Last year, we wrote about how you could run a successful influencer marketing campaign, surrounding the Rio 2016 Olympics, without using athletes (and risking running afoul of Olympic sponsorship regulations). Now, we’re here to tell you that you can run a successful influencer marketing campaign without using a celebrity at all.
Approachable vs audience size.
The nature of influencer marketing is such that you really don’t need a celebrity to make your strategy a success – in fact, there are cases when using a celebrity can actually be detrimental to your campaign goals. It’s tempting to pay a celebrity to be seen with your product since their audience size is larger than life, but it’s a one shot deal. Your product can be replaced the next day by the next product they’re being paid to endorse. In that way, celebrity endorsements aren’t really influencer marketing because there’s less relationship with the audience and few long term benefits for the brand.
Celebrities can make your brand feel unattainable – if you have a product for parents for example, and you pay a celebrity to endorse it, and they do so with a picture of them using it while dressed in designer clothes in a luxury mansion, it could give your target audience the impression that the product is out of reach for them. It can be hard for your audience (the consumer) to relate to a celebrity, no matter how much they may like their music, acting, etc.
Celebrities have a constant spot light.
Additionally, there is no guarantee with a celebrity that your brand image is safe. If a celebrity were to do something that is not in-line with the image your brand wants to portray, but you’ve signed an agreement for them to endorse your brand, your brand image could suffer as a result. Celebrities can be a huge wildcard and many businesses cannot afford the high rates for unknown return you get with celebrity endorsements. Celebrities have an audience because they are famous, not because they have cultivated and developed the relationship with their audience over time.
The relationship between brand and influencer.
Non celebrity influencers, on the other hand, are known commodities as long as you have done your research before entering into an agreement with them. If you know their posting tendencies: the type of language they use, and the sorts of images they post, then you know what you will get when working with them. If you have done your due diligence, you will know who their audience is and that your brand is right for their audience.
Influencer marketing builds on the relationships that the influencer has already created with their audience. Influencers with authentic followings have the potential to engage their audience to a far greater extent than a celebrity. The conversations that are started by the post will continue via the influencer. If the audience feels that the influencer is authentic the campaign will be more valuable and provide a higher return on investment than simply using a celebrity endorser. For the same cost as using a celebrity, you can likely hire multiple influencers and either spread the campaign out over a longer time, or get more coverage for your money by using a spread of influencers to effectively blanket your intended audience.
The benefits of choosing micro influencers.
On the other end of the spectrum from celebrities is micro influencers. These highly focused influencers tend to have smaller audiences or are more hyper-targeted to a specific topic or geographic area. Although their reach may not be as great, studies find micro influencers develop better relationships with their audience, as well as the brands they work with.
Micro influencers also tend to be more knowledgeable about their chosen area or topic and can produce more high quality, genuine content as a result. This also leads to a higher engagement rate than celebrities or even larger influencers.
As with all influencer marketing, it comes back to trust.
In today’s influencer marketing world, authenticity matters. Consumers want to buy products pitched by people they trust to tell the truth, and increasingly it’s not celebrities that they turn to but influencers with whom they’ve already built a relationship. The influencers have done the work to build those relationships, and by working with them you can capitalize on this relationship and get your product in front of an audience that is more likely to buy it. Now that’s a win-win situation.
Want to learn more about Influencer Marketing?
Click here to watch our recorded webinar on The Evolution of Influencer. Looking at the past and future trends of Influencer Marketing