"Hey Siri, how much is the influencer marketing industry worth?"
Answer: The industry is predicted to be worth $7.7 billion in 2023.
Was that the number you were expecting? If I had to guess probably not. Influencer marketing is more than just a buzzword these days, it's a marketing strategy that's making significant strides in business and it's becoming a lot more difficult to ignore. If this was something your company waited to explore, you might reconsider after learning more. Here are just a few things that you should know about influencer marketing as a trend.
What is influencer marketing?
Turns out there's a bit more to influencer marketing than hiring Justin Bieber to market your product on Instagram Live. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, influencer marketing involves a brand collaborating with an online influencer to market one of its products or services, and that can mean a number of things. The term "influencer" has a much broader real-world application than the term "celebrity" does. Influencers can garner millions of followers without ever appearing on the ever-elusive silver screen. You can be an "average Joe" and foster your own following and community. YouTube influencer, MrBeast is a prime example of this. One of the world's most popular YouTube stars, twenty-something-year-old MrBeast (aka Jimmy Donaldson) is the most-followed individual creator on YouTube with 140M subscribers. Starting out by making videos in his house, Jimmy amassed a passionate community over the years that continues to faithfully tune in to all of his content. Whatever content appears on his channel is not only distributed to 140M individual viewers but millions of fans.
Marketers couldn't help but notice the value in this, coined their own term and formed an effective strategy to support (and build upon) this type of content. Thus influencer marketing was born.
But who's an influencer?
I'm sure we all feel certain people in our lives qualify as influencers in our lives, but what qualifies an influencer in a business case? A large following is of course optimal and probably the first thing we all look for. But numbers aside, certain factors are extremely important when deciding who's a qualified influencer or not. Hootsuite researched intangible factors for successful influencers, including:
Connection. Can the influencer establish a strong rapport with their audience?
Communication. Does this influencer have the ability to communicate a product's or brand's value without trying to sell it to their audience?
Values. Working with a brand that aligns with the influencer's values or lifestyle is a must. What kind of content do they endorse?
Authenticity. Would a user stop and ask, “Does this person really use this brand? ”
But HootSuite isn't the only one to discover the value of authentic media. MarketScale's Brandon Morgan, Vice President, of Client Services talked to us about why authentic content is essential to every marketers brand strategy and how that's accomplished here. He says:
You must have authentic content. Think about your own personal lives. How persuaded are you by a polished advertisement versus hearing directly from someone who’s used a product or hearing from a professor about something thought-leading that’s related to a product or a solution.
Where's the value in influencer marketing?
So this begs the question "where's the value?" Well according to Forbes, performance-based influencer marketing is on the rise and it doesn't seem to be slowing down as influencer content is increasingly perceived as more authentic. A brand has to engage with multiple touchpoints in order to convert consumers which is why influencer marketing can be so effective. Content creation from an influencer can lead to higher conversion rates and engagement since their community base is more likely to have an established level of trust in their brand, and thus are more likely to accept their recommendations.
So there you have it, influencer marketing in a nutshell. Does this sound like something your business would be interested in pursuing before your next product launch? If so, be sure to do your research and determine if this direction is right for you. Like most campaigns, your best bet is to set a budget, determine goals, find your influencers, and ultimately revise based on the current market conditions.
Article written by Gabrielle Bejarano