People are searching for more on-demand entertainment. We’re time-restricted and want to be digitally entertained when we want, where we want.
Whether this is reading articles, or watching videos, we have an incredible range of topics and answered questions at our fingertips. With YouTube being the second most popular search engine next to Google, it’s no surprise that we are influenced by what we watch. From iPhone reviews, new PS4 game walk-throughs and fashion and beauty favourites, this avenue is a growing one for marketers and it is clear there are a huge number of key individuals influencing public opinions and buying habits.
Fashion and beauty vlogger Zoella (Zoe Sugg) has over 9.9 millions subscribers on YouTube and is the 50th most subscribed channel on the platform.
Influencers are defined as individuals with a considerable follower base on social media, who are believed to have a seriously strong influence on trends, opinions, and buying habits of their followers. Whether it’s through blogging, making videos on YouTube, or posting on social media, a huge number of companies are adopting influencer marketing into their marketing budgets.
How does it work?
We see a huge amount of ‘native marketing’ or ‘advertorials’ online – advertising that is made to look natural and fit in with our natural user journey, but are paid. It works under a partnership agreement where both sides benefit. This could be bloggers including a certain brand in their most recent ‘favourites’ Instagram post for a paid collaboration or a suggestive paid ‘ad’ at the bottom of a blog post that recommends a product or service. Commonly for the retail and eCommerce industry, blogger outreach works well on a freebie-for-review basis, where in exchange for free samples, it’s suggested the blogger writes an honest review, or posts about it on their social media channels.
CEO of Influencer Marketing platform MuseFind, Jennifer Li says “Influencer marketing is based on the economy of trust. What that means is, as a follower, I can just as easily unfollow an influencer as I can follow them. So I could say, ‘I’m not going to follow this influencer anymore because I feel like she’s advertising too much or she’s not authentic or she’s not working with brands that are really high quality.’ On the positive side, that means the brands that do get to work with influencers create much higher purchase intent with their customers,”. (Source) There are many other ways brands go about it, from paying for features to collaborating on competitions or campaigns. This form of marketing is allowing brands to get creative, and take a hands-on approach to spreading awareness, and ultimately, sales.
- Trust – 86% of women online turn to social networks before making a purchase and, as bloggers tend to work on an honest opinion, trust basis, positive reviews and plugs can be hugely beneficial.
- Audience – With the right research, influencer marketing allows you to tap into your influencer’s existing loyal following (which should be your target audience too) and introduce them to your brand.
- Social Media content – if your influencers are sharing their thoughts about your brand or product to their followers, it provides you with invaluable social media content to share, re-tweet, and re-post. This not only gives a nod to the influencer themselves, but shows your following that you’re engaging with a similar audience and legitimises you in the industry.
- Expertise – For a lot of influencers, doing just that is their sole career. They’re social media savvy, forward-thinking and have their viewers/readers in mind. Working in a collaborative relationship allows them to present your product or brand in a way that they know works for their follower base, create aesthetically pleasing, entertaining content that can work wonders for your brand image.
- SEO – Link building is an incredibly important aspect of good SEO; it shows Google your site is legitimate and useful and allows it to match your site to a searcher’s intent. The more authoritative inbound links you get to your website, the better and if your bloggers are reviewing you, this will come alongside it.
- Find the right influencers – You should be finding influencers and bloggers that have a target audience that you’re looking to tap into. Approaching a 21-year-old male, fashion graduate to review a tech gadget won’t necessarily do anything for you if his followers follow him because of their interest in his style. Do your research, and think quality over quantity.
- Don’t presume a positive review – Just because you’re sending a free sample, doesn’t mean you should expect your blogger to give you a positive plug no matter what. Influencers are influencers because their follower base appreciate and trust their opinions – provide genuinely good products, and the positive reviews will come naturally.
- Be respectful – Don’t forget that the people you’re approaching probably get a lot of emails, so be genuine, use their first name, prove that you’ve done your research and show them why you think they’d be a great fit for your brand.