Is YouTube a collection of funny videos, tutorials and children singing in cars? Does Instagram only consist of #ootd pictures, #tbt images and snap shots of mouthwatering meals? Well, yes, but these platforms have evolved into so much more. Interesting content and open dialogue leads to more followers, more followers lead to more followers and before you know it, a teen with videos about DIY projects and quick hair fixes has more than 8 million followers on YouTube. Is this real life? Yes, yes it is.
Bethany Mota started speaking to the camera about life, her favorite headbands and her picks for makeup and fashion in 2009. Now, she has her own fashion line at Aeropostale, has partnered with JCPenney and Forever 21, has gone on multiple speaking tours, was a competitor on Dancing With the Stars and recently interviewed President Obama in the White House after his State of the Union Address. Her latest “Morning Routine” video recommends brands such as Colgate, Target, Bath & Body Works, Chobani, Trader Joe’s, Tarte, Almay, Hard Candy, American Apparel, H&M and over 9.6 Million views.
Why is this important to your brand?
“According to Nielsen, 84% of consumers say they trust peer recommendations above all other sources of advertising. According to McKinsey and Deloitte, marketing-inspired word-of-mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising, while people referred by local consumers have a 37% higher retention rate.”
Word-of-moth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising. Well, what if that word-of-mouth had a mega phone, a mega phone that reached over 8 million people with one click of a button. “For example, Activision, a major video game publisher, decided to lean in to YouTube Influencers and gained outstanding results. Influencers’ videos about “Call of Duty” have been viewed 9.7 billion times to date, which is nearly 20 times the number of views for videos on the brand’s own media platforms.” Welcome to the world of Influencer Marketing.
“Influencer” can be defined as Audience Reach (# of followers) x Brand Affinity (expertise and credibility) x Strength of Relationship with Followers. According to Polina Haryacha of TechCrunch, “The most challenging element […] is to correctly identify the talent that best suits your brand and campaign goals.” An influencer that aligns with your brand can leverage existing relationships with consumers that already trust and value the opinion of the influencer.
So, why are influencers so important to brands? Social media has altered the balance of power between consumers and brands. If you don’t believe me, ask Bethany Mota.
With contributions from Erica Hudson