How Influential Is Your Influencer?
"Social media has fundamentally changed the balance of power between customers and brands"
- Kyle Wong, founder and CEO of Pixlee
And we can only say, WORD.
Considering today's social landscape, it's the customers who have the power over a brand, they are less likely to
be influenced by flashy commercials and uninvited native ads which they desperately want to avoid. It's the era
of social influence, a post-modernized word-of-mouth marketing!
Brands are now directly connecting with their audience through created content, broadcasted by social
influencers. Influencer marketing is one of the strongest digital marketing tools we have right now - it amplifies
digital footprint, generates and retains digital buzz, all with a personal touch! After all, a trusted
recommendation is by nature, more credible than an over-hyped advertisement. Today's connected consumers
place their trust on a voice of authority - someone with expertise, credibility and all the right connections.
“Influencer marketing is getting others to share your story, generate interest, and make your case.”
– Ardath Albee
These influencers, who have the potential to drive the audience through the purchase funnel, can be anybody -
They can be, bloggers, with a loyal group of authentic followers
Respected and socially popular celebrities - brands can get maximum exposure through celebrity endorsement
Loyal customers, who are capable of influencing their peer groups.
Industry experts - they have acquired expertise over a specific field and in the process, have gained the respect
of a huge number of followers. The advantage lies in the fact that these influencers already have an established
audience base who are likely to try out their recommended products/services.
Team members and partners, who can spread the word on their social groups.
Say goodbye to trust issues, the influencers will help brands to establish a strong connection with the audience.
They help a brand to take-off fast by providing them with a loyal set of followers!
The influencers are valued by their followers, thus recommendations are hardly met with skepticism of any sort.
According to a McKinsey Study, marketing-inspired word-of-mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid
advertising, and these customers have a 37% higher retention rate!
These influencers have insight on the audience a brand needs, thus they can help to create the perfect content
for the target group. Their personal experiences will give the content the edge it needs.
If popular authors write about the products/services on their blogs and link the brand's website to theirs, it'll
result in a huge SEO boost.
Influencers can help reverse any negative opinions and reviews about a brand.
They know exactly how to market the product at the right time to the right people!
Professionals Who Did It With Style
A few examples of how it is done -
#GoGustoRides - The unique initiative, Mahindra #GoGustoRides roped in Mumbai's eminent food bloggers who
rode on to the city's most popular food joints on their Gusto! Influential food bloggers Amrita Rana and Kalyan
Karmarkar contributed in making the campaign a grand success!
Birchbox & Schuman - An awesome partnership that resulted in 18,000 likes and a total of 550,000 reach on
Instagram (Social Media Examiner). Birchbox teamed up with beauty influencer and lifestyle blogger Emily
Schuman to promote their May Box.
Reeboot 100 - Reebok India went into a partnership with influential author Chetan Bhagat for its campaign -
Reboot 100, where he was guided through a 100-day transformation program with a proper diet and fitness
plan. The whole journey was recorded on social media.
VideoBlogging - Fair & Lovely teamed up with beauty bloggers and came up with videos that talked about
hairstyle, makeup tips and the role of confidence and communication at the work place.
Identifying & Retaining Influencers
Brands should always look for niche influencers, instead of just approaching people with a major follower base.
There are a number of digital tools that can help brands identify influencers relevant to their fields.
Honesty and transparency are extremely important for an influencer marketing campaign to take off. A brand
should always try to forge a good relationship with the chosen influencers.
Before including the influencers in the marketing strategy, a brand should define its demographic, primary
objective and challenges - it'll only make it easier for them to measure the metrics after the campaign ends.
Also, setting up of attainable goals is an important process that should be discussed and sorted out before the
Include the influencers in your content marketing strategy, so that they can provide their valuable inputs. Find
out their preferences and create content format accordingly. That'll make it easier for them to share your
content across all the platforms.
Incentives are very important to rope in potential influencers. They can be financially motivated or brands can
also offer them complimentary gift items, to maintain good faith.
"Successful influencer communications require you to set clear expectations and timelines along with
the benefits for all who participate in co-created content. Providing influencers with tools such as
sharing images, pre-written tweets, embed codes and short URLs can substantially increase promotion
participation and reach.”
- Lee Odden , author, 'Optimize'
Influence isn't about retweets or shares, it's all about conversions. A clear set of marketing goals will go a long
way in defining the expectations of the brand from its influencers.
These goals are measured through:
The level of engagement on the posts and the responses received
Number of potential consumers who showed interest
Boost in sales
Positive sentiment around the brand that will lead to customer retention
Boost in website traffic, if the goal is to drive people towards the website
Amount of social chatter generated around the brand
Boost in email subscriptions/ Blog subscriptions
Percentage of content consumed by existing customers
The Other Side Of The Coin
“If brands become too exposed with too many bloggers, both parties will suffer. If the credibility of the
blogger declines, the effectiveness of their advocacy is doomed.”
- Mark Schaefer, chieftain of 'Grow' & social media bouncer
While some influencers help in spreading positive vibes around your product, some can have a negative impact
on the minds of people. It's a risk that a brand has to take. The marketing strategy being too personal, brands
can't really expect that everybody will have something nice to say about a particular influencer.
Secondly, many opt for brand advocates instead of paid influencers.
Brand advocates are basically satisfied customers with a quality number of followers and are valued by the
community. Audience is more likely to trust customers who can provide them with first-hand information about
the product. This kind of advocacy lasts longer and is proven to be more credible than influencer marketing.
When you see it this way, every bit of it makes sense, isn't it?
But, when your brand needs a strong foothold quickly, influencers come in handy. They already have an
established base of followers, so their reach and popularity will provide a good head start, all the while keeping
the marketing spend minimum.
Would you go for Influencer Marketing? Let us know!
*Disclaimer: All pictures have been downloaded from the internet. No copyright infringement intended