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September 17, 2021

Influencer Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing: Which Is Better for SMEs?

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Influencer marketing is on the rise and its benefits are proven. If you’re considering working with influencers through the Judge.me Recommendations; you may be wondering how influencer marketing is superior to traditional marketing. In this article, we’ll discuss why influencer marketing has a much greater impact and value for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Influencer marketing - your next powerful weapon

Influencer marketing has always been around in some shape or form. This was often a traditional celebrity, such as a musician or actor, endorsing a brand. However, with the advent of social media over the last fifteen years, online content creators have become invaluable to brands and could be invaluable to yours too. Essentially, influencer marketing is a strand of digital marketing where an online content creator or influencer (e.g. an Instagram user with a large following) promotes your brand or service through their content. 

According to a report by Influencer Marketing Hub, influencer marketing is expected to grow to be worth $13.8 billion in 2021. The same report also states that 90% of respondents believe in the effectiveness of influencer marketing, while 75% of them intend to spend their budget on influencer marketing in 2021. Why does influencer marketing become so popular? Here are some main reasons:

  1. Boosts brand awareness and build trust
  2. Provides authentic and trendy content
  3. Helps to improve SEO
  4. Generates a positive return on investment

The benefits of influencer marketing can’t be denied, but is it a good strategy for SMEs? 

Why are SMEs at a loss when it comes to traditional marketing? 

Your business needs to utilise its marketing budget cost-effectively with the highest potential for sales conversion. Influencer marketing provides an avenue to do this. Some researchers found that consumers have developed fatigue towards traditional advertising. Their study also proves influencer marketing can drastically improve brand attitude, advertisement attitude, and purchase intention. These improvements are due to the tailored content influencers produce which specifically targets their audience demographic. This positive consumer engagement with influencer advertising has a much higher return-on-investment for an SME than the scale and expense of traditional advertising. SMEs cannot match the same scale of cross-channel marketing that a large corporation can, which puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to these methods simply because it’s so expensive. This is where Judge.me’s Recommendations page can help deliver a high-value, highly tailored marketing opportunity for your business and products.

What kind of influencers should SMEs work with and why? 

When many people think of influencers, they think of big names with millions of followers. However, as an SME, you don’t need a Mega or Macro influencer when promoting a product. Below is a tiered breakdown- based on followers and video views- for Instagram and YouTube creators. You may be surprised to learn that Micro and Nano influencers are some of the most important and impactful when it comes to marketing a product. Followers don’t mean everything. The reason micro-influencers in particular are so important in influencer marketing is due to their engagement rates. They may have a much smaller following but they have built a much more tight-knit community where they directly engage with their followers because of this. With Judge.me recommendations, right now we’re focused on working with micro and nano-influencers because the evidence for their value is clear.

What are the options SMEs can consider in influencer marketing? 

  • Sponsored Content: Whether it be an Instagram post, a YouTube or TikTok video,  sponsoring content created by an influencer that is specific to your brand is a great way to promote your product. This can be one or more pieces of content that are created within the guidelines of a brief for a fixed fee.
  • Affiliate Programmes: This involves providing the influencer or affiliate with a coupon code that they can share with their fans to purchase your product. The influencer receives a commission for each sale generated using a discount code and it’s a way of easily tracking the financial value of your influencer marketing campaign. 
  • Gifted Content: This consists of you sending a complimentary product from your brand to an influencer. You could also offer them credit for your online store with a request for them to purchase and post about or review the product once they have it. 
  • Giveaways and Competitions: This is a competition run in partnership with an influencer where a company offers free products or services to the influencer’s audience in return for liking or following a post or a page. 

To recap

Influencer marketing, if done correctly, can bring you more success. Rather than investing a huge amount of money in traditional advertising that ends up diluted on crowded social media, try collaborating with a relevant influencer. It’s a great way to reach more target audiences, build trust and boost sales for your business.

Seán Butler

Seán joined Judge.me as a Product Account Executive in July 2021.Before Judge.me, Seán worked as a manager and tailoring specialist in men’s fashion. He also worked in digital marketing in the theatre sector.

Seán is originally from Dublin, Ireland and moved to London to study Theatre Directing under Katie Mitchell, OBE. He holds an MA in Theatre Directing from Royal Holloway, University of London and a BA in English and Art History from University College Dublin. He writes and directs for theatre in his spare time.