Influencer marketing is a big advertising tool that surpassed $1 billion last year and is predicted to continue its upward creep to 1.6 billion in 2018 (as per MediaKix). One research shows that 37% of the polled social media users bought something an influencer recommended, according to Trinity McQueen research.
What prompted this buying behavior and how you can go about creating a good influencer ad? To help you optimize your advertising strategy, we’ve decided to gather opinions of marketing professionals on the subject.
Post by Instagram user shaaanxo, aka Shannon Harris, a YouTube beauty vlogger from New Zealand, 1.5 million followers. Note “Paid partnership with” disclaimer at the top and hashtag #ad in the caption, indicating the content is a paid advertisement
Offer organic content
“One of the most important elements of successful influencer marketing is making the collaboration as natural as possible,” explains Jessie Butner who heads up the Influencer Marketing campaigns at digital marketing agency Go Fish Digital.
“As a brand, you should seek to identify and work with influencers who are already a fan of your product or service,” she continues. “Inauthentic content loses many of the benefits of influencer marketing, especially the trust factor,” warns Butner. “Allow [influencers you work with] creative freedom so that they tailor the partnership to fit their audience,” she concludes.
“The reason why influencers have the sway that they do comes down to human to human connections based on credibility and trust,” reckons Emilie Tabor, Founder and CMO of Influencer Marketing Agency. “Which is why we’d much rather trust a recommendation from friend or peer than a traditional advertisement,” she explains.
Post by Instagram user kourtneykardash, aka Kourtney Kardashian, a reality TV star, 64.3 million followers
People like mindless scrolling down their Instagram feed, be it through the posts of the people they follow, a hashtag or the explore tab – it’s relaxing and a low-effort way to be entertained. If your content manages to entertain the user or otherwise bring value to their life, your ad can be very effective.
“People discover new products, or new uses for products, through influencers,” explains Jim Tobin, President at influencer marketing agency Carusele. “When someone feels they discovered something, they take greater interest in it and have better buying actions,” he adds. He notes “a powerful connection between the best influencer content and meaningful sales increases.”
Post by Instagram user lukasabbat, aka Luka Sabbat, an entrepreneur, 1.2 million followers
Make it true
“We’re not just taking pretty pictures of the item like a magazine ad. We show and describe our true experiences using the item,” shares with us influencer Lauryn Evarts, Creative Director behind lifestyle blog and book The Skinny Confidential. She echoes Jessie Butner in her call to allow creative freedom for influencers. “Using their tone of voice and the product how they desire is the best way to strengthen an influencer ad,” explains Evarts.
“If your brand’s values coincide with that of your partner influencer, the ad will have a native feel and be successful”, says Crello’s own Eugine Dychko, responsible for product marketing. “No matter the quality of your ad, an influencer pushing a product or service that goes against their previous messages will just read fake,” she concludes.
To make an ad more authentic, IMA’s Emilie Tabor suggests brands avoid placing logos in their influencer ads or using ‘copy pasted’ captions. Another tip – “images that feature people as opposed to product shots drive much higher engagement,” she shares.
Post by Instagram user lupitanyongo, aka Lupita Nyong’o, an Oscar-winning actress, 6 million followers
“Measure engagement of influencer’s audience with your ad by calculating engagement rate: divide the number of likes per post by the number of subscribers and multiply by 100,” advises Eugine Dychko.
“The more subscribers, the lower engagement rate, meaning that 10% engagement is achievable for micro-influencers but anyone with over 50 thousand followers is typically looking at about 2% engagement,” she adds. You can also use average engagement rate on influencer’s account as a metric to help you decide who to work with.
Post by Instagram user nickwooster, aka Nickelson Wooster, fashion industry professional, 749 thousand followers
At a glance
- Choose influencers who are in your industry, already using your product or share your values,
- Allow influencers creative freedom when presenting your product on their page,
- Influencer ads work when the influencer offers something new and useful,
- Don’t just consider the number of followers a social media influencer has, measure audience engagement.
Influencers provide entertainment and a sense of belonging to their followers, becoming an excellent vessel for well-researched and carefully thought out advertisement that you should definitely fit into your marketing strategy. Make sure to pick the right influencers and let them be honest and creative with your product for a truly authentic feel.