- 49% of consumers claim that they depend on influencer recommendation on social media to advise their purchases.
- In 2019, brands spent $8 billion on influencers through sponsored social media content, brand partnerships and affiliate programs.
- Influencers are a trusted voice for consumer research and influence sales by nurturing their audiences and showcasing genuine interest in brands, products and services.
- The success of the influencer sign posts a significant shift in consumer behaviour; buyers want to hear from people, not corporations.
- Marks and Spencer are cutting their 2020 Christmas clothing advert and instead turning to influencers to promote their festive clothing.
- Influencer marketing can boost your brand awareness, audience numbers and drive sales. Find out how below!
As social media continues to grow in terms of consumer reach, sales and impact, one career avenue has risen exponentially: the influencer. If we told our grandparents that millennials could make money posting pictures of themselves in branded clothing and reviewing products for their online following they’d likely laugh and say to pull the other one – but social media has created a thriving job market for innovative influencers who are making their power know, and they are a hidden tool for retail marketing success.
The age of influencer marketing is truly upon us as 49% of consumers claim that they depend on influencer recommendation on social media to advise their purchases. Now, more the ever, in the wake of lockdown and with Christmas shopping lists to complete, are influencers the new retailers?
The Influencer Buzz
As a full-service digital agency, we have witnessed many exciting digital marketing innovations and, the buzz of the influencer generation has been no exception. The rise of the influencer has shaken up both the marketing and the retail world as retailers and eCommerce businesses are starting to shift their focus towards influencer marketing rather than traditional retail marketing routes such as TV ads and catalogues.
Influencers are a database of retail inspiration, where you can see products come to life in shoppable social media posts. They’re a friendly face, a trusted voice and a window into a curated world which you can ‘swipe up’ to buy. Influencers curate their very own shop window, displaying selected items which drive consumer interest and with one click, a potential customer can go from the influencer’s picture to the business’ product page ready to purchase.
In 2019, brands spent $8 billion on influencers through sponsored social media content, brand partnerships and affiliate programs – a massive chunk of the global marketing spend. So, why are influencers so in demand and how can retailers use influencer marketing to their advantage?
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A Shift In Consumer Behaviour
The power of the influencer works in tandem with the rise in social media usage and each platforms’ focus on retail inspiration. The success of the influencer sign posts a significant shift in consumer behaviour; buyers want to hear from people, not corporations.
Social media is all about creating value and trust with your audience to drive your message, and influencers have nailed this – to the point that brands are willing to invest large sums of money into the success of a high-authority influencer’s good word. This is why 2020 saw a 65% increase in influencer marketing budgets.
The age old understanding that word of mouth is the best from of advertising has developed with the times. Influencers have taken this message and created a digital hub for consumers to find trusted recommendations. By investing in the influencer’s life, opinions and day-to-day activity, viewers increasingly trust their favourite influencers opinions, which can then be marketed. From drinks recommendations to what car they drive – every aspect of an influencer’s life holds a level of consumer impact as they have built an audience authority.
Getting Sales ‘Authentically’
The influencer game is a balance of pushing brand sales but also maintaining a real connection with their brand following. Most influencers will be highly selective about which brands they partner with to maintain this authenticity. If you’re a business looking to build your influencer marketing, you need to focus on building genuine connections with your chosen influencers to see results.
When looking for an influencer, brands should try and pair their brand values and goals with the ethics and opinions of the influencer. In order for an #AD to be successful, users need to see a connection between the brand and the influencer to feel there is a genuine recommendation from the branded post. Brands need to align product or service ranges with an influencer who would, in normal life, engage with your product or service. For example, a toy brand needs to reach out to influencers who have children, or a vegan food businesses should aim to connect with influencers who have a vested interested in vegan or healthy eating – consumers will see through awkward or fake brand partnerships!
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Influencers and 2020 Marketing
The turbulent times of 2020 have bought their fair share of twists and changes, including a rise in online sales and digital success, and influencers are marked as one or the key tools for digital marketing.
In October, it was announced that Marks and Spencer were cutting their annual Christmas clothing advert and instead turning to influencers to promote their festive clothing. This is a big shift, as last year the retailer’s Christmas advert featured hip-hop dancers in their Christmas jumpers and was a top preforming festive ad.
However, Christmas preparation and advertising has been thrown by the effects of COVID-19. With lockdowns preventing the usual forms of Christmas shopping, brands and businesses are turning to remote, digital initiatives to keep their Christmas sales high. Despite the change in the norm, Holiday sales are projected to smash records with a total $189 billion, and digital and influencer marketing tactics will play a hand in these sales.
Benefits of Influencer Marketing
So, why are businesses attracted to the opportunities of influencer marketing? And, now that digital sales are so crucial, how can you optimise your influencer marketing budget?
Influencers aren’t just a marketing channel, they share almost every aspect of their life with their followers, becoming a digital community of friends. This gives them a heightened sense of viewer trust.
It’s all about building relationships. An influencer builds a deep relationship with their audience who then trust their brand recommendations and feel they have a genuine interest in your brand or product; hence, businesses need to build strong relationships with influencers to access this trusted voice.
Teaming up with an influencer is a great way to build brand awareness and increase traffic to your business. A brand can expect high levels of exposure when they partner with a brand aligned influencer because their followers are likely to respond well to your brand also. This exposure works as a targeted organic reach web, as the influencer’s followers will branch out to your brand if they too are invested what you can offer.
Influencers can also offer a wide range of content platforms which each hold different audience groups meaning your brand can be showcased in a range of creative forms. Whether it’s an image post, video or story all engaging content is an effective way of getting your brand in front of potential buyers.
Creative and Unique Content
It’s in your influencer’s interest to create innovative and exciting content so that they stand out from the crowd on our social media feeds. Investing in influencer marketing is much like investing in a creative freelancer, they often come from creative and visual backgrounds and are committed to generating original content.
Team up with an influencer who can creatively highlight the USPs and values of your brand and you’re onto a winner! Not only will you boost your brand awareness, but you’ll get a unique, creative campaign bespoke to your business.
Space For Independents
If you’re a business who cannot afford the price or exclusivity of retail sites such as Net-a-Porter, revaluating your sales angle to incorporate influencer marketing is a fantastic way to break the market.
Influencer marketing can be tailored to a range of businesses, styles and budgets to meet your marketing needs and, with high success rates you don’t need to break the bank to get your name out there! Finding a perfectly matched influencer could be your ticket to independent success and a boost in sales.
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Jasmine has been a member of Absolute Digital Media’s team for almost five years now, having started her journey at the agency as a Digital Copywriter and progressing onto become read more.