In a major shift away from interruption based marketing, where consumers are sent marketing messages intended to jolt us awake from our daily hypnotic trance just long enough to successfully deliver an irresistible marketing or branding message into our cloudy brains:
smart marketers are migrating to a permission based marketing tactic, namely influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing leverages the existing distribution and relationship that influencers, particularly social media stars who have built up a significant following, have developed over time.
Examples of social media influencers include Nash Grier (10.1M followers on Vine), Zoe Sugg (6.5M subscribers on YouTube) and Chris Ozer (605k followers on Instagram). In addition to these fairly well known social media stars, there are literally thousands more who have developed highly engaged and faithful followers north of 100k strong (and growing) each.
These influencers are being hired by brands to endorse their products and amply their marketing messages.
And, consumers are responding to influencer’s endorsements.
A recent research study by Nielsen showed that buyers trust experts and influencers over branded content. According to the report, here’s how expert/influencer content performed over Branded content:
- 88% Lift in Brand Familiarity
- 50% Lift in Brand Affinity
- 38% Lift in Purchase Intent
Influencer marketing just might be the new holy grail in advertising, however there are two subtle yet critical campaign mistakes that Brands must avoid when running influencer marketing campaigns, or else performance and reach will greatly disappoint.
#1 Content Must Come From The Influencer
The very reason why social media influencers have become influential in the first place is because their audience organically responds to their flavor of content. As a result, over time a perceived 1:1 relationship and personal bond develops between the influencer and his followers (which is the very thing that brands are seeking to capitalize on).
The minute the influencer veers from their authentic persona is the minute they lose credibility and the message falls flat. Both are harmful and definitely not desired.
For example, if we had given YouTube creator Matthias a Hollywood written script to follow for the following Dollar Shave Club YouTube video, we would have never gotten this gold (click the image to watch the video):
If you subscribe to Matthias’ channel or look at his other videos, you know that this video comes from him, is authentic and as a result the video has driven almost 2k clicks to the Dollar Shave Club website from the unique link in the video description.
#2 Use The Influencer’s Distribution, Not Only Yours
When speaking with a big box retailer about an upcoming influencer marketing campaign, we asked about their previous experiences using influencers in their marketing activities. They were sort of ho-hum about the idea of doing more. We dug in and learned that they had hired and spent a ton of cash on a YouTube star with a significant following. This star created very scripted and “management by committee” type videos (see #1 above). They then proceeded to post the videos to their corporate blog and promoted them on their social channels as the primary method for launching and promoting them.
They were expecting the videos created by the influencer superstar would create a title wave of social media attention that would make Kim Kardashian jealous. Instead, they drove little reach beyond their already converted clan (i.e. people who read their blog).
What they missed was using the awesome power of the Influencer’s distribution. When an influencer pushes out content to their followers, the brand gets exposed to new, typically young and fully engaged audiences.
While influencer marketing is proving to be a great channel for brands to reach new, engaged audiences, they’ll ensure greater success if they also trust the influencer with creative control over the content (to ensure authenticity) and require that the influencer pushes out the content to their networks for the highest distribution and most engagement possible.
(Header image: screengrab via “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood”)