Some Ins and Outs of Influencer Marketing
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, slowly, surely, everyone in every profession is testing the waters for making 2021 a better year. Recent reports indicate that influencer marketing has a newfound popularity. What can this mean for your business, and what should you be aware of?
Increase of influencer marketing.
It is on account of the COVID-19 crisis that influencer content has gained increased visibility, as it goes hand in hand with the all-time highs that online shopping has reached based on safety concerns among the general public. In Ragan’s PR Daily, Logan Trautman noted that shoppers who, pre-pandemic, regularly browsed and made purchases in brick-and-mortar stores not only switched gears and started buying what they needed via the Internet but also sought guidance from influencers on everything from product recommendations to recipes, among other items. Ms. Trautman predicts that influencer marketing will continue to have a strong—well, influence—once the COVID-19 crisis is either over or at least controlled, and its presence will increase.
Facts and figures for influencer marketing.
Last year, the pandemic forced every business to make serious budget cuts of one kind or another in order to remain afloat. In some cases, influencer marketing was cut. Debra Aho Williamson, writing for eMarketer, pointed out that despite these cuts, the interest in utilizing influencer marketing has in fact increased. Before the pandemic, marketers who used influencers grew from 55.4 percent to 62.3 percent between 2019 and 2020. And now, as many stores, shops, and other enterprises are more or less making a comeback, the appeal of influencer marketing is looking brighter. A future projection is that more than two-thirds of businesses will use influencer marketing in their strategies. But an influencer marketing strategy is only as strong as the guidelines it follows.
The “big three” of influencer marketing.
So, let’s say you’ve decided to pursue influencer marketing as a way to expose your brand or business. Great, but don’t jump on the bandwagon immediately without careful considerations of what rules and principles to follow.
Several basic but strong guidelines for using influencer marketing were outlined by Scott Douglas Clary two years ago in Forbes, but they are just as relevant today—if not more so. These guidelines are:
- Being authentic: Tying in with the point about matching and thereby connecting brand, influencer, and audience, there is no more important factor than authenticity in believing in and standing by a brand’s messaging. (Mr. Clary says this is a “non-negotiable” part of influencer marketing.)
- Being relatable: All content should clearly “speak” through the influencer to his or her audience and address their needs, wants, or pain points. Influencer marketing does not exist simply to promote brands. It is about creating connections and inclusiveness among the members of the influencer’s respective audiences.
- Being topical: The ability for an influencer to stay in touch with the times and current events helps create a sense of trust in his or her audience. The influencer displays knowledge of what’s going on in the world on social media, and the audience by extension feels more in-step with the times. (And in these times—between the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and recent political news—the importance of being topical cannot be emphasized enough.)
Today, face-to-face meeting demands a distance of six feet between each other, along with wearing a mask. More people are interacting via Zoom, GoMeet, or some other virtual application. The ability to make a genuine and personal connection with an audience is now not only challenging, but more impactful than ever before. And making that personal connection is accomplished through influencer marketing, which, based on some recent developments, may well be a top strategy of choice for many businesses.
For more information on how EGC can help give your brand a “personal touch” in reaching your target audience through social media, digital marketing, influencer marketing, or other services, contact us today.
Oh, and please check out our influencer campaign for client Granite and TREND Transformations, featuring video and print samples of spokeswoman, "Janet from Granite."