Growing up in Cleveland, the influencers in my neighborhood were local business owners, working-class political advocates and musicians.
But it’s 2017, the world of influencer marketing has exploded. What makes an influencer — a big following, being relatable and able to make us laugh – or cry. The only difference is the platform – social media, especially Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.
Since 2010, every major brand has experimented with reaching millennials via influencers, including YouTube stars and other celebrities.
According to a recent study by Linquia, 86% of marketers used influencer marketing in 2016, with content being the top driver.
Of the marketers who used influencer marketing in 2016, 89% of marketers did so to create authentic content about their brand; 77% used influencer marketing to drive engagement around their brand; and 56% used the channel to drive traffic to their websites or landing pages.
But did they really reach the targeted audience in the influencer-marketing space? It’s hard to tell because many brands have a one-and-done approach and don’t make a commitment to the space and the platforms over the long haul.
Metrics on influencer success vary with many brands using different KPIs, such as brand lift, positive engagements against branded content, new followers to brands’ social platforms, etc.
Let’s take a look at Facebook as a forum for influencers.
Unlike other advertising channels, Facebook is most effective at reaching younger demographics that may not trust or even view traditional advertising.
Most Facebook loyalists check their pages anywhere from five to 10 times per day. From cord-cutting to the spike of mobile phone video viewing, most millennials are not watching linear TV to view the latest ads spun out by Madison Avenue.
So where does that leave big brands?
Here are three points to consider when working with influencers. Influencer marketing allows you to try new things at a low cost and with low risk. Second, persistence pays off. A company would not run one TV spot and call it a day.
The influencer-marketing space is no different. And last, experimentation is necessary. This is your opportunity to test something out. You know immediately (views, clicks and shares) if you are successful. If not, keep going, but tweak and adjust.
But it’s important to answer a few questions: Who owns the influencer strategy — advertising, PR or the creative team? The answer: all three. How do I find the right influencer for your brand? Test, monitor, test, monitor, and then double down on what works and repeat. You won’t get this without continuity.
To take it a step further, for an influencer’s video to be effective it must hit certain passion points. First, it should be funny. This is not the format for heavy messages, but a chance to make people laugh. Second, it must be relatable. Resonate with consumers using real-life experiences in real environments. Finally, emotional is good!
An influencer’s job should help your audience feel something about your product, and the way to do that is to pull on heartstrings.
But what if the goal is to reach Latino audiences? Influencers should take it one step further and reach another set of secondary passion points. Those range from family and relationships to nostalgia, culture, food and sports.
A note about cultural relevance: U.S. Hispanics have the best of both worlds and embrace it. But what many brands get wrong is that this is not just about language. Being culturally relevant is much more important than being in Spanish.
Further, Latinos are not monolithic — they are multigenerational, from a broad diversity of backgrounds. Pew found six in 10 Hispanics are millennials or younger. And the millennial generation, which is now larger than the baby boomers, is the most diverse yet, with over 44% being part of a minority race or ethnic group, per the U.S. Census.
Remember, there is a lot of noise about social media and influencer marketing. How can you break through? First and foremost, create an authentic experience and put your consumers, not your product, first.
While that may sound counter-intuitive, it’s the surest way to drive real engagement and ultimately get traction for your product.