Influencers

How to Use Influencers to Grow Your Brand and Open New Markets

“To create one contagious movement, you often have to create many small movements first.” The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell, [Influencers]

An influencer is a person who has the power to influence many people through social or traditional media in a specific sector. Their abilities to persuade others through their authenticity and reach, to a large audience, can be very lucrative both for the influencer and companies looking to collaborate with them so influencer marketing has become a key part of brand strategy and marketing campaigns today because they get your brand’s message to your audience on your behalf very effectively.

In this article we’re going to uncover why and how marketers are incorporating the use of influencers in their brand strategy. “A 2017 survey by the Association of National Advertisers found that three-quarters of US advertisers employ influencer marketing, with the discipline expected to grow further in 2018.” [1]

Not only do they correlate with customer behaviour and purchase decisions, it also creates a halo effect that customers admire over any other advert. Google stated that “70% of teenage YouTube subscribers say they relate to YouTube creators more than traditional celebrities .” [2]The research also suggested that because Millennials spend more time watching online video, YouTube creators have officially become more influential than typical celebrities.

In the past, it wasn’t obvious how we measured the extent of someone’s network, but since the exponential rise of social media use, the concept of word of mouth has entered a new dimension. Check out how Forbes explains what a social media influencer is in the video below.

When evaluating which influencers you want to leverage in your brand strategy, it’s essential to understand the different types of influencers that exist as well as the unique characteristics that differentiate them.

Here we’re focussing on three types of influencers you need to consider when you plan your next brand collaboration deal:

  1. Mega-Influencers
  2. Emerging Voices and Rising Stars
  3. Micro-Influencers

Mega Influencers and Trailblazers

A mega influencer is your typical A-list celebrity that has 20+million followers on their social media page. These people are what we call your traditional celebrities and can vary from famous movie stars, authors or sports personalities. They are considered offline celebrities who don’t need to share their latest tweet or blog post with us. In other words, they gained their share of fame from an extraordinary talent, and possess an inability to avoid harassment from paparazzi during their morning commute.

Related: How To Use Brand Ambassadors To Open New Revenue Channels

The challenge new businesses face with this influencer type is the sheer size of the investment needed because a mega influencer like David Beckham will require a substantial outlay if you want him to endorse your brand. According to Forbes  “David Beckham in his first year of retirement posted the highest endorsement earnings of his career, equating to $75 million.”[3]

Before you consider using a mega influencer in your marketing strategy, it’s important to evaluate how much of an impact they will ultimately have on your return on investment.  Ask yourself if they share the same values as your brand? The last thing you want is a scandalous #metoo rumour hitting the front page of the Sunday Times.

Emerging Voices and Rising Star Influencers

The emerging voices and rising stars have between 1 million and 19 million followers. They bring a new dimension of influencer to the table because of their success on their carefully chosen social media channel.


Influencers

Image via Lilly Singh on YouTube


Their reach makes a great business case for many brands because of the sheer size of the audience they influence that you in turn could benefit from when partnering with them.

Influencers

Bic and Crayola, recently used the audience reach of Canadian-Indian YouTube star Lilly Singh who is widely known as IISuperwomanII to promote their products in the very lucrative$27.6 billion dollar”[5]  back to school season. Checkout the YouTube video below.

Micro-Influencers

The birth of Social media has opened the door to an entirely new type of maven known as the Micro-Influencer. This type of tastemaker has anywhere between 10k to 999k followers. These individuals are not only less expensive but they “often have far greater engagement with their audience and can impact attitudinal and behavioural change.


Influencers

Image via Kiss Blush and Tell, Tori Tatham


Tori Tatham, founder of Kiss Blush & Tell,  is often swaying customers to use beauty products such as Clinique and Neutrogena, to drive purchase behaviour. Utilising Micro-Influencers can be hugely beneficial when penetrating an existing market. People often respond well to an honest opinion from someone whom they relate or aspire too. The same strategy can also apply to a lean start-up, especially when you seek validation from customers you genuinely believe are your target market. When deciding who to partner with, make sure they tie into your own brand story.

Related: Brand Stories: 5 Compelling Examples That Sell Themselves

We know that sometimes it’s a struggle to develop your brand strategy, particularly if you want to work with social influencers because you need to use your brand strategy to evaluate the best social influencer fit with your brand in order to achieve the greatest return on investment. So we’ve developed three different ways of working with us to help you build your brand successfully. So depending on your preferences:

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  3. Want a DIY solution? Check out our ‘How to Audit Your Brand’ eprogramme here and ‘How to Build a Brand’ eprogramme here

Get in touch because we lead you through your brand building journey, whether you’re a well-established business hungry to seriously accelerate your expansion and take things to the next level or in the early years of rapid growth spurts.  

