By David Skopiwsky
Are reviews and testimonials from influencers, really worth giving away your products or services for nothing?
Consumers have always loved to take part in contests where they can win products for free. Is there any difference between using your products as promotional giveaways to established customers, as opposed to gifting them to influencers? The idea of using an influencer is to gift your product to a well-known person, a consumer with a large social media reach, or an expert who can now recommend and promote your brand. This hopefully leads to sales and repeat customers. Customers who win a contest are proud they won and will tell a bunch of friends and family which company they won the product from. The word of mouth doesn’t have that large of a reach, but they will probably continue to buy from that company. An influencers reach extends far beyond the yoga class or bowling night. Sometimes a good campaign can have a global reach and introduce your brand to people that would have never even thought about your company.
Being an influencer is nothing new. From doctors telling consumers to smoke a specific brand of cigarette, Marilyn Monroe using and promoting Chanel No. 5 to Yelp reviewers and bloggers, social influencers have been telling consumer what to buy and consume for generations. Lucky Strike brand were the first to use doctors as influencers. In 1930, they sent doctors across the U.S. cartons of cigarettes asking them to say whether they were less irritating to their throats. They used the data they collected to put out a print ad stating that “20,679 Physicians say ‘LUCKIES are less irritating’”
This ad from 1946 clearly shows a doctor enjoying a smoke. The ‘M’ and the ‘D’ in the print are more pronounced to the viewer. Many of the tobacco companies would do similar ads, almost working in conjunction, and used doctors’ authority to make their claims seems more legitimate.
There is a divide between small and large businesses when it comes to using an influencer and which influencer is chosen. It doesn’t mean that small businesses can’t utilize an influencer based marketing campaign with the same success as a large company. During the time when Yelp reviews would influence business, it didn’t matter how big your business was. Whether the good reviews outweighed the bad, was what mattered. It also mattered whether those opinions were from someone known for their reviews. Just like a prominent food or movie critic, they determined whether you would get more and different clientele. To get a household name to promote and market your product, you probably need to be a big company like Nike or L’Oréal. You might also get lucky and land a reputable and likeable local celebrity. There are also those odd times when someone with a big name and following discovers something of yours and feels the need to mention it on social media. This brings orders and business from across the globe. There are many influencers who specialize in a certain genre that can bring in a lot of business. You make a product that has horror themes, then get an influencer that has a lot of followers in your niche. This could generate leads and increase your brands reach and sales.
Using a credible source to market your business is the key to success. No one will care if you hire Michael Jordan to be an influencer to help sell your dress line next summer. An influencer will not only broaden the reach of your brand, but should also show possible customers that someone credible uses and wants others to come to your business.
If a celebrity is out of your budget, you can find influencers on social media outlets like Instagram and Facebook, or other platforms like YouTube and Twitch. Choosing an influencer is tricky and can also depend on your industry.
Healthcare is one of the largest industries that are using influencer marketing campaigns to promote their brand. Subjects with expertise are more sought after to market a product. This is because you want to trust the person who is telling you what to eat, drink or exercise with a specific product. It takes more than a random big name to help deliver a message of trust when it comes to the wellness/healthcare industry.
Fashion and Beauty brands utilize a marketing strategy with an influencer about 60% of the time. Whether you choose a makeup artist, stylist, or someone with a lot of social media followers, there are an enormous amount to choose from. You want to start a trend and promote at the same time. Being so visual, Pinterest and Instagram are natural fits. An online eyeglasses retailer called Firmoo, utilized a bunch of Insta models and influencers that had considerable followings. They reached many different potential customers with a wide array of followings. This shows how a mid range brand, paired up with a bunch of mid tier influencers, and had a successful campaign without spending a large amount of money.
Travel and Lifestyle brands also benefit from getting culturally relevant influencers. These businesses benefit from people helping potential customers make their decisions when it comes time to spend their money. User Generated Content (UGC) is a goldmine in these industries. When potential consumers see other like-minded individuals using a product, or showcasing a positive experience, outside of a typical marketing campaign, they are drawn in more. Studies have shown that 93% of consumers find UGC helpful. If you see a popular fishing Youtuber use a specific pole in a video, you will be more willing to buy the same pole.
Whatever your industry, choosing the most effective influencer for your brand is key. They should be aligned with your company’s goals, so take the time to select the correct person(s) that add the right appeal to your brand. A campaign with the right influencer will hopefully bring in the sales you envisioned if everyone in the world knew about what your company offers.
You’ll probably get messages, if you haven’t already, from people who consider themselves influencers. They’ll ask you for free things and offer you lots of exposure. Some businesses get inundated with these types of messages daily. Send me a free makeup kit, free cake, or free dress. Do your due diligence and make a decision based on what you discover, and whether you will reach the right audience. Also, how you handle these people could be detrimental to your business. You don’t want to make the wrong decision and hurt your company’s reputation by choosing the wrong influencer. Be careful with how you handle rejecting the people reaching out to you, because they could still impact your brand after the fact.
Part of influencer marketing research means deciding which social media networks are suitable to promote your brand. The groundwork you’ll need to take will require effort and time, so be prepared that this process won’t be as simple as choosing the chocolate bar you want to eat for a snack that day. You should also track how successful your brand has been since launching an influencer based campaign.
So, whether you think an influencer can help your sales or not, the evidence is clear that even on a small scale the results and impact could benefit your company.
70% of teens trust social media influencers more than celebrities
86% of women use social media for purchasing advice
74% of people trust social networks to guide purchasing decisions
49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations
3% of consumers would consider buying a product in store if promoted by a celebrity compared to 60% for an influencer
40% of twitter users make a purchase based on a tweet
Influencer marketing campaigns earn $6.50 for every dollar spent
Influencer marketing is the fastest growing online customer acquisition method
Influencer marketing has surpassed print marketing
On average, marketers spend $25,000 – $50,000 on influencer marketing campaigns
Facebook & YouTube are the most influential social media networks with 19% and 18% of purchasing decisions being influenced by the platform respectively.