By David Gabriele, CEO of Swayy.
What do Influencers actually do?
In very simple terms, Influencers are people who have a substantial, and loyal online following, often in the tens or even hundreds of thousands. The power that Influencers have therefore to sway their followers to buy certain products and services is of immense value to businesses looking to harness digital word of mouth. This is why fashion Influencers like Cara Delevigne can charge up to $300,000 per Instagram post. Influencer marketing works so well because it harnesses digital word of mouth; generating huge brand exposure and ultimately generates sales. Last year over 80% of companies who tried the method said it was successful and 60% of marketeers pledged to increase their Influencer marketing budgets.
Who are Influencers?
In simple terms, anyone with authority over, or who has a relationship with another person can have influence over that person/those people. This amplified to thousands of relevant, potential customers can have a significant impact on a company’s bottom line, and they have the results to prove it. McKinsey have confirmed in their own research that marketing-induced consumer-to-consumer word of mouth generates more than twice the sales of traditional paid advertising.
How does it work?
In short, Influencer marketing connects Influencers on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook to your company. By allowing an Influencer with many dedicated followers to spread your brand message, businesses can generate significant brand awareness, interest, desire and ultimately action to buy a product or service. An ideal marketing method when considering the average person maintains 5 social media accounts, and it is not uncommon for the next generation of customers, those currently in their teens, to spend up to 9 hours/day on social media.
Why Influencer marketing is so powerful?
It is done by real people rather than corporate brands or advertising executives who consumers know already have a vested interest. From the consumer point of view, it does not feel like you’re being targeted so your instinct is to trust what you see. When someone you follow online mentions how good the food is at a certain restaurant it seems natural. It’s not forced or aggressive advertising such as persistent pop ups. It reaches a relevant and engaged audience instead of being blocked by ad blockers or lost in a sea of ads on the high street. It’s reliable and authentic. In fact, people often seek Influencers for advice on a certain product or place to travel to because they know they have used that product or have been to that place.
Still not convinced? Here’s a real life example. Starwood Hotels partnered with five French Instagram Stars to promote their new hotels in Paris. Alex Closet, a French blogger with over 150,000 followers posted various pictures of her stays at the hotels generating over 17,000 likes and reaching over 500,000 people. The key really is finding the right Influencers to work with though.
How people start doing it the wrong way…
Many companies start by contacting PR agencies which are hugely costly or trying to find appropriate Influencers themselves which is immensely time consuming and fraught with danger since it costs as little as £2 to buy fake followers nowadays. It therefore must be done in a safe, controlled manner. This is where Swayy comes in.
The industry leader in the hospitality space
Swayy helps leisure businesses increase their sales through relevant, targeted and scalable Influencer marketing. Swayy’s fake follower detection system, a world first in the hospitality space, and SwayyScore mechanism helps leisure businesses ensure they get a return on their investment when hiring these brand ambassadors. Their quality control mechanisms ensure that the Influencers are pre-vetted, professional, and relevant to an individual venue or brand.
Ultimately the power lies in the relationship the Influencers have with their followers. Swayy works so well because it helps leisure businesses control the entire Influencer Marketing process. Find, evaluate, pay for, analyse and review the world’s most influential people on Instagram.
One of Swayy’s hotel clients reached over 19.4 million people last year on Instagram. Their web traffic increased over 21% year on year, SEO ranking rocketed, and direct bookings to their hotel website increased by 27%, helping them reduce their reliance on Online Travel Agents like booking.com. The ROI was so significant this year they have doubled their budget to spend on Influencer marketing.
Can you afford not to be doing Influencer marketing? That is the key question. Here are a few top tips to help you get started…
- Size is not everything – check their SwayyScore and other key engagement metrics
- Let them focus on generating original, quality content
- Ensure you specify exactly what brand messaging you are looking for them to disseminate about your venue
- Do not ask them to oversell – authenticity is key
- Consistency is messaging is crucial