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Specialist Influencers Can Help Brands Reach New Customers


Because of the increase of advert blocking technology and consumer dissonance towards invasive advertising specialist influencers can help brands acquire new customers in more markets more effectively.


If you conduct the right research, you’ll often find a pool of micro-influencers who share anywhere between 10,000  to 1 million + followers on their social media pages. These are the Maverick influencers that can cause a positive correlation between advertising expenditure and sales.

Related: Strategic Brand Partnerships: Does My Brand Look Big in This?

The reason influencers have such a profound impact on growing your brand is because it sparks both online and offline conversations. As a company, you need to identify the personalities that resonate with your brand vision and brand values to help trigger the desired action you are seeking. As stated by Fullscreen Media “find the sweet spot where it overlaps with your brand objectives.”[7]

Related: How to Use Brand Values to Drive Unwavering Customer Trust and Commitment

When you get the right people using your product or service, people tend to share their new found knowledge with others for social gratification. However, when you navigate your selection process, we always encourage our clients to consider basic engagement levels (Likes and comments) when selecting the right influencer.

The New York Times  shared some alarming facts about Facebook users amid the Fake News saga, stating how “Facebook disclosed to investors that it had at least twice as many fake users as it previously estimated, indicating that up to 60 million automated accounts may roam the world’s largest social media platform.”[6]


Influencers

Image via The New York Times


Transparency and Ethics When Working With Influencers

In addition to the fake news articles that are out there, you also need to think about the ethical consequences of your brand reputation. Warc  said that “All influencer content related to a brand should be explicit and clear on the relationship between the two parties to avoid complaints to regulatory authorities.[2] The use of hashtags such #Ad or #Sponsored is an easy way to mitigate against any risk or uncertainty you believe may negatively impact your brand purpose.

Related: Brand Disruption as a Business Framework for Future Growth

Digital Creator Influencers More Likely to Impact Millennials

Influencers with the largest audience are not necessarily the best strategy for your brand when targeting Millennials. A leading social media analytics company Shareablee teamed up with Fullscreen Media to make sense of which type of influencer has a greater  impact on this generation. They studied 31,802 influencers and surveyed 1200 individuals aged 18 – 34 who were not only exposed to branded content but interacted with it by clicking on what they saw. The results were truly astounding.

Millennials are more likely to trust branded content that comes from a digital creator i.e. Micro Influencers and Emerging Voices and Rising Stars over celebrities. “Digital Creators actually give brands a positive halo effect when they partner together.”[7]  Out of the people surveyed 58% said that they were more likely to trust them because they feel a sense of connection with them.

Emerging Voices are also more likely to influence purchase behaviour in the sales funnel and this could be a direct correlation to the engagement levels which varies anywhere between 50% – 88% higher than celebrities. Micro Influencers obviously got the least amount of engagement because they’ve yet to instill the trust they hope to one day achieve. Remember people only buy when they trust the brand and in this case that’s the influencer collaborating with the brand.

Want to discover more about building your standout, №1 powerhouse, premium priced brand working with us so you can increase your profits and leave your competitors way behind?

  1. Schedule an appointment — we can meet in person or online
  2. Allow us to create a customised plan for you
  3. Let’s implement the plan together  
  4. Contact us brand@personadesign.ie or ring +353 1 8322724 (GMT Dublin/London time 9:00 – 17:30 weekdays)

Influencers

“The Light Side Of Life” – Influencers


So now you understand the different types of influencers, as well as the impact they have on behaviours and shaping the way people engage with brands. To give you another reference, here we want to share the story of our beloved Maltesers entering the US market.


Influencers

Image via © Mars, Maltesers

Although the Mars brand was very successful in the UK, Australia and Canada they were completely unknown in the US. To gain exposure to this market they decided to use influencers to tap into their main target demographic – US Teens.

Related: Boring Brand? How To Create a Unique Brand and Market Positioning

They created a three and a half minute music video, by partnering with some emerging voices and rising stars. An important thing to note is how careful they were about aligning  brand positioning with heartfelt brand personalities. Checkout the YouTube video below on how they executed campaign that generated 3.2 million views in the first four weeks.

