By Ryan Velez
The age of celebrities taking part in infomercials may seem a bit blasé, but many trends are cyclical, and using celebrities as marketing tools has taken a new form that is every bit as successful. This concept is influencer marketing, and it extends beyond conventional celebrities, adding thought leaders, or social media users with a strong and engaged fan base to the fold to influence your target audience to buy your products or services. A recent Black Enterprise article sings the praises of influencer marketing, and its value considering what it can do for you.
Jacques H. Bastien, CEO of Shade, an influencer management agency, notes that while many people fall back on their friends and family to help them decide what brands to trust, several studies show that an influencer can provide the same effect. Influencers are trustworthy because there’s a sense of authenticity and relatability that customers don’t get from display ads or other marketing channels.” Traditional advertising tactics such as banner ads and email marketing have gone down in terms of this trustworthy profile. Part of this is due to unscrupulous individuals using the platforms to their own ends, but also because of oversaturation. One can only see so many marketing emails or banner ads before tuning them out, regardless of their value.
Bastien explains that depending on the influencer you target, you may not be incurring a massive expense. Some will charge a lot to leverage their influence, while some may want a product or discount code. When you use their services, they can also teach customers how to use your services and build your brand credibility. All these translate to bigger sales.
Another major reason that influencer marketing can tack on added value is the relationship it has with content marketing. Content marketing is important to keep customers who demand personalization interested, but this often requires someone to create the content and someone to distribute it. Influencer marketing contains both, and generally, at a lower price point than working with an agency or freelancer. A Top Influencers study reports “influencer content generates an unprecedented ROI of 11x the average traditional digital campaign.”
Generally, the tradeoff is taking the time to seek out the ideal influencer for your brand and audience. Another potential issue is that the brand may be tied to that influencer. For this reason, you may want to avoid figures that court controversy if you are seeking an influencer—unless that is something that fits your brand image.”