83% of global consumers say digital advertisements interrupt their online experience. Not-so-shockingly, 78% of consumers (yourself included, probably) use ad blockers or proactively opt out of ads to make them disappear forever.
For marketers, this equates to wasted spending on digital ads – three-quarters of your potential buyers won’t even see them.
This isn’t even the half of the issue; the average click-through rate (CTR) of ads is now only 0.05 percent. In order to penetrate these obstacles, you need to change your approach. Alternative methods such as influencer marketing could be just what you need to reach today’s advertising-adverse consumers.
I’ve been working with influencers for the past six years, and the phenomenal results driven by this ever-changing approach to communication are undeniable – for B2B and B2C clients alike. As opposed to interrupting someone’s online experience with an ad, your brand is seamlessly embedded into a trusted influencer’s content and becomes part of the conversation.
Marketers generate an average $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer talent fees. Depending upon the industry, topic, and the specific influencers you work with, your ROI can be even better. For instance, Due.com, an online invoicing company, grows their user base by working with influencers. “I’ve got a very strong social following that drives on average 500-1000 people to my business a day,” said CEO John Rampton. “We typically convert around 3 percent of those.”
Before you start cold-calling Instagram models, consider these road-tested tokens of wisdom from someone with a finger on the pulse of the industry:
You’re in it for the Long Haul
This is not a pay-per-click campaign. Don’t enter a relationship with an influencer under the assumption that you will immediately start reaping the benefits. Influencer marketing can certainly generate same-day sales while building brand awareness and identity, but these things often take time. Despite this, the long-term impacts that influencer marketing has on your brand’s reach and resonance is well worth the wait.
Start with a Solid Foundation
Set clear expectations from the get-go. Define quantifiable metrics such as cost per view, cost per acquisition, and other essential data points to measure the outcomes you want to optimize.
Aside from the outcomes, you also need to develop concise messaging guidelines that get your main selling points across without stepping on the influencer’s proverbial toes. After all, their authentic voice is why you want to work with this person.
A certain amount of trust is required for this method of marketing to be truly successful. Social media superstars achieved their status by tuning into what’s trending with their audience and identifying what best fits their brand. Too much brand interference can throw off an influencer’s natural cadence and completely derail an otherwise successful campaign.
Make Friends with Influencers
This is easier said than done. Influencers are constantly barraged by impersonal emails which usually get sent straight to their spam folder. The real magic happens when you connect with influencers who genuinely like your product or services and can back the values you represent. You also need to approach the collaboration with mutual value in mind; move beyond free products and find ways to offer notoriety, and in some cases financial incentives.
Use social media for relationship building. The simplest way to effectively engage with an influencer is to share their content with the right hashtags or to consistently comment on their posts. This may seem like a daunting task – you barely have time to maintain your own social pages, let alone monitor countless influencer accounts.
Before I became the Director of Communications for Nimble, I used our social CRM to speed up the relationship-building process by monitoring engagement signals. I would also set reminders so I would never miss a follow up with an influencer I wanted to work with. Nimble helped me identify the right influencers to work with and gave me the social insight I needed to engage with them on a personal level.
Find the Right People to Work With
This is probably the most important piece of advice I can give you. Obviously, social media is the best place to discover the people who influence your buyers the most. Go figure! In order to minimize the time I spend on research, I use tools like Little Bird and BuzzSumo to figure out who’s sharing relevant content. I’m also a big fan of using Twitter lists to source B2B influencers.
Once you identify the right candidates to fit your brand, tune into what an influencer posts, how often they post new content, and how their community interacts with them. Do their followers repost, comment, or share the posts that are relevant to your buyers? If not, this probably isn’t the right influencer to align your brand with.
By building natural relationships with the right influencers, both parties can benefit for years to come. Influencer marketing is more of an art than a science, but the potential gains from running a successful campaign can be astronomical. Keep up with the whiplash-inducing pace of influencer marketing as it continues to change and evolve, as it could be the tactic that launches your business to the next level.