In today’s society the average American spends approximately eleven hours a day looking at screens, and more than two hours of that on social media. With numbers like these, it’s no wonder influencers are becoming a useful tool in effectively communicating a brand’s message to its consumers. The messenger = influencer.
Social media is a growing, ever-changing toolkit that offers a variety of ways brands can reach their consumers directly. Still, influencers have found a way to harness the power of social media platforms to communicate with their fans, which can create a more authentic approach for brand partnerships.
Not only is this form of marketing effective, but it can also be more affordable than traditional advertising methods, it’s easily trackable (with Facebook and Instagram’s recent updates) and it creates a more authentic connection for a brand, enabling a two-way conversation rather than the traditional one-way communication from brand to consumer.
The trend of brands utilizing influencers as a marketing tool to facilitate those conversations has been developing over the last 10 years. This past year it was a two-billion-dollar market which is expected to grow to $10 billion by 2020. This comes as little to no surprise, with consumers ditching traditional TV and radio for on-demand streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Spotify, and ad blockers largely cutting off online display ads.
Brands need a new way to cut through, and influencers are proving to be that solution. To get an influencer partnership right, a brand must first find an influencer whose audience overlaps with theirs, which can be done using data and analytics. Once an influencer is identified it’s important to make sure that influencer shares an authentic connection with the brand in order to tell a story that communicates the message effectively. And ultimately, an influencer needs to understand the brand’s ethos and be aligned with its core values.
The “pay to post” model has never been effective; therefore, companies need to think of an influencer as more of an advocate or ambassador for their brand if they choose to align with them.
Once an influencer has been identified as a fit and it is time to reach out to them to start a conversation, it can be daunting for a brand to navigate the various layers that come with talent negotiations. Often times, influencers are represented by multiple teams handling different aspects of their own brand and business, and it is essential to talk to the right people for a partnership to come to fruition. Having a neutral third party with the necessary expertise handle these conversations can be tremendously beneficial and help generate trust and credibility, especially for brands that are new to the world of influencer marketing.
As the digital world continues to grow, evolve, and shift, brands must adapt. Influencers are a great way to tap into this world and provide genuine connections, increased awareness, and engaging interactions for a brand with its consumers. There are few things more powerful in marketing than an authentic story told by the right messenger to an audience that cares and engages – and with the right execution, influencers are proving to provide just that.