So why are brands spending so much on a form of marketing that’s difficult to track? Rakuten Marketing research suggests that when working with influencers brands aren’t necessarily focused on sales or immediate return on investment - they’re more interested in increasing reach, driving website traffic and building brand awareness. But recent statistics reveal just how powerful this form of marketing can be, even when it comes to sales. Nearly 40% of Twitter users say they’ve made a purchase as a direct result of a tweet from an influencer and 72% of consumers will take some action after reading a positive review. 


Previously brands may have looked to celebrities to promote products and increase reach, but the rise of digital and the way we all consume information, appears to have changed that.


A survey by Awin found that consumers under the age of 30 are five times more likely to buy a product online that’s promoted or reviewed by a social influencer than an endorsed product from a celebrity. 



Why do brands work with influencers?

The main reason brands identify influencers to work with is because they want to build a genuine relationship with consumers. Collaborating with an influencer can position you as a thought leader, create authenticity and instill trust in your brand (88% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations). But brands will only build trust if they’re transparent about working with an influencer. If a brand doesn’t declare their paid partnerships clearly or if influencers ignore advertising guidelines (like #ad) then it can have a negative impact on brand perception. After all, one of the main reasons this form of marketing is so impactful is because it shows a real person interacting with a real product. Although the ROI and direct sales from influencer marketing is still pretty difficult to monitor when compared to paid media and digital advertising, its popularity continues to grow amongst both mass and niche markets. 



Influencer marketing in property

Reaching out to online influencers is not something many developers do, but it would yield some interesting results. Connecting with the right person through social media and working with them on a campaign could raise the profile of a scheme and even drive footfall to the marketing suite with pre qualified leads. So how do you go about working with an influencer on a project?


Consider your target market and demographic. Once you have a buyer persona you can begin to think about what kind of message you need to promote


Do you want to reach first-time buyers, second steppers or downsizers? Where will they be based? Really focus on creating buyer personas and understanding their motivations


What do you need to achieve? Your overall marketing strategy may be to drive footfall to the marketing suite and increase sales, but how can an influencer fit into the strategy? Perhaps the area you’re developing in is well known for its natural beauty so you could partner with a lifestyle photographer. Maybe there’s a niche the area is known for like its retail offering so you could look to collaborate with a fashion blogger. Or you could focus purely on product, working with a well known interior designer to inspire your audience.


Once you have identified your route and key objectives, you can start using social media listening tools to identify those who are influential in the space. It doesn’t have to be a blogger/vlogger with millions of followers - some of the most effective campaigns can be working with those who have a smaller following in a niche area.


When you work with an influencer you need to consider the content plan and what you can offer them/what they can offer their audience. Once you have agreed the partnership, work with the influencer to create useful content for their social media platforms. There are a number of ways you can engage with their followers -  an exclusive three-course dinner in the new show home or vouchers to kit out their new home are just some ideas.