Social media marketers may have turned to influencers to reach out to their target audience in the past, but new research shows they are turning to more budget-friendly in-house. More specifically, they are turning to employee advocacy to resonate with their customers and prospects.
Sprout Social recently conducted the “Sprout Social Index 2018” and discovered that more marketers are moving away from influencer marketing. Only 19 percent of respondents said that they had a budget for an influencer program. Instead, 69 percent said that they now use employees as influencers or advocates today, or want to do so in the future.
About 61 percent of customers said they would be more likely to research a product or service recommended on social media by a friend vs. 36 percent for influencers/celebrities.
The Early Stages of Influencer Marketing
Marketers may not have a large budget dedicated to influencer marketing, but previous research suggests that this tactic is only beginning to gain traction.
The “2018 State of Branding Report” from Bynder and OnBrand found that 79 percent of marketing decision-makers intend to invest in influencer marketing at some point this year. About 43 percent will invest more than they previously had in the past, while 22 percent will try influencer marketing for the first time.
About 42 percent of respondents claimed that influencer marketing is one of the most popular marketing trends they are excited to explore in 2018.