A Millennials Take on Influencer Marketing (Hint: You Need It)

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As a millennial, I LOVE influencers and I can assure you influencer marketing is not going anywhere. Influencers or bloggers are real women (and men) and they live and breathe their personal brand. They are authentic, reachable and major #inspo. Social media is the future of advertising, and using influencers is the best way to succeed at it. Whether your company is big or small, you need to start using influencers. Here’s why.

Influencers cut through the noise of typical advertising. They reach their niche fans through their many social channels. Using influencers uniquely allows you to target your desired audience where they are spending the majority of their time (nearly nine hours a day). They bring authenticity that any marketer dreams for.

I manage many social pages for my company’s clients and our influencer content 99.99% of the time outperforms our other brand-created content. (81% of marketers agree with me). Not only do they produce beautiful content for our social pages and website, they share their content along with their highly regarded opinion to their loyal followers.

Millennials want to see transparency. We want to see companies doing good, being accountable, and acting trustworthy. Influencers provide transparency, trust and the ultimate approval. Millennials will ignore the big ads that marketers think target them (unless they’re funny or star David Harbour). But millennials will trust and NEED to stay at the same hotel in LA that Chiara Ferragni did. Or NEED to own that swimsuit that Alexis Ren wore on her latest Instagram story.

You’ve probably never heard of most of the influencers making bank (millions each year), but your target audience has. And clearly, they’re killing it.

Everyone from Nike to Santa Cruz Organic can benefit from influencers. Not every influencer is a high-impact influencer, there are micro-influencers that smaller brands can greatly benefit from working with. While working on our clients, Chicken of the Sea’s social pages, I’ve seen one of our micro-influencers produce BEAUTIFUL content while not getting many likes/comments/shares on his own page. But, it performed extremely well on our pages. I know he’s going places.  

Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way.

  1. When choosing an influencer, do you research! If you’re looking at them your competitor is or has. Make sure your competition has NOT worked with your influencer in the past. I ran into this problem while working with one of our clients Chicken of the Sea. I noticed that some of our old influencers also worked with Chicken of the Sea’s top competitors StarKist and/or Bumble Bee previously. A quick search for “tuna” on their blog revealed their work history. To me it implies that the influencer sees Chicken of the Sea as replaceable with its competition, and so will their followers. And that will not help sales.
  2. Check their following on all of their social media channels. Know what your dollars will get you. Find out what kind of interaction do they get on their posts. Do they interact with their fans? One of my favorite foodie influencers Ambitious Kitchen replies to nearly all of her follower’s comments on her Instagram posts validating her strong relationship with her followers.   
  3. Influencers disclaiming that they are getting paid for their services is not very well defined. Many will just have #ad at the end of their post. And tbh most people aren’t reading to the end of the post to see that. Make sure your influencers are complying with FTC endorsement guidelines, which have changed.

As if you needed another reason to start doing influencer marketing, a 2015 survey by the Tomoson indicates that businesses are making $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing. No wonder 59% of marketers intend to increase their influencer marketing budget in the coming years.

Josh Leibowitz, Senior VP, Cunard North America and chief strategy officer at Carnival Corporation best puts it “There’s a little bit of the American dream in these influencers. They’ve built a business and they’re out having a point of view, they’re being creative, recommending things, seeing the world. … [They can] do things that they love and get paid for it.”

Lastly, don’t forget about YouTube as a popular influencer spot. That’s how you’ll get the Gen Z kids to buy your “cool” new backpacks. But more on that next time!

IMHO,

Megan Wood