High Impact, Low Cost - Influencer Marketing

Follows, likes, dopamine, in that order. According to a study of Australian consumers by San Francisco-based media-buying firm RadiumOne, social media usage is a dopamine gold mine. “Every time we post, share, ‘like,’ comment or send an invitation online, we are creating an expectation,” according to the study. “We feel a sense of belonging and advance our concept of self through sharing.”

I always questioned what made me want more followers, likes and connections on social media, and simply put, this explains it. The expectation and sense of belonging, in addition to interacting online has led people to find creative avenues to enhance their following and engagement on personal accounts. You will often hear students sarcastically congratulate friends on being “Instagram famous.” But what if this need and expectation for engagement and approval was part of a much larger picture?

Has this “Instagram famous” friend been quietly and effectively developing a personal brand that corporations will spend a lot of time and money on to get a hold of? Maybe not intentionally, but if they are not capitalizing on this following and popularity, they are certainly sitting on an untapped goldmine.

The average 20-year-old student sees over 15,000 marketing messages a day. Digital media advertising is so saturated that it is extremely difficult for brands to stand out. Instead of attempting to create a campaign which differentiates you from the other 14,999 brands viewed, use an influencer and enter a smaller, easily influenced market.

A typical North American student follows 832 people on Instagram. Rather than attempting to stand out, you begin to penetrate a far more personal vertical where consumers are actively browsing content, working to understand what their friends are up to, as opposed to aimlessly scrolling by. Influencer marketing allows brands to effectively reach their ideal target market as well. It is crucial not just to pick any person with ample followers, but to pick an influencer with a network specific to your desired consumers. Take the time, do the research, develop a customer archetype and then look to find the right match in an influencer.

The value is there. Word-of-mouth marketing returns 11 times greater ROI than traditional advertising effort. People ignore ads, but they do not ignore posts made by people they actively follow. User generated content does not get lost in feeds as advertisements do. This content is trusted 40% more than that of a corporation. Influencer marketing allows brands to communicate with consumers without the consumers noticing it is occurring. It is a more natural and modern approach to sales.

Influencer marketing is also far more cost-effective than traditional approaches. Although targeted ads on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn have shown to be effective, influencer marketing achieves far greater results, often for a better price. These campaigns double the sales that paid advertising creates; they also generate a 37% higher customer retention rate. In 2016, influencer campaigns generated $23 for every dollar spent — more than five times the number produced by banner ads.

At Amplify, we recently conducted a sample of over 500 Canadian university students, gathering data and insights, learning more about their purchasing decisions and how they are influenced. 73% of the surveyed respondents ranked popularity among social group as the most influential factor in purchasing decisions.

Finding ways to penetrate your target market through individual, digital media storytelling is necessary. Simply put, if you place a product in the hands of a popular student and broadcast it across their social media accounts, people WILL purchase that product. Our subconscious reaction is to correlate the influencer’s popularity and happiness with the product in-hand. So, if I want to be that popular and happy, I will buy that product. It’s not rocket science, it’s student consumer behaviour.

Kieran Mathew. Founder & CEO. Amplify Solutions.