Influencer marketing – the next logical approach to social media marketing

With the introduction of social media, buying decisions have become somewhat tedious with consistent influxes of ads throughout the web. Consumers are now looking at fellow consumers to inform their purchasing decisions; they now look at each other and at their favourite personalities, who are consolidating massive followings on various social media platforms.

It is because of this reason, Lemok Agency believes influencer marketing is the new word of mouth and next logical step towards any brand’s social media strategy (only if you are serious about ‘cutting through the clutter’). At its core, influencer marketing hasn’t really changed the reasons why people buy – we tend to listen mostly to the people that we trust.

It must be noted, however, that influencer marketing is still relatively new. Many brands are still hesitant. In this post, we outline the top five reasons why you need to launch an influencer marketing campaign today, as part of your digital marketing strategy.

1. “Influence is power”

There are few things that drive a sale more effectively than a warm word-of-mouth recommendation. A study by McKinsey found that “marketing-induced consumer-to-consumer word of mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising.”

Influencer marketing presents an advantageous opportunity for brands to leverage the power of word-of-mouth at scale through personalities that consumers already follow and admire.

2. It’s social

It’s no secret – we are living in a ‘socially-connected’ world. I believe it is time for your business to follow suit and connect with consumers from a social level.

Consumers now expect brands to talk with them rather than at them. Statistics reveal that “70% of consumers prefer getting to know a company via articles rather than ads”. With this view in mind, influencers are a force to be reckoned with. Brands can strategically partner with the right personalities to spark organic conversations and seduce their followers.

3. Consumers are tired of paid ads

According to a 2015 study, the average person is exposed to 264 ad impressions a day – that’s an average of 96,360 ads a year. Whether or not that number is scientifically proven, it gets the point across: we are exposed to a lot of ads.

This bombardment of advertisements gives rise to a new term – “banner blindness” – which happens when consumers unconsciously tune out ads.

Influencer marketing gives your ads a fresh appeal – it creates stories around your brand and your offerings which engage audiences to ultimately make a purchasing decision (I believe most of the things we’ve bought are the direct result of stories we were told by friends and family, correct?).

4. More bang for your buck

Traditional PR is very effective when it works, but being that it’s “earned” media, your investment cannot be guaranteed. With influencer marketing, you will not only be seen – but if an influencer has chosen to work with you, you’ll also be seen in a positive light.

5. It’s scalable

Brands that do well with influencer marketing reach out to influencers based on a very specific affinity to ensure that they are reaching a super targeted network. These brands do not follow the philosophy that “everyone wears clothes” or “everyone eats” or other such things brands tell themselves to justify “mass market reach”.

Mercedes-Benz, who, via their agency Razorfish, ran a campaign on Instagram with only five influencers who took road trips in a new Mercedes, is about to release that it is more affordable and geared to working professionals in their thirties (they ran a similar Youtube campaign in South Africa with influencers such as Lira and Mark Boucher). Through only five influencers, Mercedes was able to score over two million organic Instagram likes while promoting their new car.

Just like any other marketing tactic, influencer marketing works on set principles. Brands need to nurture relationships with influencers and communicate with them on an ongoing basis – this will perpetuate the influencer(s) passion(s) and word of mouth brand coverage.

Article Written By: Lebongang Mokubela with Biz Community