Look around you. Not as many people are picking up the daily newspaper or sitting through long commercials on TV. However, they do have one thing in common. Regardless of the demographic, they are scrolling social media on their phones.
According to Pew Research, 70% of Americans check Facebook daily. It’s second nature for youth to use Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok multiple times a day. That’s how they communicate, read the news, raise awareness — and shop.
So it’s not surprising that brands are allocating larger chunks of their marketing dollars to social media. And within that ad spend, influencer marketing has been on a steady rise. Here are three reasons why.
1. Consumers Identify With Influencers
Millions of people watch influencers make their morning coffee or run after mess-making toddlers because they can relate. People may enjoy seeing Pinterest-perfect pictures, but they also love to get a peek of real life.
There are obvious benefits of hiring celebrities to plug your product. They’re well-known, plus there’s the aspirational glam factor. However, when a movie star says she packs cute notes in her kids’ lunchboxes daily, people don’t always buy it. Her claim doesn’t seem to align with her jet-setting lifestyle.
But when a mom influencer they’ve been following for years says the same thing, they believe her. What’s more, they’re likely to follow her lead. Companies can capitalize on this relatability to increase brand awareness without making it feel like a paid commercial.
Influencers feel more accessible. Many even reply to messages on social media. So when they recommend a set of comfy pajamas, consumers are not hesitant to click the affiliate link.
2. Influencers Can Yield Better ROI
When a Hollywood A-lister touts your eye cream in a TV or print ad, your sales may go up—but it’s hard to tell by how much. Furthermore, the bump probably won’t be immediate. Influencers, on the other hand, drive sales conversions through direct links, meaning companies can get a faster return on their investment.
Since many influencers work independently, brands also save money when there’s no agency in the equation. If the influencer’s social media reach truly reflects the numbers in their media kit, your brand can get more impressions for less cost.
Once influencers truly like your product, they can go from being short-term brand partners to long-term brand advocates. Each time they have their morning vitamins or use that hair tool, they are advertising for you. Followers often send messages asking for links and discount codes even after a collaboration has ended. That’s another reason why longer-term collaborations are becoming more popular than a single post.
Evaluating the key performance indicators of influencer marketing is easier than it is for billboards, television commercials or print ads. Each social media post yields detailed stats of what was achieved with that particular content. It’s straightforward to see how many people liked, commented, shared and saved the post. You can also see how many times a link was clicked.
3. Influencers Forge More Authentic Connections With Diverse Audiences
Since influencers have unique follower demographics, brands can use them to reach specific segments of their customer base. Consumers click links shared by their favorite influencers because they look authentic. While advertising agencies do have access to diverse models, they’re just paired with other actors on a film set.
In contrast, when an influencer from a specific ethnicity shares your product, interactions with their family members are real. Consumers have seen their kids, spouse and pets in their Instagram stories. Their devoted followers will tune into their shopping livestream or try their recommended spice blend because they are a genuine family.
Influencers can also be more creative. They churn out fresh content that is often straight from the heart. Their fans can tell it’s not heavily scripted. Influencers can also have a faster turnaround. Without an agency involved, there is less red tape. Your marketing team sends the influencer a creative brief, and they can respond directly.
Choose Your Influencer Carefully
With so many benefits, influencer marketing is not going away soon. However, there are a few words of caution. Make sure the influencer you choose aligns with your brand values. Someone might be very popular, but if they’re controversial or politically tone-deaf, they could damage your brand.
Don’t be overly impressed by the sheer number of followers an influencer has. The ideal influencer should have a loyal niche following. Some micro-influencers can produce better results because their following is very engaged. Sign a collaboration based on their organic reach. Ask for stats and insights for the last three months instead of that one lucky post that happened to go viral.
It’s definitely worth investing time to find the right influencer. They can do wonders for your brand with less money — and more natural flair.