Influencer marketing is having a dramatic impact on modern marketers’ strategy. For instance from politics to products, from makeup to marketing. According to a SmallBizGenius infographic, there’s been a 1,500% increase in Google searches for the phrase over the past three years. And 93% of marketers use it.  Above all Business Insider reports that the market for influencer marketing is set to reach $15 billion by 2022.

Influencer Marketing, Why? Because it works. Nielsen’s

Consumer Trust Index reports that 92% of consumers trust influencer marketing over traditional advertising. Influencer marketing content delivers 11X better ROI than other more traditional marketing tactics.

Influencers Are Real, Ads Are Contrived

 In addition younger audiences, in particular, are skeptical of traditional, one-way communication strategies and celebrity endorsements. But the reason influencers are so important right now is not only due to a growing lack of trust in advertising. Consumers are hungry for authenticity. Above all research shows that about 30% of all internet users use ad blockers to remove distracting display ads. As they access online apps and services. And a GlobalWebIndex survey revealed, 47% of consumers use them because ads are “irrelevant and annoying.”

On the flip side, for many consumers, influencers epitomize authenticity. People can engage directly with influencers. Many of whom respond to posts and comments and participate in a two-way dialog with followers. Social media users across the U.S, UK, and Europe concluded that authenticity is the main reason influencers are trusted. Particularly in the current environment, in which the growing skepticism of advertising. Is compounded by a general distrust of the press and politicians. Influencers who can exude authenticity and form meaningful connections with followers will be held in high regard.

 

Influencer Marketing Not Just for Consumer Brands

Although celebrity influencers such as Kim Kardashian West and Kylie Jenner have been leveraged for promoting consumer products. B2B organizations are seeing the obvious benefits of having highly influential people tout their offerings on social channels. In just the last 10 years, influencer marketing has risen from obscurity to the top of the B2B CMO’s agenda. As the most effective way to connect.  And interact with customers and prospects and drive brand awareness.

Examples of successful influencer programs in the B2B world are popping up with increasing frequency and tremendous impact. SAP is often cited for its success in using influencer marketing to promote its events. For example, for one event in Germany, five influencers were invited to discuss hot topics like. Machine learning, data analytics, and IoT. And ended up driving 50% of the social mentions about the event. And Dell nailed its foray into influencer marketing with its Dell Luminaries podcast. Which features influencers Mark Schaefer and Doug Karr along with technology visionaries from Dell and other leading organizations.

While many sought-after influencers have immense social media reach. There’s a growing body of evidence that micro-influencers — folks. Whose audiences aren’t too big or too small — can be more influential. Research shows that micro-influencers deliver 60% better engagement and 22% higher conversion rates.

Looking to Partner with an Influencer? Do Your Homework First

Before contacting an influencer to forge a connection, do your research. It’s critical to find someone who has an angle. And a niche following. That’s relevant to your business. If your company sells software that features AI, for instance, a renowned data scientist might be a good fit. If your audience is digital marketers, a respected SEO expert may be your best bet.

Make sure the individual you choose has a character and personality that fits your company culture and mission. Importantly, many companies are taking public stances on high-profile social-political issues. And any influencer you partner with should maintain views that align with your company’s position. An influencer who is too controversial or may post comments that could reflect negatively on your brand. It can impact your organization’s reputation in a matter of minutes.

Once you decide on who to target. Try to find common ground and show them you’re interested in following them on social platforms. Like their posts. Send them content that’s related to the topics that matter to them. After that slowly introduce the idea of partnering with them for a blog post, podcast, or other marketing ops. In other words, be careful to stop short of being a pest. The best way to win them over is to make engaging with you seem mutually beneficial.

Can’t find the perfect influencer for your business? Don’t despair! You might be able to create one through the power of Computer Generated Imagery (CGI). Checkout Lil Miguela’s Instagram for inspiration.