The Kardashian and Jenner sisters represent more than over the top American privilege, ‘selfies’, and glamour. This pop-royal family has built an empire around the family name—and their ability to harness its power is impressive. While a substantial amount of their income stems from their reality television show Keeping Up with the Kardashians, product line, and apps, the family also profits from promoting third-party products on the social media accounts. It’s called ‘influencer marketing’ and in many ways, it’s second-wave infomercials. How, you may ask? People today have become so accustomed to being bombarded with advertisements that traditional marketing efforts have rendered themselves somewhat ineffective—A nuisance to skip over, block, or tune out. So how do marketers get their target audiences to receive their messages? Change the delivery system. When the Kardashian sisters endorse products like Sugar Bear Hair, AirBnB, and countless others, their millions of Instagram followers worldwide are all ears and eager to cash out on any product that gets them ‘closer to God’. And, it works so well because influencers create and foster the illusion of a real life interpersonal relationship—something Communication scholars, Donald Horton and Richard Wohl refer to as a para-social interaction. They create this feeling of closeness by sharing their day-to-day activities such as meals, workouts, leisure activities, annoyances, and purchases—effectively tapping into the fact that modern-day consumers are enormously influenced by peer ‘recommendations’.
In this week’s session at Coopr, social media specialist, Judith van der Rijt told us all about the raising popularity of influencer marketing. Judith explained that influencer marketing must always start with a strategy, beginning with questions such as: Who’s the target audience? Which social media platforms do they use? How do they communicate? And of course, what are your goals? This is to say that, each target audience will have unique customer pains and desired products or services, but you’ll have a tough time making use of relevant influencers if you don’t know where to find them. Enter market insights! If they’re a millennial group—your best shot is on Instagram, SnapChat, and YouTube. While, if you’re targeting Generation X and Baby Boomers, you might have better luck using classic social influencers like a celebrity or professional athlete. To address the ever growing demographic of digitally-savvy, older generations, niche blogs, podcasts, and Facebook pages do a great job of speaking to particular audiences. As Judith explained, it’s all about finding a proper fit between the product and the influencer. Meaning, would the influencer actually use this product or service? If yes, followers and fans tend not to mind that they are being paid to promote a product. This is an incredible asset to marketers and PR consultants, as this form of marketing not only tends to be more effective, but it’s far less expensive as well! So how should you find the perfect influencer to represent your product? You have a few options:
- Fancy social tools like Traackr and Coosto
- Influencer agencies like Adfactor, Social Influencers, and Hello Sparkle.
- Influencer platforms such as TIM and Influentials.
- And, last but not least, your own network or contacts!
Judith then explained that in order for influencer marketing to be successful, the objectives must be well-defined. The content must be clear, relevant, and reliable. There must be adequate return of investment, which can be measured by brand awareness, trust, and user engagement. Finally, you must determine your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), which are always tailor-made to the specific campaign. Once these details have been adequately addressed, you should have all the ingredients for a successful PR campaign! So whether your target audience would respond best to a girl in high school giving YouTube make-up tutorials in her bedroom or a podcast about raising chickens in your backyard—there’s likely a suitable influencer to peddle your product—it’s all about finding the proper fit that is right for your product or service.