which frequently go unanswered. The real magic happens when you 1) connect with influencers who genuinely like your products or services and the values you represent; 2) take the time to build genuine relationships; and 3) think in terms of delivering mutual value. Move beyond free products and find ways to offer notoriety or even cold, hard cash.
I generally use social media for relationship building. I share their content using the appropriate hashtags, leave comments on posts, and engage them on their preferred social channels. I use Nimble to speed up the vetting process, monitor engagement signals, and remind me to follow up periodically.*
By building true relationships, both sides can receive a bounty of benefits for a long time to come. For instance, the YouTube family I mentioned earlier took it upon themselves to create a second video featuring the AR shooting game. This time, they selected the storyline, title and description themselves, and the video generated over six million views. Now that’s a relationship worth investing in!
Influencer Marketing is a challenging discipline to master, but the potential gains of running successful campaigns can be astronomical. As the field continues to grow in prominence, give this tactic the attention it deserves as it could be the very thing that takes your business to the next level.
*Disclaimer: I began using Nimble long before I came a Nimble employee.
Jenna Dobkin is an experienced influencer marketing professional with a passion for helping businesses acquire customers, build brands and enhance community relationships, both online and in the real world. Hallmarks of her work include conscientious influencer relations; strategic content marketing; and the delivery of social media and public relations campaigns, from inception through execution.
Currently, she heads up influencer marketing and guerilla PR for Nimble, the simple social CRM for Office 365 and G Suite. Jenna is also a nerd. She graduated top of her class from the University of California at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business in the early nineties.