How B2B Brands Can Leverage Influencers

Now I’m sure you can see the endless possibilities B2C brands can use to get the most ROI on their advertising spend, but I’m sure you’re also wondering what B2B companies can do. According to Forbes, the best approach is to make use of super connectors e.g. “people who advise or provide services to your prospects.” [7 ]  If you can establish trust in them, they will inevitably return the favour. Business is all about relationships and you have to nurture them over time so they will stick by you when competitors try poach them.

Related: Use Psychology in Your Brand Strategy to Create Irresistible Brand Experiences and Increase Sales

Another strategy you can implement as a brand is by creating employee advocacy. As stated by Entrepreneur  “no one understands your products or services better than the people who are being paid to sell them. [8]

Related: The Age Of Internal Branding And Selling It From The Inside Out

IBM is an excellent example of a company who has successfully implemented this strategy. They educate potential customers through their Big Data podcast and drove 50,000 new registrations to IBM Verse through employee advocacy. When considering using influencer marketing, it is also advisable to use video marketing because studies show it makes your content a lot more engaging so a more effective way to attract and maintain your audience.

The video below from IBM illustrates how they’re using their employees to influence buying decisions.

Merck Influencer Growth Through #Catchcurious

Merck, a B2B pharmaceutical company, used influencer marketing after their PR agency discovered a critical insight where only 20% of people see themselves as curious. They decided to use influencers such as curiosity expert Dr. Carl Naughton, Oxford Ph.D. Biologist and Youtuber Ines Dawson to talk about curiosity and invited users to crack the code.

Influencers

Image ©Merck KGaA via German Design Awards

The campaign made use  of articles, feature films, interactive infographics, and regular interviews with leading curiosity experts to complete a responsive, multilingual campaign site.

The marketing campaign went on to win many awards and was considered a thought-provoking success. According to Warc “Much of the campaign’s success can be attributed to its focus on interaction and influencer partnerships, which helped spread the message to audiences in 67 countries”[10], generating the following results:

  • 400 million digital ad impressions
  • 23 million video views
  • 5.5 million likes, comments, shares

Want to discover more about building your standout, №1 powerhouse, premium priced brand working with us so you can increase your profits and leave your competitors way behind?

  1. Schedule an appointment — we can meet in person or online
  2. Allow us to create a customised plan for you
  3. Let’s implement the plan together  
  4. Contact us brand@personadesign.ie or ring +353 1 8322724 (GMT Dublin/London time 9:00 – 17:30 weekdays)

Final Word


Although the strategies vary between B2B and B2C influencer marketing techniques, the method of bringing your campaign to life through social media remains constant so carefully evaluate which social channels will have the most relevance and impact on your audience.


You can invigorate your brand equity and drive sales through the use of various influencer types as long as they are in line with your brand values. Whether you are a B2B, B2C, a startup or an established fortune 500 company, you need to add influencers to your marketing strategy because research suggests it’s far more impactful for driving behavioural change and engaging your target audience meaningfully — all of which gets results.

A final cautionary note, as you research, identify and evaluate influencers to potentially partner with remember to consider ethical issues too because you want to avoid negative sentiment or unintended kick-back from your ideal audience whom you want to influence positively to grow your brand.

Questions to Consider

  1. Have you identified influencers that resonate with your brand story?
  2. Do these influencers have the right audience that meet your target market requirements?
  3. Is there an emotional connection your customers will have to ensure a compelling case is made to adopt your product or service?
  4. Have you aligned your content strategy with influencer marketing?
  5. Are your employees aware of the power of influencer marketing and how can you leverage their expertise to drive customer adoption?

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Get in touch today because we’d love to get started helping you build your standout, powerhouse brand so you can increase your profits and leave your competitors way behind. Email us brand@personadesign.ie or ring us +35318322724 (GMT 9:00-17:30) and ask about our VIP Brand Strategy Discovery.

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References


[1]https://www.warc.com/content/paywall/article/bestprac/what_we_know_about_influencer_marketing/111564

[2] https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/youtube-stars-influence/

[3]https://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2015/03/11/david-beckham-banks-his-bigger-year-ever-with-earnings-of-75-million/1#6dbccf935775

[4]http://www.kissblushandtell.co.za/

[5]https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/consumer-business/articles/back-to-school-survey.html

[6]https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/01/27/technology/social-media-bots.html?mtrref=digiday.com

[7]https://fullscreenmedia.co/2018/03/27/influence-numbers-lowdown-whos-really-influential-online/

[8]https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2018/04/13/the-need-for-super-influencer-marketing-in-complex-b2b-industries/

[9] https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/292944

[10]https://www.warc.com/content/paywall/article/sabre-awards/catchcurious_for_merck/1219