Pop Quiz: When influencer marketing is done right, who wins?
a) Your brand
b) The influencers
c) Your audience
d) All of the above
In case you missed the last few classes, the answer is D. In the ideal influencer marketing engagement, your brand gets a boost in credibility, authority, and exposure to a new audience. The influencer gets a cool content asset to promote, association with other thought leaders, and is able to grow their influence in their niche. And the audience gets awesome content neither the influencer nor the brand could have produced on their own.
Getting to that “everyone wins” stage requires strategic planning and execution, though. You can’t just throw money at someone with a big Instagram following and expect results.
Our agency was a pioneer in B2B influencer marketing, and we’re invested in taking it to the next level. Our approach has seen amazing results for Fortune 500 companies and small businesses alike.
To help you reach the next level of influencer marketing — what we call Influence 2.0 — this post combines our experience with original research from other thought leaders in the industry:
- Influencer Marketing: Science, Strategy & Success (Zine)
- An Evaluation of Brand Influencer Partnerships (Onalytica and Smart Insights)
- Two Sides of the Same Coin: Exploring the Brand and Influencer Relationship in Influencer Marketing (Activate)
- State of Influence 2.0 2018 (Traackr & Altimeter Group)
- Influence 2.0: The Future of Influencer Marketing (TopRank & Altimeter & Traackr)
- The State of Influencer Marketing 2017 (Linqia)
- Sponsored Spenders Survey (Collective Bias)
Read on to upgrade your influencer marketing and get ready for what comes next.
30 Essential Influencer Marketing Statistics
Influencer Marketing Works
- Over half of brands say influencer content outperforms brand-created content. Only 6% said it underperformed brand content. 6
- 78% of consumers will buy when recommended by someone they feel they know and trust. 1
- 67% of consumers have no negative reaction to sponsored content. 7
- 58% of brands have seen improved brand awareness and perception from influencer marketing campaigns. 2
- 54% saw an increase in leads and revenue. 2
Influencer marketing works because the message comes from people your audience already trusts. It also works for awareness and brand positioning, but also for driving revenue.
As our CEO Lee Odden defines it: “Influencer marketing activates internal and industry experts with engaged networks to co-create content of mutual value and achieve measurable business goals.”
Very Few Influencer Marketing Programs are Fully Mature
- Only 10% of organizations are fully mature with influencer marketing; that is, running a cross-functional program. 4
- 46% are using influencer marketing tactically, but have not integrated it across marketing. 4
- 57% of marketers say influencer marketing will be integrated in all marketing activities by 2020. 5
- 62% are going to spend more on influencer marketing in the year to come. Only 4% will spend less. 4
Marketers have a ways to go with influencer marketing sophistication. Investing more time and budget is a good start, but sophistication really comes from integrating influencers across your marketing initiatives on an ongoing basis, from strategy to content to promotion and beyond.
Sophisticated Influencer Marketing Involves Deeper Relationships
- Nearly half of marketers are working on long-term campaigns w/influencers. 2
- 40% of influencers say they’re in long-term partnerships. 2
- 48% of B2C influencer programs are ongoing, but only 11% of B2B are. 5
- Only 29% of influencers are asked for their opinion on content direction. 1
- 55% of marketers say content strategy and direction are decided well before influencers are added. 1
- Only 25% of influencers said brands shared engagement goals with them. 1
Building long-term relationships with influencers is crucial for sustainable influencer marketing. The relationship-building should include working with the influencers on content strategy, direction, and engagement goals.
As Rani Mani, Adobe’s Head of Social Influence Enablement, recently told us in an interview: “We at Adobe pride ourselves on cultivating and nurturing long term relationships with our influencers. We look at it as dating with an eye towards long term commitment which means we are always looking to establish a ‘give to get’ exchange where all parties come out ahead.”
We look at #influencermarketing as dating with an eye towards long term commitment, which means we are always looking to establish a ‘give to get’ exchange where all parties come out ahead. – @ranimani0707 Click To Tweet
Influence Is More than Follower Count
- Only 25% of consumers are more likely to buy a product when someone with over 1 million followers recommends it. 1
- As reach grows, engagement tends to drop. 1,ooo-10,000 is the sweet spot for engagement. 1
It’s time to rethink what makes a good influencer, especially for B2B brands. Reach is only one part of the equation; resonance and relevance are even more important than size of audience.
Not long ago, our own Ashley Zeckman, Senior Director of Digital Strategy, wrote: “Social reach should be a consideration for your B2B influencer marketing program, but not the only one. Sometimes the influencers with the largest reach may not be engaging their audience in a meaningful way that leads to more users connecting with your content.”
Look for people who are actively engaging with their audience, and are talking about topics relevant to your brand.
Aim for Content Co-Creation, Not Sponsorship
- 73% of influencers said they put more effort into content when they’re passionate about the brand/product. 1
- Only 27% said they put in more effort when the campaign involves financial compensation. 1
- Only 34% expect financial compensation. 1
- However, 65% expect some form of reward. 1
- Only 14% said being paid well was the most important reason to work with a brand. 2
- 52% say building their influence on key topics is most important reason to be an influencer. 2
- Top criteria for influencers choosing brands? Most important is “I love the brand and already post about them organically.” 3
While financial compensation can be part of your influencer marketing strategy, it shouldn’t be the whole strategy. Money can’t buy genuine enthusiasm and emotional investment. Look for influencers who are already excited about your brand, are eager to share their thoughts and expertise on a relevant topic, and work with them to create content you both can be proud of.
While financial compensation can be part of your #influencermarketing strategy, it shouldn’t be the whole strategy. Money can’t buy genuine enthusiasm and emotional investment. @NiteWrites Click To Tweet
Level Up Your Measurement
- 78% of marketers surveyed use influencers to build brand awareness. 3
- 45% cite sales conversion as their primary goal. 3
- 5% of marketers surveyed are tracking engagement rate, while only 45.92% track sales conversion. 3
- 37% of influencers cite brand awareness as their goal, while 22% cite sales conversion. 3
- 74% of marketers surveyed said sales conversion was one of their top goals for influencer marketing. 5
- 76% of marketers surveyed said determining ROI was their top concern. 6
Influencer marketing isn’t just for brand awareness. Like every other marketing tactic, your influencer efforts can contribute to revenue and that impact should be properly attributed. It’s important to make revenue measurement part of your initial planning and goal-setting.
The Next Evolution of Influence
As these statistics show, it’s time to rethink what influencer marketing is and what it can do. It’s more than one-off sponsorship deals with celebrity contributors to boost brand awareness.
Influence 2.0 means finding the true influencers for your audience. It means developing long-term relationships to co-create valuable content worth getting excited about. And it means setting goals throughout the marketing funnel and being equipped to measure them, from engagement down to revenue. When you can do all of that, everybody wins.
Is your B2B organization just getting started with influencer marketing? There are six things you absolutely need to know.
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