According to a study done by McKinsey, word-of-mouth marketing generates more than double the sales of any paid advertising, and also the retention rate of word of mouth customers is 37% higher. Thus, considering the impact of peer recommendations and its amplification through social media, influencer marketing has become a crucial discussion among social media marketers.
Who is an influencer for your brand?
An influencer is an individual whose thoughts and opinions can impact/ influence potential customers. Social media gives even the common man, a platform to impact people around him/her. This is why, while in traditional marketing, celebrities were considered to be the biggest influencers, today, with the popularity and growth of social media, the influencers have drastically changed.
On social media, the new class of influencers include popular bloggers, tweeters, YouTubers and so on, as they have the means to influence a high number of potential customers.
Certain brands identify an Influencer on a social media platform based on the number of followers he/she has. But merely the number of followers does not guarantee that the individual will be able to create the expected influence among the consumers.
Along with the number of followers i.e. his reach, the brand also needs to identify an influencer on the basis of certain parameters like – knowledge or expertise related to the subject matter, affinity and credibility of the individual among followers and rapport with followers.
When should a brand opt for Influencer Marketing?
Since an influencer plays an important role in shaping the minds of your potential as well as existing consumers, an influencer marketing campaign should be in line with the long term social media objective of the brand. Thus, objective drives the need for opting for an Influencer Marketing campaign.
Following are some of the major objectives when a brand can opt for Influencer Marketing,
- Changing the Brand Positioning
An apt example for this is “Got Chocolate milk?” campaign. The objective of the brand/ client was to change the positioning of the product from being a popular kid’s chocolate drink to a popular adult’s performance beverage. The agency opted for an influencer marketing campaign to target credible influencers like well-known athletes, sports nutritionists, sports and fitness bloggers, etc. who can impact and alter the perception of the consumers.
- Launch of a new product
What Influencer marketing does is it creates a credible word of mouth among the existing as well as potential customers. It helps extensively in creating awareness regarding the new product launched by the brand. But the key is designing a very well thought out strategy involving the influencer.
An excellent example for this is Lenovo’s “yoga2bfree” campaign.
The objective of the campaign was to promote the features of the Yoga Tablet. The campaign involved 4 influencers from different professional background in an interesting game format where the customers had to unbox them following the clues shared in a video. These clues guided the customer to these interesting features of the tab.
- Providing a Product Experience
The most important advantage of Influencer marketing is to create an innovative product experience for the influencers. This experience then gets shared by influencers in their circle. It can be termed as a sort of experiential marketing initiative but is directly experienced by only a few individuals and the experience of these individuals is shared with the masses!
Brands should strive to create a “WOW“ experience for the influencers as it will help in creating a very positive impact on them and hence, their circle of influence.
- Involving Influencers in the Making of the Brand
Many tech brands opt for creating hype among people before the launch of a new product by sharing an exclusive, private beta with few influencers who in turn talk about the experience in their circle. These brands often also improve upon their product based on the feedback from these influencers. Remember the Google Wave Sandbox? This practice is common in the programmer and developer community, early access to the right influencers not only builds brand publicity, but the influencer feedback and activities actually help complete the product, to open to public.
To conclude, the social media landscape is changing drastically and with the content clutter that is created every day, a brand that stands-out, wins. Merely asking an influencer to share his experience is not enough. The brand needs a well thought out and engaging Influencer marketing strategy that gives them an experience to remember.
So, be at the forefront, think out of the box, and most importantly aim for creating a strategy that is an “experience for lifetime” for the influencers.