This article by Collective Bias CCO/Co-founder, Amy Callahan, originally appeared on Huffington Post.
Influencer marketing: everyone’s talking about it, and over 59 percent of brands are spending money on it. The medium saw a massive uptick in searches last year because of its role in disrupting advertising, shaking up creative agencies, and causing brands, PR agencies and everyone in between to jump into the fray. After all, eMarketer reported that advertisers saw an average return of $6.85 in media value for every $1 spent on influencer campaigns. Studies have also shown that 92 percent of consumers trust recommendations from other people even individuals they don’t know over branded content. Social influencers are the bridge between brands and today’s hyper-connected, ad-shunning consumers. Let’s talk about some of the roles social influencers can play in solving common marketing challenges and how they can strengthen the trust between consumers and companies.
Launch new products
As much as 85 percent of new product launches in the CPG category fail each year, according to Nielsen. That percentage creeps even higher for the general market. With such a staggering failure rate, how are brands to overcome this?
Utilize influencer-crafted content showcasing the new products and how everyday people use them. Consumers will be more motivated to try new products when they can see how people like them are using the products to make their lives better, easier, more entertaining, etc.
Proctor and Gamble brought this insight to life when launching their Swiffer Sweep & Trap product. The home goods giant invited popular mom bloggers to their “Make Meaning” launch party where the moms and their kids could go wild on arts and crafts, then use the new Swiffer product to clean up the aftermath. Moms snapped photos throughout the launch event and shared their experiences with their online followers. According to Hubspot, 71 percent of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on a social media reference. This goes to show: Wouldn’t you rather purchase something when you can see how well it works beforehand by someone you trust?
Avoid de-listing threats and revive products
Influencer content is not just a launch pad for new products; it can also be the saving grace of well-established brands at risk of being de-listed. When it comes to creating content involving a brand, an influencer’s true beauty lies in his or her ability to tell stories. Enlisting influencers to spin a lagging product back into the forefront of consumers’ minds is the key to avoid being de-listed. Sometimes, retailers put a brand on notice prior to de-listing and give them one final chance to prove a product’s value. This is where influencers can come in and bring the product back to life through new and unexpected uses.
Collective Bias worked with Mars to activate influential bloggers to help bring Crispy M&Ms (which were once a frenzy in the 90s) back to its heyday status with the “Crispy is Back” campaign. Influencers created compelling content and recipes that drove traffic to a featured landing page on the Mars brand site. A Twitter Party “thrown” as part of the revival campaign made the product a trending topic in the U.S.
Bolster charity campaigns
Influencer content is not just for helping accomplish traditional KPIs. Integrating influencers into charity amplifications brings another layer of authenticity to a brand’s efforts to impact both charities and sales. This is an area that influencers truly love. If the fit is right for their personal brand, a partnership serves as a great way for them to show their civic spirit. With the influential mom, studies have shown having children of their own makes them take a closer look at the world their child lives in, so they love supporting brands who their corporate responsibility and give back. Indeed, wielding the online reach of influencers to get the word out about a worthy cause is truly social good.
Earlier this year, The American Red Cross launched their “2Steps2Minutes” campaign to spread awareness about the two steps people must follow to escape a home fire. Several social influencers were integrated into the campaign to spread the message through digital and video content to their thousands of followers.
Extend the life of in-store demos and events
When thinking of in-store demos, it’s easy to picture an uninspired employee manning a booth with sample cups of food or drinks and little else. When utilized in the right ways, demos can be a great way to get consumers to trial and purchase your product. A study by Arbitron said more than 30 percent of customers who tried samples during a demo said they bought the product during the same shopping trip. When influencers attend (and post about) your demo, it gives your brand social exposure as well as more bang for your buck because they will extend the life of the demo through their content. Additionally, shoppers are 29 percent more likely to purchase on the same day that they used social media to assist them in their shopping endeavors, according to a Deloitte report.
Final note: Social influencers are not one-hit wonders; the number of roles they can play along the path to purchase is truly impactful. From launching new products to saving on-the-cusp items, influencer content is unique because of its ability to tell an authentic story for just about any product or campaign. Read up on resources to learn how to tell stories that matter. Videos, storytelling, recipes, tips, tricks, tutorials…whatever the type of content, it has the ability to captivate consumers while resonating with them on a personal level. The marketplace is consumer-driven, and influencer marketing is truly of consumers, by consumers, for consumers. Now, isn’t that a match made in heaven?