Let’s get influential – how do brands successfully use influencers?
Our PR and Marketing Executive, Joanna, discusses a few of her favourite influencer marketing campaigns in our latest blog post.
The power of social media continues to increase, and with that, we have seen the rise of ‘influencer marketing’. Influencer marketing is a style of marketing that focuses on using the influence of notable people to drive a brand’s message to a larger market. Brands (or marketing agencies) identify suitable influencers – those people who are likely to reach the target consumer – and partner with them to create and share content on their social channels, with the goal of widening awareness of the brand, product or campaign. By implementing successful influencer marketing strategies, many businesses have been able to make new positive connections with consumers, and grow their audience too.
Acquired by LinkedIn in April 2015, Lynda.com is an online learning platform that offers thousands of courses in business, technology and creative skills. In order to expand the platform’s reach, Lynda.com hired a number of popular YouTube influencers to create and post imaginative, sponsored videos, to promote the platform’s services. One of the YouTube channels it worked with was MinutePhysics – a channel focused on teaching science. MinutePhysics was a winning partner for Lynda.com as it allowed Lynda.com to reach people who were already seeking learning opportunities online (its prime audience). The MinutePhysics video generated more than 2.3 million views and throughout the campaign Lynda.com’s sponsored content reached a subscriber audience of over 46 million. The campaign worked particularly well because it was authentic – the team of YouTube influencers maintained the normal, entertaining video format that their audiences love, whilst naturally connecting viewers with Lynda.com and its services.
As well as helping brands reach target audiences, influencers can make an impact by boosting the profiles of charities and campaigns – nearly a third of influencers regularly promote charities on their platforms, according to research by influencer marketing platform Buzzoole. An organisation that has brought on board the support of notable personalities is anti-poverty charity, ONE. Earlier this year ONE launched a digital #GirlsCount campaign to raise awareness of the 130 million girls around the world who receive no education. Supporters from all over the globe were invited to pick a number between one and 130 million and to post a video or picture to the campaign website stating their number and explaining why they’re supporting girls’ education. ONE aims to combine all of the videos to make an extremely long film that will urge leaders to support female education. A number of influencers, entertainers and artists have already shown their support for the campaign by sharing their videos, including Michael Sheen, Hugh Jackman, Bono, Tom Brady, Charlize Theron and many more. Collecting 130 million videos is a phenomenal challenge and this is why the idea is so perfect for the #GirlsCount initiative. The issue of female education will not be resolved overnight, and so even if they don’t reach the 130 million mark for 30 years or so, the campaign has already achieved its goal by continuing to raise awareness of the issue.
Boxed Water, a pioneer in the sustainably packaged water category, is a refreshing example (pardon the pun) of a brand that has utilised Instagram and its influencers to drive support for one of its missions. In 2015 Boxed Water launched its worldwide sustainability initiative, the ‘Retree Project’, where the company pledged to plant two trees for every Instagram post featuring its boxed water and using the hashtag #Retree. To kick-start the campaign, Boxed Water partnered with a team of influencers who posted photos themselves and then asked their followers to do the same. The followers’ followers also did likewise – and hence the campaign went viral. Instagram works well as a marketing platform because consumers like visuals – some of the images posted for the #Retree project have been truly vivid and, as a result, consumers have paid attention. With such a phenomenal reaction to the campaign Boxed Water has so far committed to plant 612,567 trees, succeeding in its mission to help the environment, all while generating some great coverage and brand exposure.
What makes influencer marketing unique is that it provides consumers with a more personal connection to a brand, product or campaign. In the same way that we respect the recommendations of our friends and family, consumers value the opinion of influencers too. So instead of hearing how great a product is via a bold television advert or targeted e-marketing campaign, consumers are naturally influenced to pay attention to someone they trust – whether about purchasing a product or changing a behaviour. As we have seen with the above examples, the most successful campaigns are the authentic ones, where the influencer hasn’t just been paid to do a job but truly believes in the product or company they are promoting.