Influencer Marketing: What’s Important To Your Audience?

“Conventional marketing as a stand-alone strategy doesn’t work as well as it used to. The marketing landscape has changed, and the only way to ensure continued relevance with your target is to adapt.”

Research consistently indicates that statistically, people no longer pay attention to advertising – in any medium. Adobe managing director Australia and New Zealand Paul Robson states: “The preference consumers have towards traditional advertising has more to do with digital. The reason consumers don’t see the value is that it’s not personalised or relevant. That relevancy creates an affinity.”

A 2017 survey looking at the state of Influencer Marketing, asked 170 marketers from the Consumer Packaged Goods, Food & Beverage, Media, Retail and agency verticals how they viewed the future of this burgeoning arena. 87% of respondents said that “Influencer Marketing’s top benefits entail creating authentic content about their brand.”

Conventional marketing offers one generic corporate campaign message broadcast to a static target audience, where Influencer Marketing ensures social influencers are content creators who endorse brands in their own way and style, in their own words. It’s personalised and it’s people talking to people. This means that extended audiences in the same target market may see completely unique content and messaging on the same campaign.

… when working with influencers, brands have to let go and allow influencers control of the narrative to preserve the authenticity of what is being communicated.

Priyanka Dayal, content marketing manager at Centaur Media PLC, also emphasizes “today’s consumer can tell the difference between an advert, a personal recommendation, and an advert masked under a personal recommendation. For influencer marketing to sustain, authenticity and credibility is key.”.

Effectively, this changes how you approach Influencer Marketing from a strategic perspective. Although conventional marketing and Influencer Marketing are complementary, each should be managed differently.

A frequent occurrence in marketing departments is the view that influencers can be managed internally. While it is possible to run effective campaigns in-house, it requires a unique skillset in defining the IM strategy, selecting the perfect influencers for a specific message (based on a deep understanding of the target audience, and not on a headline or bio), managing the campaign from inception to completion, and translating the IM strategy to influencers ensuring that the brand integrity and reputation is increased. When the strategy isn’t conveyed correctly, the process can lead to influencers lacking authenticity and brands losing credibility with their audiences. The technical expertise of a dedicated Influencer Marketing agency cannot be ignored, along with ensuring you have access to cutting-edge market innovations.

“Great Influencer Marketing campaigns don’ look like advertising. They’re the stories around the brands the influencers share organically.”

Amanda Duncan, Senior Communications Officer at Microsoft, says “focus on a long-term approach rooted in a two-way dialogue. It’s often the phases between campaigns and events that allow you to have in-depth conversations, get valuable feedback and really gain a deeper understanding around what matters to your influencers. Investing this time and valuable resources builds credibility. This credibility and trust with an influencer is key to ongoing success.”

In upcoming articles, I’ll demonstrate how a kickass Influencer Marketing campaign can be run. You can look forward to learning about the importance of having a dedicated strategy, why it’s crucial to select the right influencer based on the right target audience, how vital it is to manage the influencer relationship, and finally, what’s required when your Influencer Marketing campaign is live. These articles (and more) will be released weekly. If you’re dying to know more now and you’d like expert assistance with creating and managing your Influencer Marketing campaigns, you can contact me onpartners@r2digital.co.za and follow us on LinkedIn

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