October 8, 2018 · Stuart Butler
Fuel Hotel Marketing Podcast: Episode 96 – What Is Influencer Marketing And Is It Right For My Hotel?
Influencer marketing is all the rage these days but what is it exactly and is it something that your hotel should be doing? In this episode of the Fuel Hotel Marketing Podcast, we take a look at this growing trend and give you our in-depth analysis so that you can decide whether or not it’s right for your property.
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To kick off, let’s take a look at some interesting statistics:
STAT OF THE WEEK:
- 86% of marketers engaged in influencer marketing in 2017, of which 92% reported it being effective (Linqia)
85 Surprising Influencer Marketing Statistics
- #1. According to a survey conducted by Collective Bias involving 14,000 respondents in the US, 70% of millennial consumers are influenced by the recommendations of their peers in buying decisions.
- #29. A study by Google shows that 70% of teenage YouTube audiences are influenced more by YouTubers than traditional celebrities.
- #34. 60% of audiences on YouTube are influenced by YouTube stars on their purchases than celebrities.
- #41. Social media is used as a key source of research when making a purchase by 86% of women shoppers.
- #44. 47% of influencers would like to work with brands whose values are in alignment with theirs.
- #47. 90% of micro-influencers said that they use Instagram to post original content.
- #54. 97% of the micro-influencers said that they charge less than $500 for a sponsored Instagram post.
- #61. Markerly analyzed more than 800,000 Instagram accounts and found that influencers on Instagram having lower than 1000 followers get their audiences to like their posts 8% of the time.
- #62. Instagram influencers with 10 million+ followers get their audiences to like their posts 1.6% of the time.
- #66. PageFair’s Ad Blocker report shows that the use of ad blockers have increased by30% in 2016. This makes it even more difficult for traditional advertising to yield results.
- In 2018, 46% of 15-24 year olds use an adblocker (https://www.statista.com/statistics/352030/adblockign-usage-usa-age/)
- #68. Another study of influencer marketing statistics by Linqia shows that 94% of marketers have found it to be effective
- #74. Influencer Marketing Hub conducted a study showing an increase of 325% in Google searches for “influencer marketing” in a year. This influencer marketing statistic indicates the growing popularity of this marketing strategy.
- #81. Influencers are great content creators. 51% of marketers admit that influencer-created content outperforms brand-created content.
- #82. In fact, 81% of marketers leverage influencer-created content on other marketing channels.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is not a new concept. It’s been around since the dawn of time. The idea is to leverage someone else’s audience and credibility to create awareness and interest in your hotel. This used to be popular for big brands through celebrity endorsement. Today, it’s more about finding micro-influencers who are already talking to your target audience.
Influencers drive conversation and engagement around a particular topic, discussion, or niche area and they typically have highly-engaged and loyal audiences.
Why is Influencer Marketing On The RIse?
For younger audiences, consumer behavior is shifting away from traditional media such as television toward social media channels and influencers driving content within those channels.
In today’s world, influencer marketing is a great way to get your property in front of an audience with an authentic voice. Many brands are seeing top-of-the-funnel value by getting more of the right eyeballs on their offering.
How Does Influencer Marketing Work?
The key is in the word, “Influencer.” What makes them influential is not necessarily the size of their followings, but the fact that their audience trusts them and listens to them. An influencer can be a photographer on Instagram, or a mom blogger who tweets, or a product reviewer on Youtube.
Rather than marketing directly to a large group of consumers, your hotel works with influencers to get out the word on your behalf.
An influencer marketing campaign often manifests in the form of the property or the influencer creating some form of content such as blogs, videos, and photos. The content is typically then distributed via social media and email.
Over time, your property develops a relationship with the influencer and they become an authentic advocate for the brand.
Influence vs. Popularity
Influence is not the same as popularity. Many people assume that the number of social media followers equates to the person’s ability to influence people. But when you break down the data, a hotel will get a much better ROI by investing in a targeted micro-influencer campaign as opposed to dropping a few million on a Kim Kardashian Instagram post.
An influencer is someone who can help persuade potential guests to book your property. How do they do this? Influencers must have a combination of three key factors: reach to the right audience, relevant authority and authentic persuasion capabilities. The higher these three factors, the higher the influence potential of an. Individual will be for your hotel..
