In the past few months, I have had the opportunity to give several conferences on a topic that keeps increasing in popularity: influencer marketing. During my talk, I explain how some brands work with online influencers to promote their products and services. I also detail the best ways to develop an influencer marketing strategy by putting together a ten-step campaign.
During one of my workshops, a participant asked THE killer question: Why pay for an online influencer to increase brand awareness when a business could very well develop its own, highly targeted advertising campaign, using Facebook, Google or traditional media? Here are the top 5 reasons why brands are compelled to work with online influencers.
Influencers can create content for you.
For many SMEs, creating content is a challenge. For one, they are often too involved with their own businesses to realize all the topics someone from the outside would be interested in. In other words, some compelling articles, which are in tune with what your customers want, never see the light of day. When you choose the right online influencers, they are very much aware of what’s on the minds of potential customers. What’s more: online influencers are visible on a wide variety of platforms and can promote texts, pictures, videos, podcasts or other media.
Experience Transat is a blog from the Canadian airline and wholesaler Transat. It is a great example of how a blog can be constantly fed by travel bloggers such as Brown Bear Travels (shown here).
One caveat to remember: It is important to ensure that the content created can be posted on your various digital platforms. Negotiate this crucial aspect of your agreements with online influencers beforehand. Not all content can be reused. And not all influencers allow their content to be reused elsewhere than their own social media accounts, websites or blogs.
Influencers give you access to new followers
This is one of the main reasons to work with online influencers, particularly micro-influencers, who have less followers than celebrities—but an active, niche community that comes together based on shared interests and passions, such as fashion, travel, lifestyle, health and fitness, interior decor, photography, etc.
Some brands can reach their targeted audiences by being very active on social media or sending newsletters to qualified recipients over time. However, you can count on online influencers to cast a wider net and raise awareness about your brand, products and services.
View this post on Instagram
How ya goin’, mate? ???????? •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• I’m so excited to be back in the land of abbreviations! 7 years ago, I came to Sydney for the very first time. That summer, I spent 3 months traveling through Australia, Southeast Asia and New Zealand, and went on my first big solo adventure to Thailand. I kept a daily online journal that would eventually become “The Blonde Abroad” — so, needless to say, that trip changed the course of my life forever and I’ve got a very special place in my heart for this country. I’ll be spending the next week here, so grab your budgie smugglers, pour yourself a cuppa and tune into my IG stories for updates every arvo! •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• #sydney #australia #tbapresets #ilovesydney #seeaustralia
In the example above, travel blogger The Blonde Abroad showcases places to see and things to do while in Australia in a tone and manner that is obviously her own, and quite differently than a corporate destination account would. The reach and engagement levels are also interesting and different than if Tourism Australia would try to post this content on its own social accounts.
Influencers can improve your SEO
Another, little-known advantage is that online influencers can generate traffic and referral links to your website, especially if they are very active on social media and use different digital platforms, like a blog or YouTube, which is owned by Google.
A friend of mine recently noticed that her sales drastically increased thanks to a newspaper article that mentioned her products—thanks to a campaign she created with targeted online influencers to wear her products. For a new company and its website, getting a referral link from mainstream media pays big time! The same benefits apply to websites who get referral links from online influencers’ blogs, YouTube channel, Facebook and Instagram accounts, etc.
Influencers can increase credibility for your brand
The most direct and simple answer to give to the participant who asked me why a brand should work with online influencers is that visibility you can get with them is more credible than if you tried to post the same type of content and then push it on your social media accounts, like Facebook or Instagram, for example.
Why? In a nutshell, people don’t take too kindly to overt self-promotion. Did you know that 92% of consumers today trust review sites, such as TripAdvisor, Yelp and social media—and comments that are left on ecommerce sites, including eBay, Amazon, Expedia and Booking.com? On the flip side, only 33% of people trust traditional ads from brands, which also includes content shared via social media. (Source: e-influence, 2017)
Influencers must however make sure to choose partners that will not undermine their followers’ trust and credibility with their online communities. The firm MediaKix recently published the results of a survey showing that influencers lose their followers’ confidence when they are not transparent when communicating with them.
This means that when a partnership between a brand and an online influencer is based on transparency and common values, the credibility simply cannot be beat; in other words, credibility contributes to increasing awareness for a brand or specific product. (Notice in the example above how the Instagram post is clearly a paid partnership and is stated as such)
Influencers can help brands circumvent ad blockers
One final, but critical, advantage: online influencers can assist brands in bypassing ad blockers. Internet and mobile users are increasingly using these tools to avoid being bombarded by online ads, especially on websites that need ad sales in order to survive.
On a global scale, many studies show that nearly one mobile device out of nine has an ad blocker, which means over 615 million mobile devices! What’s more, the use of ad blockers is growing at an annual rate of 30%, particularly in Asia. That is a major upswing—and headache for marketers.
Brands are therefore turning to online influencers to get their messages across to targeted audiences and working around those pesky ad blockers, which have difficulty distinguishing between promotional and organic content.
There are many other reasons why brands should work with online influences. However, these top five advantages are the basis of a potentially successful digital strategy, especially when compare with other tactics.