Influencer marketing: How to boost your consumer base

In today's digital age, consumers in Australia are faced with a plethora of marketing messages encouraging them to buy various products and services.

But they have been subjected to so many claims of 'best in class' or 'market leading' that they have become unable to trust the vast majority of adverts.

According to a study by Marketo, 92 per cent of consumers trust their family and friends more than ads, while figures from the ODM group show that nearly three-quarters of consumers turn to social media when making decisions on purchases. These statistics underline how important third-party recommendations are for businesses.

And this is where influencer marketing comes in. Whether they are bloggers, influential customers, celebrities, thought leaders or journalists, by getting influential people to talk about products and recommend them online to their audience, marketers can gain a competitive advantage.

So what factors should brands consider when looking for influencers?

  • Reach - How many followers does an influencer have on social media? And does the makeup of their followers correlate with your own target audience?
  • Brand affinity - Are the influencers relevant for your sector in terms of expertise and credibility? Influencers need to participate in the right communities to have the desired effect.
  • Interaction - What is the strength of their relationship with followers? How often do they speak to followers and how long do their posts/blogs keep people engaged?

Creating the right partnership

If brands are going to commit to influencer marketing, they have to make sure they nurture the relationships in order to get their desired results. Don't forget, happy influencers are more likely to produce glowing content.

  • Establish a close working relationship - Have an open mind when it comes to ideas, allowing influencers the freedom to make suggestions about how improvements can be made in order to make sure the right message is crafted.
  • Treat them with respect - Show your influencers that you respect the work they are producing.
  • Compensation - Use discounts or promotions to incentivise influencers to produce great content. Depending on the scale of their reach, it might be worthwhile paying them.

Westfield embraces influencer marketing

Westfield used fashion influencers as part of its Autumn/Winter 2015 campaign in Australia, and the focus on content was spearheaded by fashion writer Derek Blasberg. Not only was digital content produced across 39 Westfield centres, Blasberg also interviewed fashionistas Alexa Chung and Abbey Lee.

Explaining the campaign, general manager of marketing at Westfield parent company Scentre Group Sarah Cleggett said they were hoping to get "great interaction and engagement from our style-conscious shoppers" thanks to Blasberg's "personal and authentic interview style".

This campaign is a perfect example of how a noted influencer (Blasberg) who is respected within a certain sector (fashion) is able to give opinions that will resonate with the consumer and encourage them to make a purchase.

Brands are always going to be looking to use a range of marketing tactics to appeal to a broad consumer base. A central part of this strategy has to be influencer marketing, as by producing content that has credibility and placing it in the right community, you can really connect with your customers.