You’re watching TV, enjoying a little healthy procrastination, and a shaving cream commercial you’ve already seen 4,000 times comes on. You’ve memorized the entire advertisement by heart, yet you still have absolutely no interest in buying the product. So, instead of wasting another 30 seconds of your life watching the commercial, you grab your phone and open up Facebook to see what your friends are talking about.
As you scroll through your feed, a video catches your eye: It’s the author of your favorite blog sitting in a bathtub, shaving her legs while using – you guessed it – the shaving cream from that commercial. She’s not a perfect celebrity or gorgeous supermodel; she’s better. She’s real. She has an approachable digital personality and a natural, normal way of communicating. She’s exactly like you (but maybe just a little cooler).
You turn up the volume, only to hear her declare that the shaving cream is the best she’s ever used. Her legs have never been smoother, and she thinks you’d love it. In fact, she says you should definitely give it a try.
This is an advertisement you simply can’t ignore. The shaving cream is as good as sold.
The above story illustrates the inspirational effect of influencer marketing. Today’s most effective brands are turning to online personalities to engage their audiences, and they are seeing phenomenal results – especially when compared to other forms of digital marketing.
Consumers want to learn about products in a natural way. According to MDG Advertising, 70 percent of internet users are more interested in a product they meet through content than one targeted at them with traditional advertising tricks.
The authenticity of influencer marketing makes all the difference.
Influencer, Meet Cause
Now influencer marketing is evolving beyond endorsement and product placement; we’re seeing a rise in brands using influencers to promote their cause marketing campaigns. This is in response to the fact that an astonishing 90 percent of U.S. consumers say they would choose a brand that associates itself with a charitable cause over one that doesn’t as long as the price and quality were comparable.
The greatest strength of the influencer-cause partnership is that it naturally builds communities around brands. But in order for it to work, the connection between influencer and cause must be authentic. Make the wrong partnership, and your comments section could turn into a chorus of consumers calling “b.s.” on your brand identity.
Here are three main qualities to look for when scouring the web for an influencer who aligns with (and complements) your cause campaign:
1. Genuine passion: The influencer you recruit must care about both your band and your cause in order to effectively reach your audience. The best influencers are those who have done their research and maybe even donated some of their own resources (be it time or money) to the cause.
Genuine passion is a one-way ticket to an authentic, compelling campaign. So be wary of influencers who are slow to express interest, hard to get hold of, or seem too interested in financial compensation. Collaborating with these people may lead to unfocused content and lackluster, impersonal campaigns.
2. A good track record: The influencer you need will have a digital history that meshes with your brand’s identity and message. If your brand is aiming for a conservative audience, don’t partner with an influencer who tweets cuss words all day. If your cause is an environmental one, be careful that your influencer hasn’t created content on behalf of environmentally irresponsible companies in the past.
Consistency is key. If an influencer’s message is consistent throughout her social media history and she appears to possess values and concerns that align with yours, she’s likely to bring that all-important authenticity to your campaign.
3. Natural communication skills: To get the views, likes, comments, and ultimately social impact you’re looking to attract with your campaign, you don’t need a great actor who can turn on the waterworks on cue; you need a real person who can speak in real terms with real passion for your cause. Yes, an engaging and entertaining personality is important, but understanding and empathy are the key qualities that will present your campaign as natural and heartfelt.
Influencer-led cause marketing is a cost-effective way to expand and inspire your audience – and, not to mention, drive your sales. If you add this strategy to your marketing handbook, you’ll create a passionate community of brand warriors who will fight for your cause and purchase your products.
Of your favorite brands, which ones utilize influencer marketing well? Let us know in the comments!