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Let me share something interesting with you. Around 40% of people online use ad blockers. The rest? They’re blind to ads. That means there’s no easy way of reaching your customers. The future of ads looks bleak. It's almost non-existent as more and more people are shutting ads out of their lives.
Even if you were able to somehow break the barrier set up by ad blocks, there’s little use. Around 96% of internet users view ads with distrust, says a study by the American Association of Advertising Agencies. That’s an overwhelming majority. So, even if you get before people with ads, all you’re accomplishing is coming across as untrustworthy.
To build trust, you should show your brand as a trustworthy company. You can set your hopes on influencers. Influencers are making a splash. To know how big the splash is and how you can benefit, read on. In the next few paragraphs, you’ll learn how to get in front of a targeted audience with the help of influencers. And, while you’re at it, how to get them to have a great customer experience.
How do influencers generate trust?
According to a study from TrustBarometer, 61% of people find information from a person like them to be trustworthy.
Customers often make a purchase based on an influencer’s recommendation. Social media users share product recommendations that come from influencers. With social media influencers, you stand to gain trust and connections for your brand. When an influencer promotes your product, that’s social proof for your brand.
Why does social proof work? Social proof is an innate need among us to trust others. It’s also called herd behavior. We tend to look for cues to guide our own actions when unsure and in unfamiliar situations. To meet our need for social proof, we look at what the crowd does. If a popular influencer promotes a product, it’s as if many people choose that particular product. The product under its association with an influencer becomes superior over others that don’t have the same association.
That’s why influencer marketing is so potent. When we rope in an influencer, we’re relying on the magic of social proof. Let’s see how influencer marketing impacts customer experience.
Influencers reduce customer effort in product discovery
Customer experience rallies around the belief of reducing customer effort. Influencer marketing reduces the time it takes for a consumer to find something. You’re all too familiar with the usual route. It takes up lots of time. There are far too many steps involved. The prospect has to go through reviews, testimonials, and search for product guides.
With an influencer who they trust, all that can be skipped. An influencer in any niche becomes an influencer because of the value they bring to the table. Their tips, tricks, and ideas elevate them beyond the ordinary.
That’s the reason why we call them influencers. Followers want more of that. They’re confused. They need guidance on what to do and how to lead better lives. This need for insight extends to buying products as well. Followers are keen on knowing what the influencer’s take on a product is.
Here’s an example: YouFoodz, a meal delivery service, partnered with 81 influencers to share their healthy recipes for winter.
70,000 direct engagements and 500,000 impressions. The campaign reached 1.5 million people on Instagram and Facebook. Along with that, the launch resulted in a 700% increase in revenue.
Here’s another example. Tesco Foods partnered with food blogger Kimberly Espinel, who runs @thelittleplantation. In the post below, she talks about the difficulty of finding affordable vegan meals. She goes on to describe how Tesco makes it easy with their WickedKitchen offerings. To top it off, she shares a delicious picture of a meal from there.
Her post has a great presentation. I love it because of how well she tells the story of the partner brand. Influencers know the pulse of their followers. They often ‘wow’ with their storytelling abilities. Influencers aid product discovery. For one, this improves customer experience. Two, it builds brand awareness and generates a stream of high-quality leads for you. Influencer recommendations are a pretty good strategy for this. Recommendations help people make decisions.
There’s something that can make this even better. Get influencers to make videos.
Influencer videos help people understand the product better
A customer who understands how to use a product has a better experience with it. Brands can use the clout around influencers to spread the word about their products. Their recommendations and reviews guide customers in making informed decisions. Customers are more loyal to your brand as a result.
What better way to air out these recommendations than with videos? Videos are so much better than text. We are visual creatures, which means our brains can process visuals faster. These videos generate a lot of shares. As a result, they get to more people than text alone can. Textual reviews are effective, but they leave a lot to the imagination. With video content, the barrier dissolves. You see the product live and in action.
Here’s what Levi Olmstead, Director of Marketing at 2ndKitchen said:
Video is so impactful because it holds the attention of a user more than written content. In fact, viewers on average retain 95% of a message that they watch in a video compared to just 10% of a text-based message. And in 2019, the barrier to entry for video creation is much lower than it was in comparison to just a few years ago with easy to use and affordable video editing tools.
