By Dee Nuncio, Sr. Director, Strategy & Social, NOBOX, Miami, FL
If you work in social media marketing, you know the use of influencer marketing among brands is rising. But just in case you wanted some stats to back up that gut feeling, here are some interesting findings I’ve noted recently: Every week, 65 percent of people discover new brands or products through influencers and nearly a third of consumers are recommending influencers to friends and family; the Influencer marketing industry overall increased from $1.7 billion to a whopping $13.8 billion dollar in the last five years; and that over 90 percent of consumers engage influencers on a weekly basis via Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and Snapchat.
Clearly, everyone is talking about influencer marketing versus micro-influencers, but the real question brands should be considering is not about their influencer marketing plan, but their lack of an influential marketing plan. They’re not the same, and you need both.
The distinction between influencer and influential marketing is a key one, and why it’s important to tap into both. ‘Influencers’ are content creators usually with a specific niche, whereas ‘Influentials’ have grown their following by being passionate about a topic. Influentials can be experts in a particular field or not, but bring a level of authenticity that consumers believe.
Using both help brands address two important issues points pertaining to social media marketing: One, the current stigma around the authenticity of influencers and questions about whether they actually use the product or it’s just business as usual for influencers; and two, the quality of content.
Influencers are often creatively/technically savvy and can produce a certain look and feel. The mix of these two is what allows for more of a genuine and engaging tone to influencer content as part of a larger marketing campaign.
What also makes an ‘influential’ more effective than an ‘influencer’ is their willingness to co-create with brands and add to the creative equation, rather than just share forward.
However, for brands to fully reap the untold hidden benefits within influential marketing, here are some best practices to help brands marry influencers and influentials:
- Base your influencer selection on an individual’s actual ability to influence. While this may sound overly simplistic, by analyzing a brand’s social media conversation you can pinpoint the influencers that have the greatest ability to spread branded conversations.
- Use of data (i.e. social listening) to visualize the impact of a campaign in a measurable way and extract greater value and maximize trust and reach within a given budget.
- Analyze the data through a strategic lens that is agile enough to adjust if something is not working.
- Amplify messages by tapping into an ‘influentials’ base with a combination of paid and organic content that boosts engagement. Activate the hidden power within your influentials’ feed with regular postings on several distinct creative activations; introducing variety and frequency to the partnership. Also by boosting posts to further optimize reach and platform/audience relevance, the added variety and frequency will make for even greater success.
There’s a new way to look at influencer marketing that we see in the data, and it starts with recognizing the difference between ‘influentials’ and ‘influencers. It’s a distinction that will make a difference in the success of your social marketing efforts.
About the Author
Dee Nuncio is the Sr. Director, Strategy & Social for social media agency NOBOX, Miami, FL