In times where consumers are increasingly avoiding advertising (74% use one or more advertising avoidance strategy [1]), brands need to find alternative ways to communicate towards consumers. The question therefore arises how to target consumers through other means.  

We saw in the last Edelman Online Influencer Survey that influencers are more trusted than brands. Meaning that people tend to trust what influencers say about brands more than what brands say about themselves. Consumers rather want to be talked to instead of being talked at. They want to engage with people who are relatable, and this is exactly how influencers communicate. Everything is pointing towards influencers playing a greater role in the marketing mix of brands.
So, the question arises, how can brands engage with influencers? 

Influencers as authentic and trusted voices

Edelman’s Online Influencer Survey shows that influencers rank as number 1 for learning about new products and brand trust. Respondents say that it’s most likely to learn something about a brand that leads to trusting them via influencers. The reason why influencers resonate so well with their communities is because people prefer getting information from their peers or an expert. Influencers often position themselves as a regular person like you and me. Because of this, people can relate to them and therefore, the trust increases. This makes them great ambassadors for your brand.

Respondents say that it’s most likely to learn something about a brand that leads to trusting them via influencers 

Brussels Influencer Strategy

How brands can activate the power of influencers

  1. Authenticity before reach
    The most effective influencers are knowledgeable, relatable and inspirational for their audiences. The combination of relatability and expertise is a far more attractive quality than reach in creating a bond between influencers and their audiences. Therefore, brands should find people who are having authentic conversations with your target audience and community. 
  2. The influencer’s own voice is your best bond with their audience
    Influencers are trusted and have the power to change buying behavior. Not only because they are considered authentic, but also because consumers share their values. Brands need to allow these trusted voices to speak in their own words and in their own tone. To coach them, arm your influencers with a few do’s and don’ts. Let them know what you liked about their past work. Give them suggestions for how to integrate your messages – but give them room to ideate and make them their own. 
  3. Influencers inspire purchasing and build trust in brands
    Long-term partnerships with key influencers can help grow your brand. Influencers work to build solid relationships with their audiences. Brands must do the same with their influencer partners. To forge a stronger relationship with your influencers, develop deeper partnerships with them over time. Bring them into what you are doing and make them part of your brand. Look for opportunities to tie your brand to their ongoing content launches and passion projects. If you champion them, they will champion your brand. 

To build sales, trust and advocacy for your company, make sure to engage with a group of ambassadors around your brand.

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[1] Edelman Online Influencer Survey, 2019