Influencer Marketing (IM) is popular for a simple reason: it works. According to studies, 81% of consumers regularly purchase items after seeing them shared on social media, 60% of in-store shoppers are influenced by social media and blog posts and IM generates 11 times more ROI than traditional marketing methods.
While these stats are certainly impressive, we all know that you can have too much of a good thing. Since IM has gained traction over the past few years, its effectiveness has been waning. Social media users have been complaining about repetitive content from different influencers filling up their feeds, influencers and their posts not seeming relatable or authentic, and there being a strong misrepresentation of everyday life.
Clearly the one-size-fits-all approach is no longer going to make the big bucks, so it’s time for marketers to rethink their brand approach to Influencer Marketing. Here’s a couple of pointers to get you going:
Consider user perspective above all else
IM is essentially word-of-mouth in the digital age. With millennials particularly fond of peer recommendations, the goal of IM must be to show that the brand and its product is favored by the masses, that is to say, ordinary, relatable people. To show this, embarking on large-scale IM campaigns with influencers boasting millions of followers is hardly worth the cost. Rather, consider employing several influencers who your target audience will find relatable and authentic (follower numbers are not the be-all and end-all here), using Voice of Customer (VOC) programs, recruiting brand ambassadors and seeking feedback for future product development.
Invest in alternative social channels
Though Instagram is the channel for IM, it is becoming overpopulated and increasingly hard to get your content seen. To stand out from the crowd, consider using Instagram Stories. According to research, one-third of the most-viewed stories come from brands, 75% of brands’ stories are viewed until the end and the number of daily posted stories positively correlates with increased impressions and leads.
Alternatively, you could think about direct endorsements from celebrities using Personally Owned Platforms. These channels are a great way for well-known faces to engage personally with their fans and create authentic, meaningful interactions.
Make transparency a priority
Though the majority of influencers disclose affiliations with brands, there is still a long way to go to achieve full transparency. Recently, a number of notable names have been called out for not declaring content that was clearly branded. Not only is this illegal, it has an extremely negative impact on brand reputation: most users are not opposed to branded content, but they are opposed to brands assuming they are not able to recognize sponsored ads for what they really are.