Influencer Marketing: What's The Deal?

Influencer marketing: a strategy that many companies have used since it first became popular back in 2015 - 2016. And while it may seem safe to assume that time and COVID-19 have dramatically impeded the marketing industry, and influencer marketing specifically, the opposite is actually true!

Don’t believe us? A 2021 Influencer Marketing Hub survey has the stats to back that up:

  • 90% of companies surveyed believe influencer marketing to be an effective form of marketing
  • From a mere $1.7 billion in 2016, influencer marketing is estimated to have grown to have a market size of $9.7 billion in 2020. This is expected to jump to $13.8 billion in 2021.
  • 72% of companies surveyed believe that the quality of customers from influencer marketing campaigns is better than other marketing types.

These are pretty encouraging stats, if you ask us! It would appear that COVID-19 may have actually increased the effectiveness of influencer marketing for many companies. If you think about it, this most likely stems from the fact that families have been staying at home more, with brands recognizing the need to increase their online presence in order to meet their customers where they were. And how better to do that than through individuals (influencers) with a notable, loyal following online? 

Why does influencer marketing work?

Think about the people you follow on Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok, especially the people you’ve been following for years. Why do you follow them? Maybe it’s the humor they bring to your day, the helpful tips they provide, or just the way you can relate to them. If you’ve been following them for a while, you probably trust that they’re going to continue to provide the sort of content you have always known to expect from them.

Why does this matter? Let’s use an example of a cooking account: maybe you just like the way the photos/videos they publish look. Maybe you’ve regularly tried the recipes they’ve shared and know that your next great meal may just be in the next Instagram story they share. Either way, over the years, you’ve come to count on those beautiful photos and those delicious recipes. One day, they decide to make a recipe with a sauce that is sponsored by a company that specializes in marinades. The recipe looks amazing, plus there’s a coupon code for the sauce, and so you decide to try it yourself! And that is the perfect example of successful influencer marketing!

The key to this example was brand loyalty and natural endorsements that align with your values. If companies can find the right influencer that speaks to the right audience in as natural a way as possible, you have a recipe for successful influencer marketing!

What’s next with influencer marketing?

Going back to our survey from Influencer Marketing Hub, what’s next for influencer marketing is a shift towards more of it. In fact, in the survey, 59% of respondents “admit to having a standalone budget for content marketing, and 75% of them now intend to dedicate a budget to influencer marketing in 2021”. Brands are recognizing the success of influencer marketing, and putting their money behind it.

As we mentioned before, influencer marketing has been on an upward trend ever since it first took off in 2015/2016, and that trend is continuing to climb to an estimated $13 billion this year. We also see that influencer marketing is making a shift from traditional social platforms (like Facebook) towards up and coming social media outlets like TikTok. While Instagram still holds it’s #1 position with 68% of the money spent on Instagram influencers, TikTok is the rising giant at 45%!

Is influencer marketing right for your business?

Simply put, if you are a company selling a product or service, it’s more than likely that influencer marketing can be a great next step. However, you have to be willing to put the money and research behind it.

Taking the example from above: let’s say a furniture company asked this same cooking account to feature their company. They may think to send this influencer a free set of furniture in exchange for the influencer featuring it in their next cooking video. This strategy COULD work, IF the influencer has: 1) talked about furnishings and cooking adjacent things in the past, 2) it’s an item that the influencer could naturally work into their cooking videos, like a dining table set. If it’s not either of these things, it’s more than likely customers wouldn’t trust this sponsorship, wouldn’t purchase, and therefore would result in you wasting your money.

In comparison, the furniture company might be better served contacting a DIY or design account, where the influencer could use the furnishings in their next DIY room makeover and very naturally work these sponsored items into content they are already producing!

Another important thing to consider is where your target audience is currently hanging out. If you know most of your audience is on Instagram, it doesn’t make sense to hire an influencer who mostly shares content on Twitter. It’s also smart to keep track of where your target audience is currently spending their time, AND whether or not they are making a shift to other platforms. According to the survey mentioned above, “67% of respondents use Instagram for influencer marketing, but there has been a colossal increase in TikTok influencer marketing”. This statistic suggests that some companies are finding their target audience shifting to a new platform, and they are making the effort to follow them to the new platform. It would be wise to do the same for your clientele, wherever they are hanging out!

With influencer marketing all laid out now, hopefully you feel a little more educated on not just whether or not influencer marketing is a good fit for your company, but how to start implementing it and making it a success for your business, should you decide to go that route. As always, we are happy to chat with you about your marketing plan and how we can help you. Simply reach out to us or visit our contact page for more information!

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