With social media playing a large part in just about everyone’s personal life in recent years, the opportunity for content to be seen and shared is increasing at an astounding rate. Many brands are taking notice of the trend, and marketers are witnessing a shift in the way content is being delivered to potential consumers, clients and customers.
This recent development, known as influencer marketing, relies on the voice, credibility and following of a specific online presence in which to market their brand.
Fashion Monitor recently released a study highlighting the recent uprise of influencer marketing.
What exactly is an influencer?
“An influencer is anyone who has the power and profile to make a difference to our opinion, or that of our customers,” says Anna-Marie Solowij, founder of online beauty retailer Beautymart. Not only do these influencers come with their own legions of followers, but many are already in a perfect position to reach the target demographic of many major brands.
Audiences are responding to this new trend in marketing in a big way, and brands are definitely taking notice.
These are just a few reasons why bloggers and influencers are here to stay, in 2016 and beyond. Read on for the top nine reasons:
#1 The weight of their words.
This probably goes without saying, but the most effective tool a blogger or influencer has is their voice. Viewed by their fans and followers as a voice they can trust, influencers place a personal spotlight on an item, allowing for it to stand out and shine among a sea of millions, and major brands are recognizing the value.
#2 Brands are already on board.
Over half of those who participated in the survey are currently working with an influencer as part of their marketing strategy, with almost ¼ of the rest planning to do so in the near future. 77% of respondents surveyed find influencers to be “highly effective” or “effective” in campaign strands including promotion, distribution, and product launches.
#3 They’re playing the long game.
The slow, yet effective upstream of growth for brands shows that influencers have staying power, in terms of being part of the long term marketing strategy for many brands. “It is about a long-term partnership with a person who will consistently add value to your business because of the influence they yield online,” says Sarah Penny, editor of Fashion and Beauty Monitor. As influencer reach grows, so do brands, and vice versa.
#4 Relevance trumps reach.
Almost 75% of respondents surveyed agree that the number of followers an influencer has is less important than the relevance of that influencer, in terms of their ability to resonate and relate specifically to the nature of the brand. “I’d look at an influencer’s social reach, but I would also dig a bit deeper to look at the engagement they’re getting,” says Rachel Bloom, Senior digital account coordinator at Liberty Marketing. “I would never just look at follower number...but make sure the blog looked professional, and was on brand for the client.”
#5 Brands want influencer marketing to work.
Because influencer marketing has made such a dramatic impact on the landscape of marketing in such a short amount of time, brands are eager to get on board, hoping they can benefit from changing with the times. “Brands are eager for influencer marketing to work,” says Tim Bax, Creative Director of iCrossing. “We’ll do a proof piece, so that the client can see that it works, and then they’re happy to put some more money behind it.”
#6 There’s someone for every budget.
39% of respondents say their held back by their budget, yet 72% feel that real value lies in how an influencer relates specifically to their campaign. This means that if you happen to resonate with a specific brand and their audience, you might actually be of more value to them than the influencer with 1 million followers, and the hefty rate that comes with it. It’s possible to make a big impact with a small budget, and brands are eager to branch out to find their fit.
#7 Brands have plans to increase budgets!
Budgets are set to increase for almost 60% of respondents in 2016. This is huge people. With about ¼ of respondents already allocating between 30-75% of their overall budget to influencer marketing alone, the potential for influencers to get involved is only set to grow with time.
#8 Relationships are shifting.
With higher demand comes the freedom to set your terms, and with more emphasis placed on the value of finding the right influencer for a particular brand, these influencers are better able to ask for what they’re worth. What used to be rewarded with free swag, now comes with a price tag, as 82% of influencers surveyed are heavily swayed by monetary rewards.
#9 A good influencer can sell, without selling.
As consumers are constantly inundated with advertisements claiming to improve just about anything wrong with their lives, the sales pitch goes right over many people’s heads, as it all starts sounding the same.
“As soon as it becomes too commercial, people aren’t stupid, they can see what the influencers are doing,” says Bax.
Influencers have more to lose than sales, and with pushy plugs turning many people off, they work hard to ensure their followers see only just enough. “If they’re pushing stuff too much, they’ll lost their voice in the community,” he adds.
For bloggers and influencers out there looking to build relationships, now it the perfect time to do so. The hardest part of influencer marketing most brands face is finding the right person. Half of the respondents questioned find it time consuming and difficult, and almost 75% don’t even know where to start, in terms of finding the right fit.
If you feel your online presence could benefit a particular, sending a thoughtful and targeted pitch their way might actually make their jobs easier, which could lead to great things for you!
You can check out the rest of the full report from Fashion Monitor here.
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