92% of consumers would buy a product based upon a friend’s recommendation which is exactly why 65% of brands in 2015 engaged in some kind of influencer marketing campaign. It would appear fortunately or unfortunately that we are all lemmings after all… just joking. But, jokes aside, the world is made up of influencers (people who affect other consumers’ actions) and followers. Influencer marketing is nothing new in the US and Europe but it is new in Asia. Last night General Assembly and Female Entrepreneurs Worldwide hosted five influencer-marketing experts who all shared their knowledge on the subject. Content marketing, native advertising and infuencer marketing are THE hot topics for digital marketing in 2016 and when they all come together… well – it’s pretty magical in my opinion. Here are the five biggest takeaways from the discussion:
Influencer Marketing, Native Advertising and Content Marketing go Hand in Hand
Content is king on the internet. This is a direct result of ad-blocking software and an increased need to be found ‘organically’ on the internet and over social media. The most cost-efficient way to be found is by starting a blog and creating a content calendar with a digital marketing plan to push the content out over social platforms. Grana is a great example of a company who has used their blog to engage with readers on the internet. They also work with influencers to create this content AND if they did decide to advertise online they could simply post some of their amazing articles and images (created by influencers) onto a publishing platform of their choice. The intersecting point between content marketing, native advertising and influencer marketing is what I like to call the ‘sweet spot’ between editorial and sales and it’s exactly why I pivoted my career from pure editorial into this exact spot. Content marketing, blogs, articles, photographs, native ads and influencer-marketing campaigns are the things I live and breathe every day and I love it.
You Don’t Need a Big Budget to Do It
Sure you can pay Kim Kardashian to post a photo of your product but if it’s not in the right market or her demographic doesn’t match your target audience your 1 million or more USD will just go down the drain. If you’re a local company and you don’t have a big budget look to your existing clients. They can host ‘influencer events’ and simply invite their friends to an event that you create for them (make it amazing) or offer a discount or gift with purchase to their network. If I’m unfamiliar with a brand I’m far more likely to go to an event if a friend invites me to it because I connect with people that I know vs. brands that I don’t know. Amplifying an event by partnering with other local designers, service providers and establishments is another fantastic way to increase exposure. A wonderful example of this is a past partnership between the Landmark Mandarin Oriental Spa, yoga brand - A Day with Fe and photographer - Anastasia Darsono. Not only was the partnership natural and organic but all three of the companies shared the same target audience and were able to increase their databases with engaged potential customers.
Pictures and Videos Say a Thousand Words
I personally find that photographers and videographers make the best influencers for digital marketing. Not only can they create and edit everything themselves but they also prioritise imagery and let’s be honest who has time to read more than 500 words these days. Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, WeChat, SnapChat are all led by images and in many cases videos. When I find an excellent lifestyle photographer or videographer I celebrate for days. Finding someone who can translate what I’m thinking in my head into an image or video makes me so happy and it makes clients even happier. A good image can withstand the test of time and be relevant for many years. It engages readers, brings an article to life and if it’s good enough can completely replace text. I love creating stock images for clients to use over the course of a year to accompany their articles and to publish on their social media accounts.
To Pay or Not to Pay… That is the Question
Many argue that true influencers should only promote products that they love without getting paid for it. Other’s (usually on the infuencer or large-business side of things) disagree and say that not only do influencers need to make a living but it’s more efficient and effective have drawn up contracts and fees in place to work with influencers to ensure a return on investment and timely content creation. I sit between both schools of thought. If you’re asking someone to publish content about your brand to raise awareness and at the end of the day gain more consumers for your product or service then why shouldn’t you pay them? There are symbiotic relationships that exist too especially between fashion bloggers and fashion brands because instead of cash exchanging hands products do – essentially this is another form of payment or bartering. Whatever your opinion is one thing is always true. In order for influencer marketing to really work it must be mutually beneficial for both parties and at least look genuine, and that’s something I don’t think anyone will argue with.
Tech Tools Help
The best thing about technology is how fast, efficient and easy it makes our lives. It also helps to measure return on investment which is important as influencer marketing can cost a bonb these days. Some of my favourite social sourcing and measurement tools include HootSuite, Addict-o-matic, Crowdbooster, ParkLu, Sysomos, HowSociable, LaterGram, CoTweet, Klout and my all-time favourite Social Bakers. Top tip – use these tools to make your life a lot easier. The only platform that the entire panel agreed was difficult to measure was SnapChat. If you know of a measurement tool for this please email me at email@example.com. Tech tools may help but if you want to outsource all of your social media needs I highly recommend engaging a freelancer. I love working with Faz who is based in LA but handles accounts worldwide. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org and she really is a marketing mastermind.
That's all on influencer marketing for now and if you have any questions or comments or need advice on content marketing, native advertising and influencer marketing just email me at email@example.com
mage Credits: Photographer - Michelle J Procter; Styling - Christie Simpson; Hair - Danielle Abbotts at The Strand, Make-up - Smudge Make-Up Artistry: Location - Upper House Hotel; Top and Leggings - lululemon; trainers - Nike