“Authenticity is crucial to continued loyalty from fickle audiences,” says Ashley Deibert of Forbes Magazine. She points to positive examples, such as Dove and Airbnb, which have embraced authenticity in their marketing plans, as well as those such as Uber and Pepsi, which have become social pariahs in recent times for their lack thereof. She’s right. Now more than ever, authenticity matters. In today’s connected world, people mindfully seek out brands which come across as honest and trustworthy. They’re quick to drop those which come across as inauthentic too. That means if you’re trying to grow as a brand, conveying authenticity is a must, and influencer marketing is the vehicle that will drive your success.
1. The Diversity of Sports is Creating a Growing Market
The sports industry is seeing growth like never before. Quite a bit of this is because digital media has eliminated borders. You no longer have to be in the UK to watch the Premier League. You don’t even have to know where PyeongChang is to have followed the 2018 Winter Olympics. And, with campaigns like “This Girl Can” running, everyday people are getting into sports. While many people feel a sense of country and regional pride watching their local teams and athletes, this new borderless society has increased global awareness exponentially.
2. Sports Influencers Provide Unsurpassed Reach
Every possible niche and market is represented in the fanbases of athletes, from the diehard football fan in the stadium to the aspiring gymnast copying the moves of her favourite Olympiad online. Whether your brand sells artisan soaps or craft beers, you’ll find your audience tapping into sports and following athletes on social media. Sports influencer marketing gives the chance for brands to build off of the influencer’s predetermined fanbase and grow as both the athlete’s fanbase and market does.
3. Fans are the Most Devoted Audiences
It’s well-known that sports fans are the most loyal and engaged audiences out there. For example, sports fans are 67% more likely to use Twitter to enhance their gaming experience. They also appreciate having a direct line of communication with their favourite athletes and other fans, which increases engagement.
“We not only want to believe in the greatness of our star athletes, but we want to believe their greatness is a product of their participation in sports, and that through our own participation – however tangential or superficial it may be – we can be a part of it,” says Jack Moore for the Guardian. It’s this mentality that keeps sports fans coming back for more and ensures that anything the athlete assigns value to becomes valuable to the fans as well. In short, if an athlete is talking about your brand, his or her fans will take notice and are likely to adopt your brand as their own as well.
4. Influencers Understand the Dynamics of Success
Influencers, especially micro-influencers (those with smaller, yet highly-engaged followers), are well-informed about what makes their audiences tick and they monitor their successes too. According to a recent study, 48% measure their success with reach, whilst 24% watch engagement as a key indicator. A further 16% even go so far as to monitor sentiment. Today’s influencers are totally tapped into their audiences and leverage tech to monitor their results. They’re keen on strategy too. About 32% say being authentic is key to maintaining engagement, while engaging with followers directly and sharing content that resonates with their followers tied at a close second capturing 27% of the vote each.
5. Influencers Create Authentic Engagement via Storytelling
Because influencers believe in what they’re promoting, they create engagement in a way that’s natural for them. Take compression sportswear brand Unbownd, for example. “Our promise to you, our audience, is to bring you honest partnerships that not only reflect our sportswear, but athletes that live by our ethos,” the brand noted upon announcing their new partnership with former pro rugby player Dan Tai. “We're so proud to be backing Dan. Following 2 major operations and 3 major injuries, Dan has made a big impact in the fitness industry for his grit, determination and inspiring story. He never gives up, and neither do we,” Unbownd wrote.
When an influencer opens his world to his fans and connects with them, the athlete creates a memorable experience for those who follow him on social media. This directly makes an exclusive story/memorable outcome in the minds of followers, which results in new buyers for the product or service, but it doesn’t stop there.
“Memorable brand experiences don’t have to be complicated,” says Marketing Nutz founder Pam Moore. “When brands provide their audiences and customers with memorable experiences, their customers want to shout about it from the mountain top. They want to post their photos on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. They choose to check into Foursquare and tweet to their friends,” she explains. “They want to tell the story. They want to share the experience so that others can come along for the virtual ride and get a taste of what it felt like.”
In other words, the athlete may well be the initial influencer by sharing her story, but those who follow her and try the product or service then become storytellers too; amplifying the brand’s reach exponentially.
Craft Authentic and Memorable Campaigns with Vensy
If you’re ready to harness the power of influencer marketing, Vensy will connect you with sports influencers who can expand your reach and create lasting impressions with new markets, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.