You could write page after page of descriptive content on a product and get nowhere. With video content marketing, consumers understand things quicker. They understand what the product does, who is it for, and why someone should buy it. As ecommerce marketers, we are at a serious disadvantage compared to retail stores. Physical stores allow people to view all the dimensions of a product. They can touch and feel it. Online, there’s nothing like that. With videos, you get to take your customers close to a product experience. So, here’s how to leverage videos.
#1 Through unboxing videos
Tens of thousands of people search for the term ‘unboxing’ every month.
A lot of them go to YouTube to watch them. Unboxing videos are a popular way for influencers to talk about products. Your product’s features reach a big audience. Customers get to see the product in all its glory. They are not reading a review or testimonial. The experience is much more immersive.
Unboxing videos cover a wide range of industries. Clothing, furniture, and electronics to name a few. Unboxing videos are popular because they tap into our emotions. Do you remember the excitement of opening up Christmas presents? You’d wait a whole year for that day. Unboxing videos take us back to our childhood. They invoke the same feel-good emotions we associate with opening up presents.
Unboxing videos give people a way of viewing what’s inside. They can see the contents of the box without purchasing it. It’s as good as visiting a retail store. You see the product opened and taken out of a box as it is.
The steps to follow to get influencers to make unboxing videos:
1. Do a search for influencers on channels like Instagram and YouTube. First, search for influencers in your niche by typing in industry-related terms. If you’re retailing cookware, search for keywords like cooking, baking, kitchen, and so on. This gives a list of influencers to contact. You can also combine the same keywords with the term unboxing. This way, you’ll see a lot of influencers who do unboxing videos in your niche.
2. Set aside a part of your marketing budget to use for giving away your products to influencers.
3. Look for influencers who promote your competitors. If they’re relevant for your competitors, they’re relevant for you.
4. Finally, contact them and offer them your product in exchange for doing an unboxing video.
Justine Ezarik is the face behind the popular YouTube channel Ijustine. On her channel, she posts unboxing videos many times a week. She has over 6 million subscribers on YouTube. Part of her growth stems from the unboxing videos she posts. It’s a big part of her channel. It’s a win-win for the brands and Justine. From the number of unboxing videos she posts, it seems at least two dozen or more brands contact her every month. This is the latest one I could find, where she unboxes the new Macbook.
#2 Partner with popular channels
Unboxing videos are great, but they’re not the only way to leverage videos. We live in a world that runs behind shows like, “How Stuff Works”. For promoting their new product, Nike partnered with the YouTube channel, “What’s Inside?” The channel creates videos where they cut apart everyday objects to show what’s inside.
The video gathered 3.6 million views with 32k likes. This generated lots of engagement for the Nike’s new product, the Air VaporMax.
You cannot realize any success online without knowing your customers. Influencers help your prospects discover the right product in a short time. People trust influencer recommendations. If those recommendations are via video, they’re so much more effective. Product teaser campaigns, unboxing videos, and video reviews are a few examples. Finally, the goal behind tapping influencers is to make use of the trust they have and to become trustworthy.
That said, there are a few recent concerns about influencers. There’s no doubt that influencer marketing is blowing up. Advertisers are spending billions of dollars to woo customers through influencers. However, there are also examples where influencers with millions of followers failed. This influencer couldn't sell 36 shirts with 2 million followers.
That calls into question the effectiveness of such campaigns. A study conducted by CHEQ and economist Roberto Cavazos, titled Economic Cost of Bad Actors on the Internet, found that fake influencers can cost advertisers as much as $1.5 billion in 2020. Roberto adds that it’s easy for anyone to buy fake followers and fake likes. This leads to an erosion of trust. If influencer marketing has to thrive, fake influencers need to go.
There’s one more thing. As Techcrunch reports, Facebook is following on Instagram’s footsteps in removing publicly viewable like counts. The like counts will be viewable to the author of the post but not to anyone else.
The immediate impact will be on social proof. You won’t have social proof to display on homepages or other pages. You won’t be able to measure the engagement of your posts on Facebook and Instagram. You won’t have data to benchmark and improve. Social media marketing and influencer marketing will take a dent.
Despite all the concerns regarding influencer marketing, it’s still one of the best ways to market your brand. Influencers take your brand to a new audience, generating sales and revenue in the process. If you spend some time testing if a particular influencer is worth the money you’re spending on him, you can avoid most of the pitfalls we discussed above. This helps you get a better ROI.