Brands continued to associate with famous or authoritative individuals in 2017, with the Instagram influencer marketing industry alone being worth $1billion.
It’s perhaps unsurprising then that this way of advertising is set to retain its popularity amongst brands for years to come; especially considering 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on a social media reference from an influencer.
What’s evident is that done right, influencer marketing can be invaluable to your bottom line.
At Philips we have been using influencer marketing to support our core message and inform our customers. Most recently, mothers using our Avent suite of products (breast pumps) were in need of more content to support them in one of the most exciting but also challenging journeys of their lives. Influencer marketing was a natural solution to the mothers needs and so we began working with mummy bloggers to create this content, founded on the conviction that no one can talk in a more authentic or informed voice than a real mother who is sharing this exciting journey with our customers.
A Philips Avent brand ambassador
For brands early in their influencer marketing journey, what you’ll find out quickly is that it can be instrumental in highlighting product features that can change a consumer’s life in ways our marketing team could never authentically get across. This is exactly what we found with our SoniCare toothbrushes, with influencers driving home the added benefit of increased confidence levels by using Philips products. Influencers have been able to unlock precious insights into our product features – free of bias – which our marketing team can use for wider marketing efforts.
Working with influencers can also have a dramatic impact on engagement levels. By simply incorporating influencer stories into canvas ads on Facebook, we have seen that the average time spent looking at a post has gone from around four seconds to a minute, which has ultimately been reflected in buying patterns and overall brand engagement.
Yet while influencer marketing can reap huge rewards for your brand, it isn’t for the faint hearted. The Committee of Advertising Practice recently announced new guidelines for brands working with influencers, with the aim of making clearer what social content is sponsored or paid for by ads. This means that brands need to be much clearer about the nature of influencer content or risk a negative backlash from your customers with big fines to follow.
The message of these new regulations is clear: authenticity should run through all of your influencer campaigns. It’s not just about being honest with your customers through influencer marketing, but also being authentic as a business. A prime example of this, and often an easy trap to fall in to for brands is when influencers buy fake followers to boost their attractiveness. Adweek recently shone a light on this issue last year by creating two fake Instagram account and buying followers, ultimately scoring paid partnerships with brands totalling more than $500.
This is why at Philips, we have brand custodians to make sure that any influencer activities we conduct are in line with our values and are based on truthful interactions with people who share our beliefs. It’s one of the easiest ways to make sure you’re engaging with the right audience, through the right channel and with the right partners.
With all that being said, if there’s only one thing you take away from reading this; it should be that for brands to successfully harness the power of influencer marketing and gain the most from this modern channel, you’ll need to make sure that the individuals you work with truly match your core values rather than just simply boast the desired number of followers.
Consumers will be the first to notice the differences between a brand and those advertising it, so making sure you align yourself with the right people are of up most importance. Only after doing this and creating believable content as a result, can a business truly reap the rewards of influencer marketing.