Influencer marketing is not a new concept. While the word 'influencer' brings to mind an array of lifestyle, food and beauty bloggers with a strong, loyal following, the influencers of years gone by did not occupy the online world. One of the most famous examples is Pepsi's long association with everyone from Michael Jackson to Beyoncé. Celebrity endorsements sell. According to Marketwatch, signing a celebrity will likely result in an average increase in sales of 4%.
The rapid growth and widespread adoption of social media have taken influencer marketing to a new level. Countless companies are dedicated to creating a seamless influencer marketing process for both the brand and the influencer. It has become such a common marketing strategy that the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK say that 'hidden' adverts on social media are taking up more and more of their time.
The benefits are clear for food brands
The benefits of an endorsement from the right influencer far outweigh the drawbacks, however. Influencers are experts in their space and have worked to build the trust of their followers. Brands can leverage this trust while benefitting from exposure to a new and engaged audience. Partnering with influencers can also lift the burden of content provision. This is particularly relevant to food brands that struggle to create original, inspirational recipe content on a regular basis, and the benefits can be almost instant. When we shared links to celebrity chef recipes on our website via Twitter over an 8 week period, we experienced a 43% increase in website sessions when the celebrity chefs retweeted the content versus the days when they did not. To take it a step further, the combination of engaging influencer content and shoppable recipes is shaping up to be a winning marketing strategy for food brands and retailers.
Influencer marketing is adaptable
The benefits of influencer content are not limited to websites and social media. Just this week Sony announced a collaboration with Liam Charles, undeniably the star of the Great British Bake Off 2017. Liam has created an exclusive Christmas dish which can be found on the S50G, Sony’s smart speaker. Amazon currently dominates the crowded smart speaker market, and Google Home is a distant second. With the release of Apple's HomePod delayed until next year, Sony's clever use of a young, relevant and popular influencer sets them apart from the competition. The need to differentiate from the competition is vital this year. Smart speakers will be the hot tech gift this Christmas, and first impressions count if manufacturers want to foster loyalty.
Influencer marketing is not a foolproof strategy for brands. An in-depth understanding of your audience is necessary, as is the ability to choose the right influencer based on your audience data and their engagement rate. Finding the right fit, however, can pay long-term dividends.