Millennials — Under the Influence
The truth hurts — millennials don’t like or trust traditional advertising. Indeed, in a recent study, 84% of respondents confirmed this negative perception.
The reality of the changing market is that millennials are forecasted to surpassbaby boomers as America’s largest population in 2019. This means that brands looking to earn consumers’ loyalty (and dollars) need to engage with millennials in ways that appeal to them. Millennials value brands that communicate in an authentic way and that is increasingly difficult to do through traditional media.
57% of millennials approve of sponsored content only as long as it feels authentic and the content is entertaining.
So how do brands appeal to them?
User-Generated Content Has Taken Over
Influencers have taken over as the most desirable way for brands to build a connection with their target audience. There are different types of influencers; who brands leverage should depend on their desired goals. For example, micro-influencers are able to connect with a niche audience and generally get higher engagement levels, while macro-influencers can reach millions of followers in a very short amount of time — though that can sometimes come at the cost of quality engagement.
Influencers establish a level of trust and authenticity by humanizing the product.
The reason why influencer marketing is more effective than traditional is that millennials want to be in control of what ads they are served. They don’t mind that their Instagram feed is filled with sponsored content because they get to choose which influencers they follow. The best influencers also establish a type of friendship with their followers and, when they have sponsored posts, followers recognize and celebrate their achievements — rather than becoming averse to the advertisement.
Millennials are already invested in the opinions of the influencers they follow and are likely to be swayed by their content. In fact, a study on social influence showed that non-celebrity bloggers are 10x more likely to influence a purchase than celebrities. That spells a big opportunity.
The Value of Shaking Things Up
Sponsorships are no longer limited to major celebrities — social media influencers have opened up sponsorships to the everyday person. Daniel Wellington, a Swedish watchmaker, has leveraged influencers of various niches to help boost brand awareness and become a household name.
They focused solely on word-of-mouth advertising and, by 2015, the brand managed to earn $220 million in revenue — impressive considering they started out as a $15,000 startup. With the help of influencers like @david_art, Daniel Wellington took advantage of the eye-catching, highly visual nature of Instagram to align with the brand’s aesthetic. They also encouraged customers to share their watch with the hashtag #danielwellington, which has been used over 1.5 million times to date.
How Can Brands Get In On The Action?
To get an effective lift in brand awareness, it’s important for brands to work with multiple influencers as part of their campaign. This helps to attract a greater number of people in the relevant target audience by maximizing awareness across a variety of similar audiences.
The influencer marketing process can be complex because there are many steps to take if you want to get it right. One of the most important things to consider is which influencers align with your brand’s personality.
The influencers that are part of your program should have a sizeable audience, consistent quality in their posting, and content that is met with high levels of engagement.
Once you select and screen the appropriate influencers, you have to work with them to align goals and create a content strategy to follow. Then, it’s important bring together all the influencers in your campaign, making sure their posting schedules align with the overarching marketing strategy.
Meanwhile, there are also administrative tasks to consider like drafting contracts and sharing posting schedules. Finally, as with all marketing, ensure that you track the performance of the campaign throughout its execution to gauge consumer feedback and be prepared to make adjustments moving forward.
Influencer marketing is today’s product placement, meaning brands should consider adding this tactic to their arsenal. It’s not easy to execute, but it might be the best way to reach a millennial audience!