PR Trend: Influencer Marketing
“Influencer marketing” is the modern day equivalent to celebrity endorsements, a marketing tactic that’s been around for decades. These days, partnering with Instagram stars and YouTube phenomenons is a whole new way to advertise.
“Influencer content may be framed as testimonial advertising where they play the role of a potential buyer themselves, or they may be involved as third parties. These third parties can be spotted either within the supply chain (retailers, manufacturers, etc.) or among the so-called value-added influencers (such as journalists, academics, industry analysts, and professional advisers)” –Wikipedia
What’s the Difference?
The difference between celeb endorsements and influencer marketing is the idea that the campaign is a “collaboration” between the brand and the influencer. Everyone benefits from the deal. More of the brand’s products are purchased, while the influencer gains a few hundred new followers.
“YouTuber PewDiePie teamed up with the makers of a horror film set in the French catacombs under Paris, creating a series of videos in which he underwent challenges in the catacombs. It was pitch-perfect content for PewDiePie’s 27 million subscribers, and received nearly double the views as the movie’s trailer. Everybody won.” –Influencer Marketing
Another main difference between the two is the accessibility of influencers. These social media masters can be anyone– from a makeup guru to a gaming star on YouTube, there are more influencers populating the internet than ever before, and they’re often looking to be sponsored by brands.
The benefit of this type of advertising is the humanization of a brand, which leads to an increase in sales. Influencers speak directly to their fans with their content, often personalizing their relationships with followers through interactions on social media. And what’s better than buying a product that your favorite YouTuber endorses? People want to buy products that are supported by the people they admire and trust.
- “In a survey, 82% of consumers said they were highly likely to follow a micro-influencer recommendation on a product or service.
- 71% of marketers say the quality of customers and traffic from influencer marketing is better than other sources.”
Another pro of influencer marketing is that it allows you to target the exact audience you are trying to reach. According to Grin, “This is the reason why most apparel brands prefer to collaborate with fashion influencers and beauty or skincare brands prefer to work with beauty influencers. Because it helps them reach an audience that’s likely to be interested in their offerings.”
It’s important to find the right influencer to represent your brand. According to Brand24, “There are some rare cases when influencer marketing campaign backfired. Either the influencer profile didn’t suit the brand, the content was ill-prepared, or there was some other type of social media crisis.” If the wrong influencer is given temporary power over your brand and it goes wrong, this can be extremely detrimental to your business and its image as a whole.
There are pros and cons to everything, especially this new concept of influencer marketing. I’m curious to see it develop further in the world of PR and advertising.