Stage 1: Inspiration
Digital influencers pose a unique advantage to brands for inspiration. It’s no secret that influencers can create content to tap new audiences. Influencers can strike a lasting impression among key audiences.
Whether it’s inspiring them to exercise more, take a trip or try a new product, influencers harness the power to impact consumer opinion. In fact, research from Bloglovin’ uncovered that 63 percent of consumers were inspired to use a new product or brand they would not have considered because of their favorite influencer.
Stage 2: Awareness and education
Most marketers know that social media platforms allow for “targeted reach at scale.” The concept can be easily recreated with digital influencers to boost awareness.
With audience-level analytics, brands can select the right influencers to partner with based on who they reach and where their audiences are, along with their brand affinity and ability to engage their audience.
Where marketers are capitalizing on influencers to leverage brand awareness, there is much opportunity to be had for using influencers to educate key audiences, as well.
Whether a brand is partnering with a food influencer to educate consumers on how to use a specific product or a YouTube beauty personality to instruct their followers on how to use the newest makeup application tool, marketers can utilize these trusted voices to impart instruction and brand values in an inviting way.
Stage 3: Consideration, research and evaluation
With consumers seeking out product reviews, brands should consider delivering content that is more informative in nature rather than promotional.
Working with influencers to develop content in the form of reviews, product information and comparisons, or instructional videos, brands can not only serve their consumers what they are looking for, but also deliver it in a practical and more objective way.
Additionally, brands can then take this informative content and push it out through search-friendly platforms like blogs and Pinterest in order to ensure added reach against gated platforms like Instagram or Snapchat.
Stage 4: Purchase decision
Now that influencers have helped inspire and educate audiences, how can brands achieve conversion?
Many brands often collaborate with influencers that are particularly adept at driving sales at this stage and arm them with exclusive promo codes. Brands can also run successful sweepstakes through influencers or use them to drive attendance at in-store events.
By ensuring that the content created for an influencer campaign is perennial, brands can then leverage the content for targeted ads on social media, furthering the potential for additional purchase decisions.
Stage 5: Post-purchase experience, repurchase and loyalty
The implication of the influencer throughout the customer journey doesn’t end with the purchase decision. Brands are also using digital influencers in the post-purchase and loyalty phase to inspire audiences past one-time purchases or impulse decisions.
Digitally savvy brands are building deep partnerships with their influencers, generating organic exposure over time and securing them as long-standing brand ambassadors. But brands are also using loyal customers as ambassadors, pulling from their everyday users and driving powerful word of mouth that is further amplified by the speed and efficiency of social media.
Digital influencer strategy has become so much more sophisticated than just a virtual stamp of approval, providing a holistic solution for brands from the awareness to post-purchase stages. With shoppers seeking inspiration and opinions around potential purchases through social media, it’s crucial for brands to begin engaging creatively and effectively with their audiences through digital influencers and their respective platforms.
Attention equals currency. Influencer marketing allows targeted exposure to the right kind of consumer, one who is already interested in a category that you operate in and will likely pay attention. In a world where TV ads have become background noise and consumers are becoming immune to traditional digital advertising, being on-target is crucial. Just take a look at the rampant rise of ad blockers — last year alone, usage surged by 30% globally. Further proliferation of mobile phones, video content and social media, are turning influencers into constant companions of your audience. To get their attention, brands have to work with the people they listen to.
Creativity and organic content has become the expectation. Remember Jared Fogle, the ‘the Subway guy?’ He served as the brand’s spokesperson for 15 years until his fall from grace. Today, it is no longer enough to hire a spokesperson and have them endorse your brand. While there is some overlap between celebrity endorsements and influencer marketing campaigns, the latter are designed to speak to an existing community of highly engaged followers. Influencers are the masters of their niches, and have established a high level of trust and two-way communication with their followers. They know how to incorporate a brand’s products and services into content people are watching and they do it very seamlessly, instead of taking away attention from what they really want to watch. The reason their followers keep coming back to them is because they regularly offer new and creative content to them. Followers have come to expect that. Over are the days of hammering the same message into your consumers’ heads for months, maybe even years.
“Influencers are the masters of their niches, and have established a high level of trust and two-way communication with their followers.”
Social media has no prime time window — it is prime time. Any consumer behavior study worth its ink will tell you that consumers are shifting towards social at the cost of TV. While marketers chased prime time spots on TV in the past, social is prime time 24/7. The truth is, when a social media personality you follow day in and day out wears something, drinks something, shows you something, you pay attention to it. And the key word here is attention. How to win your customer’s attention is quickly changing, and the brands that fail to adapt are going to get left in the dust by their competitors.
In God we trust. Everyone else bring data. Why should you believe me when I say that influencer marketing is on the rise and more effective than many other popular marketing channels?
- A poll conducted by Tomoson found that 59% of marketers are planning to increase their influencer marketing budgets year-over-year. It is also the most cost-effective and fastest-growing online customer acquisition channel, outpacing organic search, paid search and email marketing.
- In an advertising landscape where returns on ad spend (ROAS) of $2 for every $1 spent are considered a success, influencer marketing delivers an average return of $6.50, with the top 13% of marketers making $20 or more.
- It’s not just about the quantity, quality matters too — 51% of marketers believe customers acquired through influencer marketing are of better quality because they spend more money and are more likely to spread the word to family and friends.
- According to a Think with Google study, 70% of teenage YouTube subscribers say they relate to YouTubers more than to traditional celebrities — and you can bet that is not just happening on YouTube.