Influencer Marketing: The New Wave

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Editor’s note: This article is by Adeshola Shittu and first appeared on LinkedIn

A while ago, I got myself a waist trainer. Rolling my eyes.

Yes, I know. Silly me! It was obviously a ridiculous idea considering my body type, however it was one of the coolest things to have at the time. From Kim Kardashian WestAmber RoseDraya and the likes showing off on Instagram and Snapchat, using it more as a fashion accessory, to my besties Mrs. Aboderin of MyGreenApron and Lobstarr who I live with, using it for their strict work out routines. Even though I am the laziest at the gym, there was no way I wasn’t going to get myself one. Needless to say, a year and a half later, it still sits pretty in the package at the bottom of my closet.

As much as that’s a horrible product experience to share, it is my perfect idea of the power of Influencer Marketing. It’s amazing these days how customers would rather look to fellow consumers or someone they trust to inform their buying decisions than to a super expensive brand ad on TV.

The best way to gain customer trust is by aligning with somebody they already trust.

Many brands and companies today leverage the use of influencer marketing to drive awareness, engagement and most importantly product sales. According to a study by Schlesinger Associates, 84% of surveyed marketers and communications professionals have said they plan to launch an influencer campaign within the next 12 months and those who have done so are delighted with the results and would consider influencer engagement and interactions an effective marketing tool.

Marketing jargon aside, Influencer Marketing is basically a marketing strategy where brands provide product/service context (brand messages, product campaigns/push) through a prominent person. So rather than marketing to the world, locate a few influential people (celebrities, athletes etc. who most of the time come with a huge social media following) and leverage their social database to spread your word.

Obviously, the best type of influencers are those who actually advocate your product/service without prior consultation but that’s story for another day.

With fierce competition for mind share of millennials, influencer marketing plays a major role. Millennials represent a large amount of the population and will amount for the future buying power of the economy. Millennials are known to have a lot of influence over the older generation (non-millennials, just admit it) and are trendsetters across all industries from fashion to food and even the choice of who they bank with. Today, many companies are struggling to connect through traditional advertising methods because, customers are more influenced by peers or known figures who create genuine content compared to a scripted ad on TV. Meaning, if Tiwa Savage uses Nigerian Pampers then I probably should try it out. Influencer Marketing has proven to be an increasingly valuable marketing tool.

But the real challenge in influencer marketing is actually in measuring the Return On Investment (ROI). The bottom line is to maximize exposure and ultimately increase sales by leveraging their social database (that is, the number of potential customers who become aware of your product or service through their platform). Google analytics provides a clearer picture of impressions, reach, demographics and suitability of your audience; all of which these influencers should be willing to share, but in most cases, on this side of the world, both the brand and the influencer tend to be clueless about the analytics/returns that can be derived from their platforms.

With many companies investing heavily in it these days, Influencer marketing is definitely a marketing strategy to adopt. However, here are a few things to have in mind:

  • Know Your Influencer (KYI): Find the right influencer(s) for your brand. Do they have the target audience you are trying to reach? What sort of content do they usually put out? How creative can they get with your product or service? I personally think an influencer who strives to continually grow his audience through authentic content would be a good catch. Be sure to start off with a small campaign and make changes as you go.
  • Clear measurable goals: “Increase awareness in 6 months.” How do you measure that accurately? Do not waste time with vague goals. Focus on direct measurable goals. An example would be ‘to increase sales by N500,000 in 2 weeks’ or, ‘increase Instagram followers by 30% a month’. Other measurements could be to increase conversations on twitter, website visits (referral visitors) etc. The whole point is to make the goals as realistic and achievable as possible.
  • Use coupon codes to measure: Okay so you get likes in hundreds and thousands or millions of impressions per post…so what? It doesn’t mean much if they aren’t clicking to your website or actually making a purchase. Coupons might be old fashioned but it still does the trick. Have unique coupon codes per influencer and sales can be easily tracked.
  • Links in YouTube videos: YouTube influencers are some of the most effective influencers on social media, however, it is difficult to track ROI via this medium. Similar to the coupon codes, the best way would be to include links within the video or (and) description specific to the influence.

Hopefully, we can get more ideas on how to better maximize using influencers in marketing in the comment section below.

Now that I think of it, after my fifth child in a few years to come, I would definitely have a waist that would need training.

 

 

 

 

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