By Susan Reilly
Ever wonder what makes birds of a feather flock together? Think of that amazing "V" Formation of Starlings soaring through the sky. While the study of bird dynamics is complex and still not well understood, it is commonly accepted that there is a commander-in-beak so to speak. Flocks have a pecking order. They interact and the "big bird" or the one with the most aerodynamic power gets the other feathered friends to follow the whirling formation and turn on a dime.
The analogies between birds flocking and social media influencers are abundant. Think of that blogger with amazing content who has the capacity to be your "Darling Starling" and engages thousands. Brands must continue to produce content on their own channels. However, paid social media influencer content is quickly become an important component of the working media media mix because of the value of an influencer's audience.
Simply stated, influencer marketing is a hybrid of paid, owned and earned media. As an integrated marketing communications agency with expert influencer media planners and a foundation in PR, content and digital, here are 8 reasons your brand should get your influence media plan in formation:
1. Engagement: Brands can buy audiences, eyeballs, trust, and loyalty but the only way to sustain long-term engagement is through great content penned or produced by people your targets admire and trust. Influencer marketing now allows you to buy audiences making social media a true media buy.
2. Focus: Influencer media campaigns are not just about impressions. They help brands reach the right eyeballs, sustain engagement at scale and through implied endorsement ultimately lead to a sale. Platforms like TapInfluence™, which automates the process of identifying, distributing and measuring influencer campaigns, are helping brands reach billions of customers while enabling them to connect conversations to commerce.
Whether it's "moms" or "millenials" you are trying to reach, influencers hold considerable power over their followers. They pick their area of interest, reach millions and offer quality engagement by what they post. This enables brands to target a large share of voice across multiple channels.
3. Trust: We know that 92% of consumers trust product reviews from family, friends and bloggers over content from your brand, even if they do not know the bloggers. In fact, two recent Nielsen's studies revealed that 70 percent of consumers want to learn about products through content versus traditional advertising channels. And, these statistics continue to rise while traditional media including television, print, and magazine advertising continue to decline as a source for product information.
4. Infinite Shelf Life: While we know birds and bloggers don't live forever, the shelf life of the content a social media influencer creates lives on the internet and is shared over weeks, months and years. Influencers also tend to evangelize and support brands well beyond the life of a paid campaign.
5. Relevancy: Social media influencers show their followers how your brand fits into their life. Whether it is tips on how to package healthy treats for a stress-free day at the zoo with tiny Tommy or smacking good tips to make your lips kissable for that Valentine's date, social media influencers convey the true-to-life benefit of a brand. If your brand is part of their discussion the value of their audience to your marketing plan can be ginormous.
6. Efficiency: Social media influencer strategies have held a strong position in solid earned media plans because of their natural extension of a smart traditional media pitching strategy. In fact, according to emarketer, the paid media value of $1 spent on an influencer plan is between $9 to $15 depending on the category with Food, Travel and Tourism, and Skin Care, Bath and Body products topping the list.
7. Accountability: Now with resources like TapInfluence we are delivering data insights, improved efficiencies, and accountability to our clients who are interested in reaching influencers at scale. It isn't just about impressions. We establish many KPIs including cost per engagement, actions taken, intent to purchase, and sales impact across specific retail channels.
8. Supercharge Conversions, Contests and SEO: Tapping into influencers to participate and promote your social media contests can ignite promotions, compliment SEO strategies and help drive sales. Brands are reporting a three to 10 time boost in sales conversion rates. We are seeing a "roid-like" impact on social media contests and promotions. And search engines now rank content, not just keywords, and give good content high authoritative rankings.
As social media marketers, we know that birds of a feather flock together. What you need to analyze is which commanders-in-beak are right for your brand. Some influencers have audiences as big as a major traditional media outlet. Others have a smaller flock but their content and interests may be focused and perfectly align with your brand.
The questions savvy marketers have to ask themselves is:
Do we need to spend the money required to reach 1 million Starlings when only 15% of them are the right bird?
Should we look at vehicles that deliver high quality engagement like influencer media and have greater confidence that the majority of those birds will become our feathered friends thus reaping a higher return on investment with optimum efficiency?
Imagine being able to reach almost 300 million people in your target audience for an average cost per thousand (CPM) of $10. Look at an influencer like Emily Schuman of the popular blog, Cupcakes and Cashmere, and do the math: Schuman reaches 295.2 million people per year and at an average CPM of $10—that’s an ad value equivalent of $2.95 million.
While the answer may not be an either or, the multi-dimensional value of an influencer media plan certainly is irrefutable and earns a seat at the marketer's table.
For more information about our influencer marketing services, please contact us today.