It’s almost impossible to scroll through a marketing blog without reading about influencer marketing. But in today’s world, where everyone with a social media account wants to be an authority on one subject or another, It can be hard to know why it’s necessary and who to target. According to recent studies however, with the return on every dollar spent on influencer marketing as high as $6.50, it might be a worthy topic to look at in more detail if you’re wanting that extra push to market your products.
I’ve written previously about working with high profile YouTube creators, and the benefits of those partnerships, however social media and content creators own blogs are a whole new thing. We’re going to take a look on some of our favourite influencer marketing campaigns by brands and why we think they work well.
You may be used to seeing car adverts with a smiling family seated safely inside, or cruising down a beautiful mountain scene, however Mercedes-Benz, with their new campaign ‘MB Photo Pass’ are instead choosing to work with influencers to attract a younger demographic. Working with people running accounts with high levels of multi-platform engagement; Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and YouTube. One of the influencers is an Instagram famous account ‘Loki_the_wolfdog,’ their content isn’t the luxury vehicle stereotype advert, but shows Loki running across the Colorado landscape next to his owner, with a 360 degree video experience accompaniment showing the car and landscape though a wolf dog’s view.
With influencer marketing, it’s not just about getting the account with the most ‘likes’ or comments to feature your product, but to work with one that makes sense for your product. The partnership here is seamless, it’s been well integrated into the usual content produced on the account, which is reflected in the engagement. The posts are less of a blatant advertisement; the captions aren’t fawning over the car, and whilst it’s tagged in the caption, and the car is very visible, it’s main focus is still Loki and the events him and his owner are partaking in.
With the rise of ad-blocking software, brands are looking for ways around this; L’Oreal has begun to move the approach from advertising to being in the content itself. They have made deals for a host of influencers multi-platform; Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram. They no longer have to pay for banners or advertising space which are commonly removed from viewer’s sights by ad- blocking software.
Beauty is a world where influencers have always been present; if you ask people what Marilyn Monroe’s favourite perfume was, most will be able to tell you Chanel No. 5. In the decades between then and now, celebrity endorsements have declined in numbers, and whilst they still work, the influencer has a more authentic appeal to their cultivated audience. These influencers are normal people, and so the idea is, they’re easier to relate to and are more honest, than the days of Britney selling us Pepsi.
Zoella, a UK based vlogger and internet star, spoke about a product from The Body Shop, (owned by L’Oreal) an unpaid rave, which consequently saw, over the next 4 weeks, sales double for that product.
Cult Beauty is a website offering a huge range of beauty brands products, with 102 thousand followers on Instagram and 32.5 thousand on Twitter, they have high engagement across their social media platforms. The brand produced a box in collaboration with two well-known beauty bloggers; Vivianna and Lily Pebbles, who promoted the collaboration and sold out the box within days. The brand does this style of box with multiple bloggers; packing the box with full and smaller size samples of her favourite products in a ‘cult’ box. The bloggers get to work with a big brand to create their ideal box and sell the product, and for Cult Beauty, they are able to garner the attention of the bloggers audiences to come purchase the box on their site. Both parties are benefiting from working together as they promote their partnership, each other, and gain money from the sales.
Working with influencers is a way brands can immediately get a large captive audience they might not have themselves. Social followings take time to build up, so working with those who already have a following and know how to market to these people can be a benefit; influencers undoubtedly have immense reach. A campaign which combines a social cause and influencer marketing, such as that from Boxed Water, is a good move for both the influencer and for the brand; both are shown in a positive light as they look to benefit the environment. The campaign was that for every ‘#ReTree’ hashtag used on social media, they will plant two trees; a month after the campaign launched, more than 2,600 photos with the hashtags had been posted on Instagram alone.
The lesson learnt from this campaign is to work with influencers which will support your cause; if you can find those who believe in what you’re working towards and your message, they’ll often post their support for free so they can help promote a brand that is working to do something good.
Airbnb one of the quickest growing companies in the world, has turned the hotel industry upside down. The content marketing Airbnb uses is fluid; with branded content across multiple sites, with features such as ‘Wanderlust’ and ‘Neighborhoods.’ Airbnb’s main strategy is to make a traveler feel at home anywhere with their slogan ‘belong anywhere,’ they do this by putting stories behind their photos; a host’s favourite nearby cafe or bookshop, or re-posting photos of people staying in their accommodations and tagging them in the photos. With hosts offering their homes all over the world, there is no end to the content the site can produce; inspiring future trips from their 1.2 million followers on Instagram alone.
Airbnb, whilst being a go-to for a traveler looking for cheap accommodation, also boasts luxury homes, such as the one they provided for 19 year old Kylie Jenner’s birthday- free of charge. Though they gave Kylie the $8380 per night estate for free, with her social media posts achieving the engagement they do with 1.8m likes on one photo alone, and the amount of news articles written about her vacation- all with ‘Airbnb’ in the title, the return with publicity will be huge.
By the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is described as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience- and, ultimately, to drive a profitable customer action.” Today, almost all businesses are creating, or beginning to think about creating, valuable content which is relevant to their brand. But whilst content marketing is vital to a business in today’s competitive market; is influencer marketing?
With Instagram alone receiving over 300 million daily active users, is it enough for a brand to be promoting their own products through this medium? The answer is individual to a brand; the outlay is hefty for many influencers and small businesses may not have the budget. However for larger brands, who see an average return on investment of $6.85 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing, the investment seems like a no-brainer.