Marketers use email newsletters to influence people. But do they really have to hire “influencers” to do that?
This subject has been examined — sort of — in a survey of 100 U.S. marketing pros by Bloglovin’. First, the study defines influencers. They’re pundits who have spent “years growing their readership,” Bloglovin’ writes. “They know what products and types of content their audiences enjoy best.”
Okay. But does it work?
Of the parties surveyed, 71% feel influencer marketing is a great way to grow awareness on social media platforms. In addition, 67% say influencer campaigns help them reach a more targeted audience, and 61% feel that they help in content creation. What’s more, 63% have increased their influencer marketing budgets for 2017.
So let’s say you plan to delve into this practice. Many other good things will happen if you believe these findings.
Overall, 76% pursue influencer marketing to grow brand awareness. And 71% do it to reach new audiences. Going down the list, 53% pursue this to generate sales, 49% to have content created by influences, 47% to increase site traffic, and 31% to drive SEO value for their brands.
Granted, there is scarcely a mention of email in this report: While social is the primary channel, you can only infer that people use email from the fact that three-fourths utilize at least three platforms. But the findings bear consideration for someone in charge of email content.
Let’s say you send an email newsletter. You may feature articles by influencers, or link to them in your social media channels. Even if you don’t hire an influencer directly, you might link to them in your daily or weekly curation. So what should you look for in an influencer?
The respondents to this survey look for the quality and authenticity of content (75%), the size of the following (70%), engagement (64%) and the cost of the influencer (56%).
And 53% consider the “aesthetic.” What does that mean? We’d say it describes the tone and style of the writer — an important factor, whether you know it or not. Some readers can tell that Seth Godin is the author without even seeing his byline. That’s what we call a successful author. But even without that, people don’t have time to wade through turgid copy, a particular vice in B2B.
Where do you find good influencers — in a bar? Just joking. The survey determined that 59% reach out to them directly, and 35% say the influencers reach out to them. Another 34% rely on influencer marketing platforms, and 27% on two or more of these methods. In addition, 21% consult media companies or publishers, and 17% go to talent manage companies.
How do influencer marketers reuse this content? Well, 74% repurpose it on their own social channels. Another 46% do so on their own Web sites. In addition, 36% recycle it in paid ads in social media, and 20% on other digital media sites. Finally, 14% use it for programmatic content in advertising ads.
Now let’s talk money. Overall, influencer campaigns appear to be pretty cheap. Of those surveyed, 36% say the average spend is under $5k. And 24% report it’s under $10k. Only 6% shell out from $75k o $100k, and 8$ from $50k to $75.
What’s more, Bloglovin’ found that a mere 8% devote 30%-40% of their budgets to this discipline. And the same percentage allocates 20%-30% to it. Overall, the majority is spending less than 5%.
Others can weigh in on whether this constitutes a hot trend. If there’s one problem with this study, though, it’s that it does not explore the obstacles to influencer marketing. Why do marketers shy away from it, or not do it well?
Keep in mind — always — that you need to make full disclosure if you’re paying someone to simply pitch your product; otherwise, you’ll have the FTC on your tail And it doesn't matter if the payment is in money or favor.
We agree that influencer marketing works. For some firms, it may be better to develop in-house writing talent. In B2B, you can publish eBooks, white papers and other content under the bylines of your experts, even if the material has to be ghostwritten. Sure, you can do this in tandem with an influencer campaign. But it also works well on its own. It will brand you as a trusted source — a place where people go for information on your product or service area.
Now that’s influence.