As you may have guessed from the title of this article, there is something called Influencer Marketing. It is the hottest new thing in town, and it’s showing no signs of cooling down.
So before we get into how it works and why it’s hot, let us see what it is.
What is Influencer marketing?
We may not realize it, but we are breathing in Influencer Marketing everyday. In simple terms, it is influencing the opinion of your target audience by hiring some of the ‘influencers’ of that category.
So who are influencers? These are people who have, through their social media activity, proved themselves to be passionate experts in a particular field. Through Instagram, Blogs, YouTube, Facebook etc., they have managed to become the stars of this generation, and bona fide celebrities.
Their passion, expertise and willingness to share the same ensures they get a horde of loyal fans who trust them blindly in that category – be it gadgets, fashion, cellphones, books or practically anything.
When these ‘celebs’ recommend your brand of face-cream, television, movie or fashion line, their impact is stronger because their credibility is absolute. This credibility rubs off onto your brand. After all, this is no movie star endorsing a brand – this is a trusted category expert.
In other words, it is new-age word-of-mouth marketing, and it is one of the best ways to build brand credibility today.
As per a recent survey, 86% of the marketing professionals surveyed were found to have used influencer marketing and 95% of those said that influencer marketing was very much an integral part of their overall marketing strategy.
Influencer Marketing Case Study
An illustrative example of influencer marketing is the 2015 Amazon India venture, #CrazyForReading, where they roped in India’s bestselling authors – Amish Tripathi and AshwinSanghi to endorse their e-reader, Kindle Paperwhite.
Two ad films were made that captured the authors e-reading habit. Both the authors have a huge following on social media,which helpedin reaching out to potential customers. Moreover, the campaign asked readers on social media platforms to share their #CrazyForReading stories.
This is exactly what influencer marketing does. It identifies the right influencer in a particular segment and approaches them to initiate a momentum about the brand that eventually urges the potential customers to reach out to the brand.
Needless to say, it was an extremely successful campaign.
How does one find the right influencer for a brand?
It is of course absolutely necessary toidentify just the right influencers for one’s brand. There are a few points to keep in mind while choosing the right influencer for your brand –
- What is the potential reach of the influencer?
- Who is their audience?
- Does your product/service fit into their area of expertise?
Here are five factors that help identifythe right influencers for your brand.
Before you look at unique visitors and other metrics, it’s important to look at how aligned the influencer’s content is with your messaging. Read through the created content to get a sense of his viewpoint and relevance to your brand.
Engagement is an indicator of how highly engaged theinfluencer’s audience is with his content. Do those readers respond, comment, and share? What percentage of readers are returning vs. new?
While not the most important metric, reach is certainly a valid consideration. However, marketers should resist the urge to only look at unique visitors as a measure of reach. Quantum of traffic and followers are importantonly if the influencer is reaching out to your brand’s target audience.
For many verticals, there is a direct correlation between how often an influencer posts and rate of return visitors. As with marketing any website, it often takes multiple exposures to get a visitor to click and check out your site, and you want to make sure they come back.
Influencerswith a smaller ratio of sponsored content appear more authentic. Personal stories that include genuine use or mention of a product, service, or brand are more trusted than straight product reviews.
Some of the most famous influencers in the industry are:
- VirSanghvi (Food)
- Rajiv Makhni (Tech)
- AkankshaRedhu (Fashion)
To recap, here is the basic criteria to assess credibility of social media influencers:
- Blog Traffic
- Content Quality
- Expertise & frequency of following
- Social Media Following
- Alexa Rank
In addition, the following online tools come in handy in assessing the same:
- Blog Moz Rank
- Buzz Sumo
- Little Bird
So what is the future of Influencer Marketing?
Today it is a serious consideration forthe majority of brands to include Influencer Marketing as a part of their overall marketing strategy. Influencer Marketing is believed to be more cost effective than paid advertising, creating more credible leads.
Influencer Marketing, a $1 billion dollar industry today, as per predictions, will be worth $5-10 billion dollars globally in the next 5 years.
With the number of Internet users increasing in India at such a blazing pace, Influencer marketing will be a game changer for years to come.