Who do you trust when you are deciding what to buy? Your friends, family, a celebrity, or an influencer?
Even if we don’t want to admit it, we’re led by the opinions and experiences of our friends and family even if we are not truly aware when it happens.
A good example would be the way that our extended family has become a family of Skoda owners. Our family went from one family member having a Skoda a few years ago, to last year arriving at a family event, and it was only Skodas parked outside. How and why did this happen? We’ll come back to that.
Initially, when constructing this post, I was looking at ‘news report’ style videos, and how that style had left the dodgy double glazing adverts of the 1970s and 80s behind, and how the style was moving more into videos that look like proper news reports. However, the more I wrote, the more I read and watched and I could see before my eyes that this was the precursor to what we now consider to be influencer video marketing.
If you are not up to date with what ‘influencer marketing’ is, this is a good starting point;
Influencer marketing is a form of marketing in which focus is placed on influential people rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies the individuals that have influence over potential buyers and orients marketing activities around these influencers.
You might be surprised at the reply, take away the term ‘influencer’, breakdown the description, and what you are looking at is someone giving you a testimonial/review captured on video about your product or service, which is what businesses really want to get out to their prospective customers.
So, of course, it is suitable for every business, you simply need to find the right person or group of people for your product.
When I created blog posts on these products I only chose companies to work with that I had faith in and believed in their product. I know that they chose me through careful research and knowing that what I did fitted within their brand ideals too. Often it was a simple one-off review or a longer-term trial and review of a product. It often would end with not only a piece on my blog but also a discount or promo for the readers of my blog. By using this method, the brand could measure the success of the marketing plan and promotion.
Research is key for this type of marketing. You need to choose someone who would genuinely use your product or service, sit comfortably with your target audience and not alienate your core demographic.
This takes us back to the Skoda situation. You only need one person to buy a product, provide positive feedback about it, others listen, and the opinion of a trusted person has been taken on board and then acted upon. Then the process starts again, and before you know it you have a family full of Skoda drivers!
Let’s work through an example brief of how this can work for you and your product.
What is your product?
Who is your target audience?
Everyone, but particularly people who want to help the environment by using less plastic and are potentially already trying to do so.
Why this style of video?
The target audience knows they need to use less plastic, but needs reassurance that a bamboo toothbrush will be just as effective, that it will cost no more and leave them guilt-free regarding the plastic footprint they leave on the planet. They also want to feel like it’s a normal thing to buy and use.
This is why you would use an influencer rather than go with the plain facts. Everyone knows they need to use fewer plastics, but they need a story and make an emotional connection with why they need to make that change. The combination of a series of influencer videos could make that difference for making a ‘lifestyle’ choice.
As I’ve said, research is key. Just looking on YouTube there are many videos discussing why bamboo toothbrushes are so much better for the environment, one having 40,000 views. On Instagram, there are almost 13,000 photos with the hashtag of #bambootoothbrush, by searching through those you will most certainly find someone who has the same ideals as you. Consider if they seem honest, and authentic in their approach? You need to be sure that they hold the same values as your brand and product. They will be telling a story and make a connection with the group of people you are hoping to sell to.
You’ve now found a couple of people; how do you approach them? Many people will have their own sites linked from either YouTube or Instagram with an explanation on how they work. They might charge, or request a donation, or they may take payment in product. This is another reason for doing in-depth research, it can save you money as well as finding the best person for the job.
You could decide to approach someone who is locally based to you and offer them a tour of how you make your products. This would be perfect to be captured on video too and used as part of their campaign; people like to see the how things are made. Plus, you would be showing the way work, your employees and your ethos, the touchy-feely bit missing from most sales or corporate videos.
You’ve found your influencer, you’ve agreed ‘payment’ terms, now to create and plan the campaign with them.
Discuss your aims and the results you are seeking to achieve, depending on their experience they may be able to give you an idea of what they feel are realistic for the campaign. They will also make suggestions on how to plan and run the campaign and what they will need from you. As we’ve discussed, having a visit to your factory could be part of this, but potentially not the first part if it is an option.
The campaign will be built on a series of videos, maybe a blog post and social media interaction. The content, once produced, will be able to be re-purposed and re-used if you want to extend the initial campaign.
The success of the campaign will be built on trust and the relationships that are formed during the process, the relationship between you and your influencer and your influencer and their audience. A curious influencer may discover things about your product you hadn’t even considered, develop a slightly different audience and increase your demographic. Trusting them will help build those rewards.
Remember they are not your salesperson, don’t expect them only to say good things about your toothbrush. For example, they might discuss that there is still plastic in the product – the nylon bristles, but of course, this is the case for all currently on the market. By being honest and open, their audience is more likely to identify with them, and listen to what they are discussing.
Time is another important consideration. Working with influencers takes time and dedication to getting the right messaging across; honesty and credibility will be created and having that is worth much more than a quick return – it will last and develop.
By working with influencers, you don’t gain just one brand advocate, you build a community of advocates, and by using video with the power of Instagram and YouTube that community, if started correctly, can continue to build and grow, raise awareness and hopefully sales of your product too.
The campaign starts and you wait for sales…
As I’ve said, working with influencers and the videos they will produce takes more time than conventional advertising, but will ultimately bring in longer term and sustained sales as the number of brand advocates grow.
To measure your results, you can build a promo code into the initial material that is being produced. This way you can see direct results – it could be something as simple as free shipping. Going forward, if you re-use or re-purpose the material, you can revise the code and ensure that it stays fresh and doesn’t date the original content.
Tracking from social media is key to the success too. By tracking you can see where people are stopping and not converting from browsing to purchasing. This could be potentially corrected by something within your selling process, or simply that the potential customers need more clarity on a subject that could be covered by an extra video.
In 2017 a study based on marketing feedback across a wide range of industries had 94% stating that influencer marketing was an effective campaign strategy, however it is still hard to measure its success, and it may not work for some businesses, their products and services, but starting small you can develop it, and produce video content that is authentic and compelling.
Let us know what you think about using influencer videos, and if they’ve worked for you. If you need help with creating your videos, give us a call on 01962 870408 or complete our contact form.
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