Aside from making him an instant star, the viral video of Nathan Apodaca brought Ocean Spray, a tidal wave of free publicity in 2020 the company tapped into. Photo: Ocean Spray.
The power of word-of-mouth is undeniable.
For years, we’ve been told to “buy the hype” or that “word of mouth will make your brand go viral.” And while we’re familiar with these phrases, what many people don’t know is just how powerful word-of-mouth can be — and why it’s essential for businesses to take note.
In today’s digital world, there are a plethora of marketing channels at our fingertips, making advertising more competitive than ever before. But one tactic that has proven to be successful over time — when done correctly — is influencer marketing.
Let’s examine why it’s such a powerful tactic.
Influencers have been with us for centuries, and unlike other marketing channels, influencer marketing is based on authenticity and trust. In a world that’s constantly being bombarded with ads, influencers act as human billboards and share their passions and interests with others through videos and social media posts. They earn their followers’ trust by sharing content about things that truly matter to them.
Bypassing traditional marketing
As brands look for ways to break through the clutter, influencers are an effective way to bypass traditional marketing tactics and forge connections with consumers in a more intimate, organic way. An article published in Forbes states, “brands will spend up to $15 billion on influencer marketing by 2022.”
Brands with an engaged audience tend to outperform their competitors because they can create a stronger connection with consumers than brands who spend most of their ad budget on traditional marketing tactics. The key is finding trusted sources who share similar values as your brand and then aligning them with relevant content to build, maintain and facilitate trust.
Last year, the number of influencers on Instagram reached 1 million. If you have the budget for it, then influencer marketing is a great way to garner attention from a relevant audience who may not otherwise know about your product or service.
I am obsessed with spotting, plotting, and following trends, and I can’t deny that influencers are on the up and up.
Reasons behind the shift
Influencer marketing is causing a paradigm shift in the marketing and advertising industries; here are several reasons behind this:
Brands are turning to influencers because they have a direct line of communication with their target audience.
Influencer marketing is a way for brands to reach influencers who have an established following. Influencers are people with large social media followings (think bloggers, Instagrammers, Twitchers, or YouTubers) who could use their direct influence to promote brands’ products in their posts or videos.
It is important that influencers post about how they use the product to give prospective buyers more information before making a purchase decision. When influencer marketing content is created by someone consumers trust, conversion rates increase from customers being able to envision themselves using/wearing the product versus scrolling past ads on Facebook or Twitter.
Several surveys found that influencers were able to increase conversion rates by more than 40 percent. The influencer’s audience has already established trust in them as someone who provides valuable content, which means it is easier for influencers to get others involved in what they’re doing.
Influencers can reach more people in a shorter time than brands can on their own.
Brands have to estimate how many people they can reach independently and then figure out the best marketing strategy for them. On the other hand, influencers create content that is shared with their followers who share it again and again, which makes influencer content more viral than brands could ever hope to be.
This gives influencers an edge when it comes to advertising products effectively because of the amplified effect of word-of-mouth recommendations.
It’s easier for the audience to relate with someone who speaks directly about their experience with the brand.
People are always looking for new perspectives and getting advice from those who have already been through the process.
Eighty-four percent of millennials rely on word-of-mouth or endorsements of friends and family for purchase decisions.
It’s no surprise that the people we follow or care about and trust have a magnetic pull on us, but what is often underrated is their influence on our decision-making. Studies tell us that it can be hard not to get swayed by someone when they enthusiastically recommend something – even if you had your reservations before hearing them out.
Brands are increasingly turning to influencers because they can be more cost-effective than traditional advertising.
Influencer marketing is an excellent way for brands to get more exposure without paying vast amounts of money. Furthermore, it’s effective because influencers have an established following and are able to tap into that audience with the brand’s product or service.
With ads, you’re paying for every click, and there’s no guarantee that your message will get across to the audience. However, with influencers, it is usually an upfront deal brands strike with influencers depending on their social engagement metrics, historical conversion rates, and follower count.
When brands work with influencers, they can tap into an audience that is already interested in the product. This means brands will spend less money and get better results because their message reaches a wider audience.
It’s no secret that brands turn to influencers because they have a direct line of communication with their target audience. Influencers can reach more people in a shorter time than the brand itself, so it makes sense for brands to take advantage of this opportunity.
Hany Anbar is ECU’s Director of Data Analytics and Customer Experience. Contact us to discuss elevating your influencer campaign.