Social Influencer Marketing on the Rise: New Research

Many businesses aren’t sure if influencer marketing is a fit for them, or even how to go about pursuing a relationship with potential influencers. With authenticity being such an important part of a company’s brand image on social media, marketing departments are turning to trusted online personas to get their products and messages out to the consumer. Takeaway Marketers are having to get more creative for their messages to be seen by consumers. Often one of the first factors companies look for when finding social influencers is how large their audience is. The same study by TapInfluence and Altimeter Group also found that using social influencers for ongoing ambassadorships is the most effective marketing tactic, according to nearly 71% of the 102 marketers surveyed. Product reviews came in second with 66.7% of the respondents finding them worthwhile. If your social influencer does not have a strong, loyal following on the social network where your target audience is found, your strategy won’t be as successful as it could be. In fact, 75% of respondents in the Chute and Thuzio 360 study stated they haven’t implemented social influencers in their social media marketing because they don’t know how to start such a program. It’s no different with social influencer marketing. In fact, 80% of the marketers surveyed for the August 2016 Chute and Thuzio 360 study said that measuring ROI is an aspect of influencer marketing that needs improvement.

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Is your company considering influencer marketing?

Wondering how social influencers might fit into your overall marketing strategy?

Many businesses aren’t sure if influencer marketing is a fit for them, or even how to go about pursuing a relationship with potential influencers.

In this article, you’ll discover why social influencer marketing is useful, where brands are running influencer campaigns, and which tactics are most successful.

Social Influencer Marketing on the Rise: New Research by Michelle Krasniak on Social Media Examiner.
Social Influencer Marketing on the Rise: New Research by Michelle Krasniak on Social Media Examiner.

#1: Social Influencer Marketing Campaigns Are on the Rise

According to the 2016 Influencer Marketing Report released by Chute (a user-generated content marketing solution) and Thuzio 360 (a social influencer procurement platform), 66% of the more than 200 marketing professionals surveyed used social influencers as part of their marketing strategies in 2016.

Of these, 80% report doing so because they want to reach different audiences on social networks and 70% want to reach smaller niche audiences that brands sometimes have trouble identifying and connecting with. Looking ahead, 40% of respondents not currently using social influencers plan on implementing a strategy in 2017.

Reaching new audiences isn’t the only reason social media marketers are turning to influencers for help, however.

In their February 2016 report, Influencer Marketing for U.S. Brands: The Platforms to Watch, and the Best Ways to Work with Creators, eMarketer found that one of the top reasons companies use social influencers is rising concerns about ad blocking and ad avoidance. This fact is bolstered by Omnicom Media Group‘s July 2016 study that showed 69.8 million Americans will use ad blockers in 2016, a rise of 34.4% from 2015.

This is where social influencers come into play. With authenticity being such an important part of a company’s brand image on social media, marketing departments are turning to trusted online personas to get their products and messages out to the consumer. After all, are you more likely to pay attention to a message from a real person, or a pop-up or pre-roll ad that keeps you from consuming the content you want?

Consumers are pushing back against invasive Internet advertising.
Consumers are pushing back against invasive Internet advertising.

Celebrities are often the first people thought of when discussing social influence; however, virtually anyone with a unique shtick can amass a large, loyal following that gives them social media influencer status.

Takeaway

Marketers are having to get more creative for their messages to be seen by consumers. In today’s crowded social network ad environment, that’s easier said than done. With the rise of programmatic buying, the competition for ad space is heating up and, depending on your industry, getting more expensive.

Using social influencers is a great way for companies to differentiate themselves. The influencers come with built-in audiences that marketers can tap into, saving some time and money typically spent on market research and audience targeting. The flipside of that coin, however, is that one of the biggest hurdles social media marketers report is identifying influencers to work with.

#2: Ongoing Influencer Ambassadorships Are the Most Effective Tactic

While brands often manually search for potential influencers to work with, doing so is a time-consuming process and doesn’t guarantee a good match. Often one of the first factors companies look for when finding social influencers is how large their audience is.

However, the February 2016 eMarketer.com survey found that an influencer’s engagement numbers are a better indicator of success than the size of his or her audience; specifically total reach, audience demographics, views and/or impressions, click-throughs, and the number of likes and comments on social media posts.

Instagram leads the pack when it comes to social influencer marketing.
Instagram leads the pack when it comes to social influencer marketing.

Having said that, engagement numbers depend on the social network being used. The Chute and Thuzio 360 study found that the overwhelming majority of marketers who use social influence marketing do so on Instagram (89%), while Facebook and…

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