The marketing world is changing. Big shiny TV ads, billboards and even expensive PPC campaigns are becoming less and less relevant in an ad-blocking, ad-fatigued world where two billion internet users are spending over an hour and a half on social networks every day. The very key to future marketing success and attracting more customers, lies in our ability to harness this social media power, but how exactly?
Let me introduce you to Influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing has become the newest industry buzz word and brands are catching on fast. Recent studies into this phenomenon found that collaborating with social media Influencers has become one of the most powerful ways to reach customers. Over 80% of companies who have already tried this strategy say it was successful and 60% of marketers will increase their Influencer marketing budgets in 2016. So how and why does this magical new form of marketing actually work?
Who are Influencers?
At the most elementary level, Influencers are people who have attracted a huge online following, primarily through their social media accounts, but they often run successful blogs too. Many of these ordinary people have become more famous than Hollywood film stars by sharing their lives and passions with their followers using just a smart phone and a laptop, often from the comfort of their bedrooms. By amassing a huge following often into the tens or hundreds of thousands, their views, opinions and recommendations have real clout in swaying (please excuse the references!) and influencing their followers’ purchasing decisions.
Don’t believe me? Well take video gamer PewDiePie; nearly 48 million people have subscribed to his YouTube Channel and over 10 million fans follow him on Instagram. Final Cut editing pro Zach King has a 15.6 million-strong audience on Instagram. How about beauty guru Huda Kattan? She has 15 million Instagram followers and nearly 1.5million YouTube subscribers. Social media Influencers are the new 21st Century celebrities, so why wouldn’t you want one of them advertising your hotel or restaurant?
What do Influencers actually do?
They share videos, photos, blog posts and updates about their lives and passions with their like-minded followers. Every day they produce online content and spend hours interacting with their fans through comments, live chats, question-and-answer sessions and even real life meet-ups. This is where the true power of social Influencers lies: their audience trusts and relates to them because they’re normal people with unbiased opinions who they can build a relationship with.
As an example, I love to travel and right now I’m planning a trip to New Zealand. Rather than visiting hotel booking websites or searching Google, I’m turning to my favourite travel Influencers for help. I’m checking Liz Carlson’s’ Instagram feed of stunning images for ideas of places to visit. I’m reading up about which camper van to hire on one of my go-to blogs, Never Ending Footsteps and I’m watching Kingin It’s YouTube videos to find out which adventure activity companies I should use. Why? Because I know these people are travellers just like me, they’re going to give me unbiased advice and if I want to ask them a question online, they’ll answer. If they are sponsored by certain brands then I also trust their choice, if they are happy to endorse a venue/product, then it must be good, they’re the experts after all…
How does Influencer marketing work?
Marketers can tap into this trust and get their message in front of an engaged, relevant audience by paying or sponsoring a key Influencer in their niche to mention, review or test their product, brand or service. That, in a nutshell, is Influencer marketing. Still not clear? Let’s check out some successful Influencer marketing examples:
- Starwood Hotels partnered with five French lnstagram stars to promote their new hotels in Paris. Instagrammers like Alex Closet posted pictures of their hotel stays, which reached over 500,000 people and generated over 17,000 likes. Think of it like a billboard next to a road which only people interested in travel, hotels, or leisure are allowed to drive past.
- Food Instagrammer Jackie Gebel, who has over 222,000 followers, partnered with Chloe’s Fruit restaurant and store. This photo Jackie posted of their vegan ice cream got over 20,000 views.
Whatever your business, there’s an Influencer out there to suit you, and the visual nature of Instagram is so perfect for hotels and restaurants to harness this powerful marketing technique. Say you want to advertise your new restaurant? Making Influencer My Nguyen your brand ambassador will grant you access to her 1 million food-obsessed fans, so if they’re ever in your area, they know you’re the first place to go to.
How is Influencer marketing different?
We can analyse why social Influencer marketing is so powerful when we assess how it differs from traditional marketing:
- Influencer advertising is done by real people rather than corporate brands and advertising executives with vested interests.
- It doesn’t feel like marketing; when someone you follow mentions a relevant brand they use or gives their review of a new product they’ve tried, it seems natural.
- It’s not aggressive or disruptive like some modern-day ads which follow you around the internet or pop up unexpectedly while you browse.
- It reaches a relevant, engaged audience in contrast to traditional ads which people have become desensitised to and may actually bypass with ad blockers.
- It focuses on real images and user experiences.
- People actively seek out Influencers for advice on which places to stay and eat at, and which products and brands to use.
- Posts, images and photos from Influencers will stick around on the internet for years to come, rather than disappearing like traditional ads.
Why should you use Influencer marketing?
If you’re not convinced by now that you should be using Influencer marketing, consider these few facts:
- The average person maintains five social media accounts so they’re more likely than ever to be influenced by their favorite social media stars.
- In 2017, the internet will overtake TV and become the most dominant advertising medium.
- 70 million Americans are turning to ad blockers to silence traditional online ads.
Perhaps the most crucial reason to use Influencer marketing is that social media is exploding around the world; there are billions of actively engaged people using it every day, and Instagram, in particular, is arguably the most powerful for leisure businesses, with over 500m users.
In short, Influencer marketing is one of the most effective ways to gain access to huge, relevant audiences, boost brand awareness and bring you customers. So what are you waiting for?
How can Swayy help your Leisure Business leverage the power of Influencer marketing?
Launching into the world of Influencer online marketing can be a daunting, time-consuming process. How do you find the best Influencers for your business; how much do they charge; how does payment work; how can you guarantee you’ll get value from your investment?
Here’s the simple answer: let Swayy do all the hard work for you.
What is Swayy?
Swayy is an easy-to-use Influencer marketing platform designed by and for Leisure Businesses. Our technology helps hotels and restaurants find the right Influencers to market their businesses. When you sign up to Swayy you get access to our network of top social media Influencers; each one has been screened by our complex algorithm and allocated a score (SwayyScore) based on how influential they are specifically to Leisure Businesses. Our Influencers are Instagram stars who cover the following sectors:
- Fashion & Lifestyle; and
- Fitness & nutrition.
These influencers will share images and videos of your business with their Instagram followers which will boost your brand, increase your web traffic and page ranking and most importantly, ensure more customers interested in travel/leisure hear about your business. It doesn’t get more targeted than this and gives you full control over who you want advocating your brand. On a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) basis this is cheaper than marketing on Facebook or Google, and importantly once an Influencer directs a potential customer to your Instagram page, as long as they keep following you, it’s completely free to market to them directly forevermore!
How Swayy works
Swayy uses a simple step-by-step process to help you navigate your way through the world of Influencer marketing:
- Sign up and subscribe to one of our packages on our SecretSwayy portal. There are two package types, Leisure Business (Hotels & Restaurants) and Agency.
- Pre-vetted Influencers will review and reply to your Ad, just like Gumtree.
- You evaluate applicants who want to work with you using our extensive metrics and data.
- Hire your Influencers (Accept / decline applications).
- Subscribe and pay monthly for unlimited images, Boomerangs or videos you want from each Influencer.
- Book the Influencer in to visit your business at a convenient time.
- Your Influencer attends and shares great images and videos of your business to 1000s of potential customers.
- You review the Influencer, just like Uber, awarding them 1-5 stars. Helping preserve and maintain the quality of the Swayy community.
- Start again…
It couldn’t be simpler than that.
Sign up today to let Swayy help you leverage the power of Influencer marketing.