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Why Are You Scared of Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is slated to be a $15B market by 2022. Here are the tips you need to get the most out of it.
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Why Are You Scared of Influencer Marketing?

Many marketing and insights executives have found themselves questioning their bosses this past year — and for good reason. As influencer marketing has turned into a hot topic (and a bona fide marketing channel) buzzword-hungry execs have set their teams to work on Instagram to bring in business.

From what we’ve been hearing, many teams are frustrated by leadership that doesn’t know how to leverage social media for maximum organizational impact.

Teams report that their C-suite “keeps hearing about this thing called influencer marketing.” They know over half of brands use influencers, and that influencer marketing will be a $15 billion market by 2022, but they don’t have the clearest idea what it entails. Even still, they’ve tasked the team to generically implement it.

Marketing leaders know Millennials and Gen Z are taking over. Having lived through multiple recessions, these generations have a fundamental mistrust of traditional marketing. They look to peers for input and recommendations, particularly those that have a meaningful and reliably established connection to a category. In the span of a few months, TikTok went from a viral dance video destination to a legitimate advertising platform on the level of Facebook and Twitter. Will Clubhouse be next?

No doubt, social media is an ever-evolving environment. It can be hard for leadership to keep up, or to know what platforms, trends, and practices will stick. The effect is that their organization takes months to develop creative content that goes through multiple rounds of approval and ends up stale by the time it reaches their audience.

These people are suffering from what we call “Influencerenza.” Over the past several years, scientists and researchers at Material have found a concerning rate of this disease among organizations. As someone at your organization with the ability to implement change, only you can prevent and cure Influencerenza. It all starts with becoming aware of, and understanding, the problem.

Diagnosing fear of influencer marketing

We define Influencerenza as a disease caused by a lack of organizational understanding about, or fear of, how to properly leverage influencers in insights, communications, and marketing strategies for maximum impact.

Symptoms include a prevalence of outdated, bloated, or bureaucratic policies, complemented by a tendency to waste money on marketing activities with low or no impact. Other symptoms include having a social media team that’s not permitted to try new things or having a CMO facing crippling quarterly earnings pressure.

How social analytics helps cure the fear of influencer marketing

Fortunately, there is a cure. Consider becoming vaccinated against Influencerenza with a new analytics-driven approach to social media supported by Material’s strategic and executional framework.

Our treatment builds off years of experience in extracting insights from all forms of consumer data, allowing us to identify and activate your top brand influencers for maximum impact. Rather than relying on unproven remedies or trying a variety of over-the-counter guesses at influencer marketing, we treat Influencerenza by taking a data-first approach.

Through advanced networking analytics, we map the way consumers naturally and organically organize online. Evaluating these networks allows us to identify influencers who have a reliably established connection to, and trusted opinion among, a key audience. We treat the cause, not the symptoms.

Armed with these insights, you’re able to unleash your influencer marketing potential. Reviews, insider tips, and unboxings from experts who have lived every detail of a brand experience present consumers with an enticing trifecta, which includes the abilities to:

  • Project a “professional” image onto their own experience,
  • Cherry-pick informative highlights and tailor them to their own lives, and
  • Avoid pitfalls by learning from others’ paths.

Each day that passes means your existing marketing and communication strategies may be becoming less relevant and less effective. Luckily, you can take action toward establishing a treatment plan today.

What categories are ripe for influencer marketing?

While nearly all industries can benefit from a well-executed influencer campaign, several categories are especially ripe for this opportunity.

These are categories where purchase decisions impact the consumer’s social status, or otherwise affect their health or wellbeing. They are often one-time purchases, where a trusted recommendation can be invaluable.

Here’s how influencers benefit the following sectors:

  • Fashion & Beauty / Culinary – Make the intimidating accessible and stay on top of fast-evolving trends.
  • Travel – Capture experiences from around the world through easily digestible tidbits.
  • Toys – Share verdicts straight from the kids; no tantrums here.
  • Healthcare – Show solidarity with others going through similar experiences; or provide reassurance as an industry leader.
  • Technology – Geek out on the details, one unboxing at a time.

Next steps in overcoming your fear of influencer marketing

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. That means your organization must be willing to implement change — and change is good!

Of course, you’ll have to accept that while you have a real desire to increase revenue, you’ve been wasting money on some of your dearest marketing programs. Here are a few places to start:

  • Be willing to adopt new strategies and ditch obsolete policies.
  • Give you social media team more strategically guided freedom, and above all,
  • Empower your CMO to be more forward-thinking.

This article was co-authored by Stephen Lavender.

About the author

Sean Carlos Flemming
Sean, VP of Social Analytics, collaborates with his clients to develop innovative solutions to complex business problems through social and digital analytics. He’s a creative thinker who loves to look at the root of his clients’ challenges to come up out-of-the-box insights and opportunities. Sean began his research career at Yale University’s Center for Emotional Intelligence, studying the underlying emotions and motivations that drive human behavior. After six years in academia, Sean joined Material with a hunger for new challenges.

Read more by Sean Carlos Flemming
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