Influencer Marketing is here to stay – Better be prepared than be sorry.
Most people that I meet believe that influencer marketing is a bubble, which will not last for long. They don’t see any performance linked to it nor a metrics to measure it. Well, this may or may not be true, but as long as the content is being made, influencer marketing is going nowhere.
So, if you feel bearish about influencer marketing, better be for the entire content industry. Let’s figure out the how and why-
Here’s a realization that everyone needs to be aware of – popular non-news, content websites are so dependent on Google and Facebook that they don’t even realize how quickly they will perish from the market if Facebook decides to close the company page of an online publisher for a policy violation or if Google changes its policy towards promoting paid content or be seen organically.
How much are brands directly dependent on these social media platforms is validated by the latest DAN Digital Report 2019 according to which 29% (largest share) of digital advertising budget goes to social media spends. The report talks about how much content creation and marketing has grown tremendously but conveniently misses the distribution side of the business, without which creation is deficient.
Hence, it is very important for brands to not keep all their eggs in one basket. Same is true for non-news online publishers as well. Both brands and publishers should invest in people-powered content, targeting creation and distribution too. Content will always be made and it doesn’t matter if it is good or bad, because after all it is very subjective. How brands distribute that content shall keep evolving. It is very important for brands to embrace and nurture distribution platforms for their own benefit. It is ‘their’ need to pick and shape the agencies which facilitate such distribution.
Influencer Marketing is a tool which helps disseminate content among common people, the consumption audience. Some smart brands have already created separate influencer marketing team within their marketing branch. Others are waiting for the right moment, but, are there any for real. Those brands, which have already started nurturing this new branch of content distribution, need to be guided on the Dos and Donts – and that’s actually not a problem. A lot of learning is on the job and the sooner it happens, the better. I say this because about 31% marketers out of odd 500 which participated in the Buzzoka Influencer Outlook 2019 survey, said that Influencer Marketing is the fastest growing online customer acquisition method.
The actual problem is with brands which are fearful of investing in Influencer Marketing. These brands should understand that if they make content to put up on their social handles, they are simply wasting their time, energy and money. It may not even be reaching to the right audience, all thanks to their social agencies. 60-80% of Facebook fans, Instagram & Twitter followers could be bots OR maybe because Facebook decided that it will not everytime show content of your page to your entire fan base. And then it becomes important to use other content distribution tools at your disposal.
Real people are on top of that list. These real people too come with real problems, the most worrying being no brand loyalty. But it’s nothing that can’t be solved, unlike being at the mercy of social platforms by virtue of choice or ignorance.
Now, one would argue that even these content creators or influencers are dependent on the social platforms for reach. I would then tell them to move beyond the top 4 social platforms and work with influencers on upcoming platforms. Either way, ensure that the content is consumed by the TG. Don’t just sit there waiting for the big daddy to decide for your brand. As per the Buzzoka Influencer Outlook 2019 survey, 46% marketers out of 500 participants said that their Influencer Marketing spend is only about 5-7% of their total budget. Quite obviously, we can do much better in the area of distribution, especially if we are put in more money in content creation.
In the end, there is only one piece of advice. Everyone loves creating content, some do it better than others but not everyone really helps in distribution of it. That has to be done by the brand. Get a good influencer agency on-board. As good as you can do it in-house, there is always scope of doing it better when outsourced to specialists. For those, who are still thinking that influencer marketing is a bubble, there’s time for you to rethink or simply watch the whole game as a spectator.
While more and more brands use content marketing as part of their marketing strategy, very few have a documented content marketing strategy. All we can do is wonder how adhoc their Influencer Marketing Strategy would be.