The last decade has seen the birth and rise of the infamous influencer. With the increasing prevalence of social media channels came the increasing need for content and, by default, content creators.
Influencers are those who have built up a loyal online following from their content creation and range from fashion lovers to foodies, to travel geeks to daily vloggers. The public fascination with other people’s lives and opinions grounds what is now a multi-billion-dollar industry.
It’s no wonder influencers are becoming one of the first ports of call for marketers. But is it really an effective marketing strategy?
In fact, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) found that although 75% of marketers currently employ influencers, only 35% consider those efforts to be effective and 19% admit to them being ineffective.
So why are people so inclined to use influencers?
Obviously, the promise of their expansive loyal fanbase gets brands salivating, but how do influencers generate sales in practice?
How Influencers Drive Sales
A successful influencer marketing campaign is two-fold.
Successful influencer marketing campaigns use content that aligns with the brand and the influencer chosen to promote it.
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As a brand, you will more likely be granted access to the loyal following of your influencers by promoting a product that is a seamless extension of what the influencer is known for.
For example, if your influencer is known for being vegan you shouldn’t have them promoting your range of luxury leather backpacks.
Apparently, it takes around 16 instances of noticed product placement for people to make a purchase.
The more frequently your audience is exposed to your product, the more likely you are to secure sales. Consistent placement of your product across your influencers feed or throughout their videos is far superior to having them post about you once – it’s also more convincing.
By this logic, all you need to do is find an influencer who likes your brand and then #spon the hell out of them!
Seems too simple…
Are Influencers Really Enough to Drive Sales?
Having taken a closer look at the figures it turns out that only 23% of people believe that content from influencers is actually influential.
By contrast, 60% say that content from friends and family influences their purchasing decisions.
Really, influencer marketing campaigns are based on the assumption that your consumers want to be influenced.
Let’s say your audience is open to being influenced – is this enough?
Influencer marketing is undeniably great for brand awareness but when it comes to securing sales it can actually have some negative consequences.
Imagine you do an ad deal with a YouTuber.
Chances are they will provide their audience members with a “link in the description” to whatever product of yours they are promoting. While the ease of this might successfully encourage people to check out the product, if this is the main way people view your products then the reach to your website won’t be accounted for as it would for organic searches will be reduced – and this can be detrimental to your SEO ranking.
Ranking well in organic search results gives your business credibility amongst searchers, and will ultimately help drive more traffic to your content.
While Youtube doesn’t take away traffic from organic SEO, in fact, Youtube holds quite high authority for SEO, it is still good to be aware of where your traffic is coming from if it isn’t being accounted for as organic searches.
Who Are You Convincing?
Gone are the days of silent product placement.
Brand deals are now regulated and required to be completely transparent so audience members know when an influencer has been paid to promote a product.
Queue the chorus:
I honestly love this product.
Now marketers have to navigate the scepticism that comes with the idea someone has been paid to endorse a product.
And as we said earlier, all these uncertainties mean nothing if the audience members aren’t actually influenced by what these influencers are saying!
Call-to-action is the foundation of any advertising and with influencers, there’s often a barrier there.
Call for Back-Up!
Influencers can have a really positive impact on your business.
For example, if an influencer has 10 million followers and those followers start discussing your product, they will build a backlink and create a domino effect. That is, your product can go viral.
That being said, under analysis, influencers are great for granting you access to a wide audience but might not be enough to actually secure sales.
Our recommendation is that in addition to influencers, you opt for a marketing agency who can assist with other strategies such as Google, Facebook and Instagram advertising.
The benefit of these is that they can give you increased authority across search engines and drive traffic to your website. Also, you can create a nice, explicit call-to-action.
We’re not saying that influencer marketing isn’t a great idea, the last five years speak for themselves!
Rather, we’re saying that while there is a place for influencer marketing, driving real-life sales might not be it.
The Good Marketer is a Marketing Agency in London which drives more traffic, generates conversions and increases sales for Small-To-Medium Sized Businesses.