Marketing With a Human Touch – Rise Of The Everyday Social Media Influencer
The Everyday Influencer — can be both your most effective storytellers and your most powerful purchase drivers. These are the people all around us — your sister, your co-worker, your boss — they create and share experiences through photos, videos and reviews that are more meaningful (and trustworthy) than anything a brand does.
It’s marketing with a human touch – using education, expert guidance and insights to stimulate interest and discussion on a product. It is one of the best ways to communicate your brand story.
The use of ad blocking technologies has doubled in the past year. This is a trend that will continue. Just as ad viewing decreases, the creation and consumption of product-related consumer generated content continues to skyrocket. Consumer created content has a proven and measurable benefit for brands.
With the surge of the smartphone and continued innovation in social media, we are all photographers, producers and writers. We are content creators, sharing our thoughts, experiences and recommendations is a part of everyday life. The product ideas and knowledge we used to get from ads, is now being replaced by CGC – consumer generated content. Most people learn about new products from friends and social is the place to start.
Bazaarvoice found that by adding consumer reviews to product pages increased online engagement by 25-40% and conversion rates by as much as 6%. Kiss Metrics did a study that found display ads with consumer content had triple the click rate and half the cost per conversion compared to ads with just branded content.
Forrester Research estimates brands are spending an average of 8% of their marketing budget on content marketing with 1 in 2 brands increasing its investment by 20% or more. The 2018 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends Report by the Content Marketing Institute highlights what is holding B to C marketers back:
Lack of Strategy (49%), Not enough time (48%), Content creation challenges (37%).
For brands and agencies alike, that the biggest and least exploited group of influencers are not the social-media megastars but everyday people; seeking to fulfill the same fundamental human need for community and support they always have done. For those businesses that successfully curate and empower this talent, the creative potential is seemingly endless.
We are seeing a major shift from broadcasting a line to engaging in a conversation. This demands a shift in strategy for brands. This trend is being exacerbated by the drive toward raw imagery and video, which has become core for brands that see authenticity as a shortcut to building trust among cynical consumers.
Victoria Foster, commercial director of digital at media company Bauer Media
There are three different types of influencers. They are:
1. Celebrities, or those paid to endorse a product
2. Category Influencers, usually paid to share their expertise in a category to online followers
3. Everyday Influencers, people in every part of the community surrounding you in-person and online
Each group offers unique strengths and applications for a brand. While anyone is and can be a very effective everyday influencer, some people are just plain better at it than others. It’s far easier with a community of enthusiastic and social savvy consumers who are active shoppers in certain categories, love to share, have a lot of friends and followers, and know what people want to know about a product.
The most credible advertising comes straight from the people we know and trust
Trust is the most important factor in purchase decisions. Trust drives results. In study after study, year after year, the people we know and those just like us online — are who we trust when making purchase decisions.
One firm that most refer to when measuring trust is Deloitte. Their trust and Digital Democracy studies are referenced throughout media when quantifying trust across different types of sources. It’s clear in all their reports that Everyday Influencers — people we know and reviews by others online — are far more meaningful and influential than anything a brand has to say. The takeaway here is clear. People, real, everyday people, may be the most important part of your marketing strategy.
Of the brands that used influencer marketing during 2018, 92% found it to be effective. According to Linqia’s report, The State of Influencer Marketing 2018, half of respondents said that influencer content outperformed brand-created content.
Influencer marketing continues to make a cross-channel impact, and marketers are seeing influencer content consistently outperform brand-generated content. To perfect their strategies and ensure the utmost ROI, most marketers are engaging turn-key solutions, agencies or other providers on some level — and, they plan to continue this trend into 2018.
Everyday influencers are brands’ and retailers’ most powerful form of communications. When passionate consumers talk about an experience, tell stories and demonstrate their support, it creates a groundswell of earned media. These influential voices are trusted and authentic, attract new customers, build your brand, and drive sales.
As Facebook decides to favor content from friends and family over posts from (certain) publishers, agency buyers are telling clients to focus more on influencer content.
Organically speaking, influencers rank better than brands in the news feed, and deprioritizing news can be favorable for influencers. And the new algorithm is expected to mostly punish clickbait-style language, which means brands will need to make meaningful and “authentic” content, which creates room for more influencer partnerships.
Influencers tend to have higher user engagement than content generated by brands. The average influencer engagement rate across industry verticals is 5.7%. As a comparison, the average engagement rate for brands on Instagram has fluctuated between 2-3% in the past year.
With a structured approach, use of the Everyday Influencer can be planned, optimized and measured to build your brand over the long-term. Expect to see a considerable portion of marketing budgets allocated to influencers this year as it becomes an always-on strategy. In fact, 59% of marketers intend to increase their influencer marketing budget this year.
Everyday influencers are spreading high-quality content, reviews and personal experiences that influence purchases. Engaging brand experiences paired with custom social activities, including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and offline sharing, stimulate the creation of authentic content. Everyday influencers are so effective because they involve real people, sharing their photos, videos and personal experiences with a product.
So what is the solution? Tapping content created by your customers and everyday influencers to power your brand’s content marketing.