Influencer marketing is a strategy that focuses on indirectly targeting an audience through a (relatively) influential individual — hence all the bikini models telling you to buy their favourite brand of Fit Tea. As one of the fastest growing marketing trends of 2018, this is something that all businesses, including dealers, can explore and integrate into their sales and marketing strategies. Of course, this strategy only works if it is integrated in a way that highlights the influencer’s profile and sphere of influence; in other words, play to your audience. It may not make sense to have a fitness model promote your minivan, but having a pro hockey player plug your truck in Alberta certainly makes sense for a hockey and truck mad market. Don’t just take it from us, companies like Amazon are utilizing this strategy as part of their growth plan, through their new Influencer Program.
Still don’t believe us? How about the cold hard facts? According to a poll by Tomoson, for every $1 invested in influencer marketing, the companies and businesses investing in influencer marketing have seen an average return of $6.50.
If this is something you’re considering for your business, understand that not all influencers are created equal, and may yield mixed results. There are celebrity influencers, macro-influencers, and micro-influencers, and they will all provide a different reach for your product. While macro-influencers are well known and have large amounts of followers, all the way from tens of thousands to millions, micro-influencers have smaller followings (less than 10,000) but can provide an equally important boost to business.
In a study conducted by the firm Collective Bias, one statistic stands out from the rest; it says 70% of millennials preferred buying from a peer, and wouldn’t buy a product endorsed by a celebrity. This is where you can harness the power of a micro influencer — the connection to the customers comes across as more engaging and authentic.
So what type of influencer is best for your marketing strategy? Who can you count on to influence your customer base?
Two companies with two very different types of campaigns, Coca-Cola and Starbucks, are great examples of what well executed influencer marketing campaign can accomplish. When looking at these different campaigns, there are a few noticeable, recurring themes.
First, the team that initiated the idea was taking a chance when deploying the strategy. Often times doing the unexpected, being creative, and taking a chance, have a tangible authenticity that resonates with your customer base.
Also, the focus of the campaigns were on the customer, not the brand. By focusing on a fan of your product, you are able to connect with your customers without coming across as fake or overly calculated. This leans back on the study saying millennials would rather buy from a peer than a celebrity.
Another similar theme between the campaigns was the notion that the company’s product was used as a medium for the emotions that customers wanted to experience or express; authentically shared emotion will always hit closer to home than an empty message espousing the brand.
Finally, the brands are aware of who their potential customers follow, and who else they buy from.
A few key statistics:
- As mentioned earlier, for every $1 invested in influencer marketing, the ROI is $6.50.
- Klear a social media analytics and intelligence platform that provides social data services for brands, agencies, and enterprises, notes that the automotive industry is #4 in the top category for influencer marketing and partnership.
- Women dominated the sharing of #ad posts on Instagram in 2017 — a whopping 83.9%.
- 92% of marketers chose Instagram as their favourite social media platform to lead an influencer marketing campaign in 2017, based on a study by Lingia.
- 39% of marketers say they plan to increase their influencer marketing budget in 2018, according to the same Lingia study.
- The Collective Bias study shows that 22.8% of men are influenced by YouTube in their buying decisions, compared to 13.9% of women. According to the same study, men are two times more likely than women to be influenced by blog reviews .
If you’re wondering if influencer marketing is worth your while, consider the fact that working with influencers tends to be less expensive, and have a greater ROI, compared to other marketing investments. Assuming that your business is one that will benefit from influencer marketing, it is a smart, cost-efficient move. According to one Bloglivin study, 84% or micro-influencers charge less than $500 per branded posts and 96% don’t charge more than $1,000 per branded post. While there will always be exceptions to the rule, you have a wide pool to choose from that provide exceptional value.
If you are seriously considering testing the waters of influencer marketing, here are two ideas worth exploring:
- Instagram is the number one platform for influencer marketing, so find the right influencer on Instagram in your area. You can do this by going through your list of followers, or the followers of an Instagram account in a similar market segment as yours. Look for influencers with between 1,000 and 10,000 followers. Look for those accounts who regularly engage with their followers, and assess the quality of engagement. Remember, you want someone who will foster an authentic connection. An easy way to search Instagram is to search hashtags — if your clients are into #luxuryliving, #dining, or #healthyeating, those who have the most response using those hashtags just may be the influencer you’re looking for. Once you have found your influencer, message them through the app (they may also have an email in their bio) and begin the conversation regarding their promotion of your brand.
- Having an influencer showcase your product. For dealerships, this is simple. Take your most desirable vehicle (or the vehicle you are most interested in selling), and allow the influencer to drive it for a month in exchange for a set number of posts. Cover their gas and insurance, in exchange for creating more visibility not only around the vehicle, but your dealership as well. Every day the influencer can document their journeys, as well as the things they enjoy about the vehicle, all categorized under a hashtag related to the vehicle. You can create draws around the hashtag, and even promotional events. Not only will this attract prior customers to your product, but it has the opportunity to create interest from a segment of the market that you had yet to tap in to.
Influencer marketing is a very real, very viable, and most importantly, very cheap way to get your product and brand out to the masses, specifically a more youth-targeted demographic. We’ve included some further reading below, and as always, thanks for reading the Strathcom blog.