- Reach – the ability to deliver a message to an existing audience of people of whom a large number match your hotel’s target demographics. This can be the readership of a blog, the audience of a YouTube channel, or simply social media followers. The size of an influencer’s reach becomes less important with higher relevant authority and authentic persuasion.
- Relevance – the relevance of the subject matter goes hand in hand with choosing the right audience. You want to choose influencers who have something valuable and relevant to say about your property that is inline with their typical content publications. You don’t want to get a food blogger to come and talk about your property if you don’t have a restaurant. A better match would be to engage with a Yoga Youtuber if your property places an emphasis on health and wellness.
- Authenticity – the majority of influencers have built their reputation by being authentic. The leverage the trust that this creates to communicate thoughts and ideas and, in turn, they persuade their audience of their point of view. One critical element of good influencer marketing is to share the same values and beliefs of the influencer. Have them enjoy and authentic experience at your property and let them share that experience in their normal, organic way.
How Do I Find An Influencer to Work With?
Influencer marketing should be one part of your overall marketing strategy, which should be one part of your overall marketing strategy. Let’s assume that you have both of those figured out. In that case, you should know what type of audience you want to reach and what type of message it is that you wish to communicate.
There are a number of tools that can help you find the right influencers for your product and your audience:
Best Tools – courtesy of Loren Grey with www.HospitalityDigitalMarketing.com
- www.awario.com — a tool to find influencers and create lists
- www.socialinsider.com – monitors and ranks your influencers
How Much Does It Cost To Hire An Influencer?
The best influencer marketing does not necessarily require financial compensation. Instead, it works better when the collaboration mutually benefits both parties. Perhaps, you simply provide them with free accommodations and the content they produce helps them strengthen their influence. Good influencer marketing is centered around building authentic personal relationships with influencers and getting the influencer to genuinely become passionate about your property and to communicate honestly with their audience about the good and the bad about your hotel. The difference is that they will do it in a way that is more credible than if it were simply content on your own website.
This is not always the case. In our experience, many micro-influencers will charge between $500-$1,000 for a single campaign, depending on the size of their audience but some mega-influencers, especially celebrities can charge tens of thousands or more. The key is you don’t have to spend a lot if you don’t want to.
Measuring the ROI of Influencer Marketing
Working with a influencers doesn’t guarantee positive returns. Marketers are still learning this channel and there is no single method for success. Measuring the ROI of influencer marketing can be a real challenge for hotels.
Properties can better measure the success of their campaign by clearly defining their objectives and the necessary KPIs.
As with any marketing initiative, it’s important that you start out with clearly defined goals and have specific KPIs that you’re going to measure in order to determine success. There are a number of benefits that can come from influencer marketing. You’ll have to determine which ones are most important to you. Here are a few things that you can measure to see the impact from your influencer campaigns:
- Content and creative assets
- Email Addresses
Risks From Influencer Marketing
- Possible low return on investment
- Potential of negative fallout if the influence reputation is tarnished
- Lack of control of the content and the conversation
- Risk not being accepted by the audience and receiving negative sentiment
Key Benefits of Influencer Marketing
#1. It Helps You Attract Better Customers
51% of marketers believe influencer marketing is a way to attract a higher quality of guest. This could be because of the tendency of social media users to spend more money and spread the words to their friends and family. The guests are more likely to go on to become advocates after their stay.
#2. It’s A Fast-Growing Channel
Many marketers claim that, influencer marketing is their fastest growing channel for customer acquisition. In a world where hotels are overly reliant on OTAs, influencer marketing offers a new opportunity to contact with potential customers.
#3. It Can Yield Strong ROI
If done correctly, the upfront investment can be very low but the return can be super high. Controlling expenses by selecting the right influencers and maximizing impact by crafting a great campaign is key.
#4. It’s Great If You have Limited Budget
For smaller properties who don’t have huge advertising budget, influencer marketing is your best bet. Along with email, it can be a relatively cheap method of acquiring new customers.
Be Sure To Follow Legal Requirements
The FTC requires that any and all material connections be disclosed.
Examples of Hotel Influencer Marketing Campaign
Big Brands – https://www.cmo.com/features/articles/2018/8/24/influencer-marketing.html#gs.RZCPzHY
Boutique Hotels and other examples – https://pmyb.co.uk/7-great-travel-influencer-campaigns/
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