September 1, 2016
During a Luxury Daily webinar, executives from TapInfluence emphasized that social influencers have a dramatic effect compared to traditional advertisements, but marketers should value transparency, authenticity and audience targeting.
During the Aug. 31 webinar, "10 Key Influencer Marketing Predictions," the executives explained that celebrities, bloggers and other individuals on social media are having a direct impact on sales and campaign results for marketers by leveraging their bond with followers. However, brands need to pay attention to performance data, influencer data and audience data to see the right results.
"Famous bloggers and high-reach social media stars, between them those two, and many others, the bucket of influencers is really full," said Rachel Cihlar, manager of influencer marketing strategy at TapInfluence. "This year we expect to see those boundaries pushed even further to include new creators that will finally be recognized as the power houses they are.
"We see that the influence is more about a one-to-one conversation, 54 percent of consumers say that the smaller the community the greater the influence," she said. "So micro-influencers are able to drive more engagement because their content is more relatable to their audience and it resonates better."
With any campaign it is highly important to see what works best using various performance metrics. When it comes to social influencer campaigns, marketers need to tie performance data to influencer and audience data.
For instance, brands need to be sure that their influencer of choice aligns with their image and share something in common. This could mean something as small as the influencer living in the same location in which a product is sold or it could scale to a beauty blogger promoting a particular cosmetic.
Social influencers receive significant engagement
One of the most important things marketers should look for in a social influencer partner is their audience. A large audience does not necessarily mean it will be better for brands.
Smaller and more targeted audiences can be a much better driver for marketers, as long as they are aligned with the brand. For instance, the Kardashian family is known for each member’s substantial following on social media, but often times sell products that would be better targeted to investment bankers and fall flat on their audience.
Similarly, luxury brands should not focus on an audience who cannot afford their products even though the social influencer is known for a lavish lifestyle. However, luxury brands should focus on appealing to consumers who at the moment may not be able to afford their products, but might be in the near future, such as millennials climbing up the career ladder.
Bulgari leverages popular social media users
Targeting consumers early on can be especially beneficial for luxury automotive brands that can pull in young consumers as fans who then might be able to purchase later in life.
For example, German automaker BMW kept all eyes on social media-savvy supermodel Gigi Hadid in its promotion for the new M2 Coupe. As of press time, Ms. Hadid counts 22.2 million followers on Instagram alone.
After a short period of teasers on social media, which included campaign stills and short video clips of Ms. Hadid getting in and out of BMW’s M2 Coupe, the automaker launched the “Eyes on Gigi” Web site.
In a “beauty, meet beast” approach, Ms. Hadid wears a bright red dress complementing the vibrant blue paint of the M2 Coupe, creating a eye-catching visual among a desert racetrack setting (see story).
Transparency is key
Marketers leveraging social media influencer campaigns should strive to be authentic. Promoted posts should always include a small mention that the image or text is sponsored, which could even be as simple as using the hashtag #Ad.
Signifying that the post is promoted will likely not deter most consumers, but instead solidify a stronger trust with the brand and influencer.
"We find that in some cases the bigger the following, the less the influence and that is something that really has not changed since they started following word-of-mouth marketing in the 1950s," said Laura Smous, head of product marketing at TapInfluence. "Despite our perceived social circles being much larger now and being able to connect to people in all points in our lives, the ability of anyone to influence more than 150 people or close friends and acquaintances has remained relatively unchanged.
"The new media that we have and the new connectiveness that we have with each other does not always translates based on that size, and celebrities are a great example of that," she said.