The end of Influencer Marketing (as we know it)
Influencer marketing doesn’t work.
That was the main conclusion a study by Entribe found that 81% of surveyed consumers did not consider influencer endorsements to impact their purchasing decisions, and in some cases, it had a negative effect.
Merely 12% of participants expressed a likelihood to buy a product endorsed by an influencer, and a significant 62% claimed they had never made such a purchase. Instead, their decision-making process was influenced by different factors. An overwhelming 90% of respondents preferred brands to showcase content from “real” customers, not influencers, and 86% expressed a greater inclination to trust brands that share user-generated content over influencer promotions.
While these may still be valid, and in certain product or service verticals, influencers may have reached a saturation point, there are still reasons why working with the right influencer can positively drive conversion.
The problem with Influencer Marketing
There is much ruckus about whether influencers still drive conversion, and let alone a lot of discourse on the constituents of what comprises an actual influencer. An audience? Engagement? Click-bait or hook-and-grab video techniques?
So much so that influencer content actually looks so ‘finished’, that it comes out more like an ad than real authentic content.
The entire reason to work with an influencer, as opposed to an in-house content team, is to add that influencer’s perspective, point of view, and expand a brand’s audience with the influencer’s audience. So having an ad-copy output defeats the purpose. A plethora of beauty brands and retailers across all verticals have seen more success in more raw, and authentic content. With Walmart, for instance, driving attention to specific product attributes, like our recent live with influencer Lola Marie sharing her beauty routine, in her own style, with Walmart, directly on their ecommerce site.Yes, the influencer was hired by the brand to host the session, but, she did pick the items she wanted to showcase based on her real individual experience, and created the entire content herself – no predetermined studio setting or scripted dialogues.
In order to enable influencer marketing to work effectively, here are a few key best practices that are best to keep in mind before selecting an influencer to partner with.
When collaborating with an influencer to promote your brand, who do you want to reach? Do you aim to target hundreds of thousands of followers with moderate interest? Or would you prefer a smaller, highly engaged audience who closely follows the influencer’s content?
Followers who are genuinely interested in an influencer’s content are more likely to like, comment, and engage with it, increasing the impact of branded content.
To assess engagement, you can calculate it manually, request an influencer’s media kit, or use an influencer marketing software. Engagement rates vary based on follower count, with nano and micro influencers often having higher rates due to their direct interaction and niche expertise. Particularly for livestreams, it is important that the influencer can hook and engage audiences, so much so as to literally jump out of the screen and drive conversion.
Vet the Audience
When choosing an influencer, assess their audience to ensure a match with your target market. Analyze demographics and interests, as well as psychographics. For instance, an influencer may have hundreds of thousands of followers, but only 20% are interested in beauty for a beauty campaign, or only 30% are based in the US for a national campaign, then this is clearly indicative of a campaign not working out since the influencer will never be able to drive conversion in these contexts.
A short checklist to keep in mind when vetting the audience::
- Follower size and reach/impressions to non-audiences
- Geographic location of followers
- Gender and other psychographic split of followers
- Followers interests and engagement with types of content
- Engagement (likes, views, comments) as a proportion of following
- Engagement with specific types of posts, especially if highlighting specific products
- Past partnerships with parallel or competing brands
- Historical growth of audience to deem if organic
Validate Relevance and Brand Fit
Would you buy vegan food from an influencer who is not 100% vegan?
Relevance is key, and while seemingly obvious, can be overlooked in the clout of follower count and overall popularity. If a vegan brand hires an influencer who is an avid meat eater or casual sport hunter, but occasionally likes to go vegan for a fad, it is evidently not a good fit. Or if a fragrance brand chooses an influencer who is not familiar with the science or glossary of fragrance notes, the issue is apparent.
Even if engagement and audiences fit the brand, a brand needs to see if the actual influencer, their value system and their overall way of living is aligned with the brand’s values. This is why sometimes a micro influencer may work better than a generalized macro influencer.
Keep on top of Content Trends
In the mid 2010s, when photos and perfectly edited pics with a backdrop that evoked envy were trending, all influencer content looked the same. If now, the more natural, uninhibited, Tiktok style ‘talking to your camera’ content is trending, making way for long-form content where transitions are getting tiring, an influencer should know this.
All good influencers who have a command over their content will inevitably be on top of content trends. In addition to the table stakes of content quality being stellar, and posting frequency being periodic.
As such, a smart influencer can make their content look like UGC in order to engage their audiences better, simply by marrying their authenticity with what they know can work in today’s social media climate.
Drive Home Authenticity
It truly and ultimately comes down to authenticity.
It is essential for brands to encourage creators to discuss specific details that hold significance for both the creators and their audience. This approach goes beyond focusing solely on what the brand considers important for a general audience. For sponsored posts, the influencers’ guidance should be helpful to their audience. The influencers may highlight why they’re promoting the brand’s products or services, perhaps in their own style, and position the brand in a way that is accessible to the audience due to their own love for it.
Livestreams as a Viable Option to Vet an Influencer
It is no surprise that Livestream has projected value of $57 billion by 2025.
In this format, influencers engage in unscripted and unrehearsed discussions, where authenticity and attention to detail take center stage.
Unlike popular pre-recorded video formats, the live aspect emphasizes the need for genuine and engaging conviction, similar to a traditional QVC-style salesperson. The testament to authenticity has never been more stark, and it’s exciting to see how this trend in marketing will test how successfully influencers can continue to drive home conversion for brands they work with.
Livestreams are particularly suited for the purpose of quite easily vetting an influencer, simply by the very nature of how influencers are demanded to showcase how they can drive conversion live and in-the-moment.
Co-Founder and CEO of buywith
Adi Ronen Almagor is the Co-Founder and CEO of buywith, a leading live shopping platform and creator marketplace for major brands and retailers globally. A seasoned Live commerce entrepreneur and leader, Adi is an expert in B2B2C digital marketing and e-commerce, with proven effectiveness in creating content creator marketplaces, and has been featured in Forbes, Glossy and WWD, and presented at numerous conferences worldwide on Livestream shopping.
Reviving Social Shopping: Insights from buywith Co-Founder and CEO Adi Ronenat The Lead Innovation Summit 202315/07/2023
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