Influencers have never been such a large part of marketing as now. With social media came identifiable communities and easy-to-access numbers. The number of likes and followers someone has is no secret. Data is readily available. Potential markets are more targetable than ever. And with this came influencer marketing.
The idea is simple. Brands can connect with customers on a peer-to-peer level using influential people. It’s like giving the popular kid at school a microphone to promote what they like. It’s a form of native advertising that doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. In fact, there seems to be a growing second wave. But how is it used exactly and does it generate sustainable brand growth?
Identifying and partnering with influencers
It started with bloggers and celebrities and has trickled down to “normal” customers. Brands are looking for people with credibility and expertise to partner with. It’s not just about the number of followers an influencer might have.
Of course having a lot of followers doesn’t hurt. Pamela Reif, Germany’s “Instagram Queen” is a fitness model and attracts lucrative contracts from health companies. But she also promotes designer brands and online stores to her 2.2 million Instagram followers. Jessica Weiß, of blog Journelles, markets for fashion, beauty and interior brands. The team of Food Stories partners with companies like Edeka and Farrow & Ball. It isn’t so much that their pages only focus on what these brands offer but more about the influencer’s own brand and how they connect to their fans. Food Stories, for example, is a recipe blog but their beautiful photography lends itself to the paint colours of Farrow & Ball.
Sustainable growth for brands using influencer marketing
A natural question when it comes to influencer marketing: is it sustainable? You don’t want your brand to get hype from a celebrity post that dies immediately. But numbers show influencer marketing is a worthy investment. According to a McKinsey Study, marketing-inspired word-of-mouth generates more than double the sales of paid advertising. These customers also have a 37% higher retention rate. Customers trust who they follow and since influencers have their reputation to uphold, they should only promote products they’ve tried and enjoyed. Most also include #Ad or #Sponsored in the caption. This lets their followers know they’ve been paid.
Influencer marketing and the startup world
Now influencer marketing has hit the startup world. The Samwer brothers recently invested in ReachHero, a platform for influencers and companies to connect. More than 800 companies and 3600 influencers (all who have over 1000 followers) are on ReachHero. Another Berlin-based platform, Brandnew, says it reaches 413.8 million consumers worldwide. Nevaly matches brands, like Foodora and Topman, with influencer communities and drives up word of mouth. Companies using these platforms are now not just the ones you’d expect but also banks and insurance companies. Even JetSmarter, a private jet company, has used celebrities like Kim Kardashian for promotion. It’s become the “fastest growing” private aviation company in the world – at least partly in thanks to its influencer marketing tactics.
On the other side, startups are using influencer marketing intelligently to garner sales. Kapten & Son, the watch startup created by three students, has benefitted greatly from their Instagram fan base. They say they pay bloggers from 50 to 1,000 Euros. Lucky for them, their product fits every blogger. You & Idol, an online retailer, also makes use of bloggers and Youtube stars to show off their women’s clothes to devoted followers. They also re-post the influencers photographers, to build on their over 57,000 strong fan base.
A photo posted by Kapten & Son (@kaptenandson) on
Influencer marketing will keep growing
Bloggers, companies and startup platforms all benefit from this type of marketing. Even companies who wouldn’t think to use social media are recognizing the power of influencers, to generate sales and long-lasting customers. And it’s not just Instagram or blogs – this next wave of influencer marketing includes Snapchat, Periscope and new social media tools and greater B2B marketing. The best part? People feel more personally connected to the products they buy and less bombarded by advertisements.
If you want to know more on this topic, Pamela Reif will be joined by Francis Trapp (CEO Brandnew.io) and Roland Grenke (founder of Dubsmash) at HEUREKA 2016 conference to speak about influencer marketing. Apply for your ticket here.
Images: Instagram, Pixabay