More than just prominent testimonials
When marketing their products, companies are relying less and less on classic advertising ambassadors, because these are being replaced by Internet personalities with thousands of followers on social network sites. And why shouldn’t they? A post in a social network like Instagram can reach large audiences in a very short amount of time and increase brand awareness much more effectively.
So-called influencers are a phenomenon that has only existed since the emergence of social networks. According to the Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft (BVDW, 2017), influencers are persons who, due to their media presence and their popularity in various social platforms, also offer advertising services and can act as brand ambassadors. According to the latest studies and surveys, using influencers is one of the most important trends in digital marketing at the moment.
These Internet personalities have an important advantage, because they already have a followership built up over many years, which they can reach more easily through authentic communication than an impersonal advertising ambassador. In contrast to those ambassadors, influencers can influence the opinion of many people directly on their own blogs and social media channels. They have the trust of their followers and can thus act as “experts” giving assessments, recommendations and tips. This is precisely why they are becoming more and more interesting for companies to advertise their products with. Influencers are not necessarily just prominent testimonials, but can take on various functions.
Each of the three groups offers lucrative advantages for a company. Regardless of the influencer’s age or channel, they reach their target groups optimally. When choosing the right influencer for your company, you should therefore pay attention to the digital reach, the engagement rate, the number of followers and the opinion of the community. They provide an assessment of the size of the Internet personality (Figure 2). In addition, these criteria also have a significant influence on how much has to be paid for the use of the influencers, which ranges are realistically possible and which potential effects can be achieved through social media marketing.
Before a company chooses an influencer, it should ask itself several questions:
- What marketing goals should be achieved and how much budget is available? And are these goals best achieved through social media marketing?
These questions clarify whether it is the best strategic decision for the company to rely on influencers for its marketing. Just because it’s a current trend doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right decision. For example, if you want to reach a slightly older target group that isn’t social media adept, a campaign via classic channels might be more effective.
- Is the planned marketing measure a one-off campaign or should it be permanent?
- Which influencers can be considered as relevant candidates to promote the company or product?
It is important to know which image and which values the person represents and whether it matches with the corporate philosophy. A broad reach alone does not guarantee success if the influencer has a negative opinion of the product or the company and has already communicated this publicly. Any advertising of the product done by this person would be unconvincing.
In order to find the ideal partner for your own enterprise, there are several online Tools – for example the so-called “Likometer”. It enables companies to find the right candidate through various screening parameters, selection criteria and filter options. For example, it is possible to search specifically for different regions or various topics.
This and similar tools make the search for suitable partners considerably easier, as the right advertising ambassador can be found in a relatively short time and above all without any financial resources. This could be an opportunity, especially for smaller companies, to find regional partners.
- How is the use of an influencer financed or what budget must be planned?
Since not all influencers are the same, there are different price categories depending on the size and range of the influencer. It is logical that if you want to use Internet personalities with a larger reach, you have to be prepared to pay higher fees and provide products free of charge, be it for competitions or for the influencer himself. It should be clear right at the planning stage what budget you are going to allocate for social media marketing and whether you are going to allocate the entire budget to a larger channel or several smaller ones.
Companies can benefit sustainably from working with influencers, for example by supporting customers’ willingness to buy, improving the image of products and services and raising the company’s profile. In addition, they reduce the scatter effects that can arise with classic marketing measures. Possible measures include, but are not limited to
Finally, it is important for every company to evaluate the measures in order to assess their success. The number of clicks, the number of comments or the general engagement rate, among other things, helps to determine that. Analytical tools such as Google Analytics can be used to determine additional information such as target group reach and growth rates. Participation in competitions can be measured directly using the Influencer.
With the development of modern means of communication, there are always new possibilities for marketing. So if you don’t want to be left behind, you have to keep up to date with current trends and adapt your marketing measures to the given circumstances.