Digital has taken the next step with brands not only switching their marketing budgets to digital but also making use of influencer marketing to build their brands online.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing involving endorsements from influencers, people and organizations who possess an expert level of knowledge and/or social influence in their respective fields.
Over the last couple of years, we have seen a strong shift to digital and inbound marketing trends to establishing brand awareness and actively moving your social media followers to brand advocates. These strategies have become more refined and focussed with the emergence of digital PR tracking packages like BrandsEye playing an active role in gauging brand sentiment online.
How does this work?
Digital PR is the buzz created by your brand online. Through opinion mining, using a proprietary mix of search algorithms, crowd and machine learning to mine online conversation for sentiment, and accurate reporting on what is currently being said about your brand and who is saying it.
These packages are reporting on emerging avenues of interactions and influence while quantifying the value these interactions present to your brand.
How does this fit in with Influencer Marketing?
Influencers offer a valuable endorsement of your product or brand. These endorsements are made to sway public opinion or increase sales. Influencers are usually either provided the product at a reduced rate or for free. With Social Media channels taking over the conversation about what is hot and trending the idea is to ensure that your brand is seen as aspirational, trusted, fresh, hip and happening. So, I want to use this lipstick or drive this car because I saw how amazing this product is on social media. See article on AdWeek regarding Estee Lauder’s decision to allocate 75% of their marketing budget to influencer marketing.
Using your influence for good
An interesting example of influencers swaying public opinion, is the current Amazon fires. Last weeks reports surfaced showing the Amazon on fire and outrage due to a perceived lack of media coverage. This sent of a blast from soccer players, musicians, actors and politicians, sharing their outrage on this issue.
These actions elevated the topic and created a social media blast about the issue.
However, Forbes then stepped into the arena outlining that the imagery used, and the claims made by these influencers are inaccurate. Read full article here >>
The question is now whether the influence on public opinion a positive outcome, that negates the misinformation and hype created by these public figures regarding this issue.
The answer I think is no, influencers are opinion shapers; but what they say is still only opinion based. The public can still decide if they agree or disagree.
Some Statistics regarding Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is the fastest growing marketing practice and media channel worldwide, expected to become a $10bn market by next year. 80% of marketers worldwide say that they plan to grow their influencer marketing spend in 2019, currently sitting on average somewhere between 4,3% and 7,6% of their total digital budget (source: eMarketer).
The benefits of influencer marketing over paid media are well documented. In the USA, businesses have been making on average $6.50 for each $1 spent on influencer marketing, with the top 13% earning $20 or more (source: Tomoson). Furthermore, 60% of 18-34 years old in Africa say that their purchase decisions have been swayed by influencers on social media (source: eConsultancy).
There are 152 791 South African influencers on Instagram and 69 488 on Twitter.
Humanz defines influencers as follows:
- 1 000 – 4 999 followers = Nano-influencer
- 5 000 – 49 999 followers = Micro-influencer
- 50 000 – 249 999 followers = B-lister
- 250 000 – 1 million followers = A-lister
- Over a million followers = Superstar
Most influencers in South Africa fall into the nano-influencer category.
On Instagram, the most popular influencer categories are
fitness (with 4 514 Instagram influencers), lifestyle (with 4 208 influencers)
and fashion (with 3 811 influencers). On Twitter, however, the most popular
categories are music (with 1 040 influencers), fitness (with 642 influencers)
and lifestyle (with 448 influencers).
The least popular categories for influencers on Instagram are vegetarian (with 34 influencers), pets (with 157 influencers) and art (with 702 influencers). On Twitter, the least popular categories are vegetarian (with 11 influencers), pets (with 34 influencers) and art (with 93 influencers).
Possibly one of the most interesting finds in the study was
one in two followers in SA are likely to turn into an actual impression.
So keep that in mind when looking for influencers to include in your marketing
strategy — if they have 1 000 followers, that’s only really 500
impressions on average.
While most South African brands have traditionally used celebrities as influencers, this study shows that nano-influencers have higher engagement rate percentages — and are more readily available. And since these nano-influencers have smaller audiences, they are generally seen as more trustworthy by their followers.
Regardless of how you look at this, influencer marketing is here to stay.