A lot can change in a decade, including the popularity and uses of social media. Since 2010, the percent of Americans with at least one social media profile has almost doubled from 44% to 79%. In that same ten years, the breadth and use of social media has also expanded in ways that most people would have never imagined. Instagram is no longer just a place for people to brag about their spring break trip or the brand new car they were gifted for their birthday. YouTube is more than low quality videos of talented singers aspiring to be discovered in the same way Justin Bieber was in 2008.
Today, YouTube is a place where people go to live vicariously through a model or a Division I athlete by watching their “Day in the Life” video; it is a place where people learn hair and makeup tips or watch recipe tutorials. Instagram is a place where people share their life with thousands upon thousands of followers. Stylish moms link the perfect maternity dress for any summer wedding, their favorite meal delivery service, or the best products to help sooth a teething baby. Models share their extensive skin care routine to maintain flawless glowing skin and the services they use to have a lean body (as if theirs is not the result of genetics). Successful athletes share their favorite protein powder or energy drink. Social media users like these, who have the ability to encourage what their followers are buying, are called Influencers, and they have changed the game of marketing. Businesses have recognized the value of these influencers and use them to promote their products or services.
Of course, it's important to note, that as marketers we should always consider current events when creating marketing strategies and messages, and we need to always be good stewards of our clients' budgets.
If you're interested in influencer marketing, here are three ways a business can work with influencers:
Send an influencer a product to try out
This method allows you to reach a large amount of people in your target group through just one person. For example, if a company is marketing a crib mattress towards moms-to-be, they can send a mattress to a life-style influencer who has just had a baby. They are likely have thousands of women following them for tips and product suggestions. If they like the mattress and share it on social media, there are sure to be followers that trust the influencer enough to buy it for their own baby. An added benefit to this method is the opportunity for the “advertisement” to diffuse on its own through reposts and direct messages.
Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash
Team up with an influencer to do a giveaway
Using this method is a very effective way to increase awareness of a product or brand. For instance, a meal delivery service could offer to giveaway a free week of meals to one person. The influencer would post a photo with requirements to enter, which may include tagging three friends in the comments of the post and following the meal delivery service’s page. Utilizing a giveaway like this allows the company’s name to reach many new people while also increasing the traffic on their own social media page.
Create a unique discount code for an influencer to share with their followers after they speak about the brand or product
In the event that the influencer did not sell them on the brand or product, this extra offer may enhance the product enough to foster a purchase. They are also useful to a business analytically as it shows which codes led to the most conversions, allowing them to see which influencers they should continue to partner with.
As social media use continues to grow exponentially, the services it provides as a marketing tool become even more effective. The Influencer Marketing Industry is predicted to reach around $9.7 billion by the end of 2020. The success, simplicity, and possibilities that this marketing tactic provides makes it one that many businesses are increasingly incorporating into their marketing plans. Be on the lookout for these 3 ways that businesses are working with influencers!