Every business owner dreams of that moment when the big star wears their brand of shoes, totes their purse, or mentions their brand of dog food. Influencer marketing is big business these days, but it is also unrealistic for the vast majority of companies and brands. It’s just too expensive, and if your product isn't a flashy one, at best it increases exposure, and at worst it makes you look desperate and the influencer looks like a sell-out. Influencer marketing is also very imperfect.
There is a growing trend among even major brands to find a new, more authentic way to market. "Many savvy brands are heeding the plea from consumers to scrap the photoshopped, cookie-cutter models from their ads and include more authentic men and women instead," writes Cheryl Conner in a recent Forbes article. She continues, "For example, Target is now publishing swimming suit ads un-retouched. Designers Rebecca Minkoff and Diane von Furstenburg are eliminating professional models altogether in favor of “real” women, according to Glamour.
The audience paying attention to influencers may seem large, but it's actually smaller than you think. According to the Forbes article, “Current data is showing that people consume influencer content at a surprisingly low level across platforms—between 1-11% on average—which shows that current influencer programs aren’t driving the value marketers had hoped." In short, some people follow celebrities, while almost everybody follows friends and family members who they know, like and trust. Power to people is no longer just a rallying political cry. Every day people are the ones who have the truest influence now in the social media world. According to Entrepreneur, “84% of business decision makers start their buying process with a referral.”
But what about the last election? Didn't that show how powerless the masses really are? In a way yes, but more important is what came after. Following the election, Facebook discovered a major flaw in their system. Companies and ads were wielding way too much power, so they changed their algorithm, greatly de-prioritizing company posts. What does this mean for your employees?
Employees have more power than ever on social media if you could just get them talking about your company and your product. Data from Hootsuite before the change by Facebook showed that content shared by employees had up to eight times more engagement than the same content shared by company pages. If anything, this even more exaggerated now after all the changes.
Traditional advertising, online advertising, and even influencer marketing have had their day in the sun, but consumers have too much information at their fingertips now to be overly swayed by flashy promotions. They want recommendations from real people who they can trust. If you can get your employees sharing to social, you'll make sure the people that trust your people the most in the world, have a front seat to hear what they have to say. Every company, no matter how small, has people who can share to social media — they just need to start making it a priority.
If you want to continue to learn about this topic, download our eBook, 10 Ways to Get Your Employees Sharing to Social Media:
Adrian Dayton is the Founder of Clearview Social, an internationally recognized speaker on social media for business development and author of multiple books and white papers including most recently the strategy guide, “10X Your Website Traffic.”