Travel firms are increasingly looking to influencers to raise brand awareness, but the struggle to prove return on investment (ROI) might have stopped your business from taking the plunge with social influencer marketing.

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However, with 88% of frequent travellers telling marketing agency Upshot that having "authentic travel experiences" is important to them, while 72% say that authentic experiences have become more important in recent years, every travel brand needs to seriously consider the tactic.

For those that are still fairly new to the concept, influencers can be summed up as individuals who have built their own brand and audience. In order to benefit from them, brands need to associate themselves with those influencers who have built an audience with the people they want to target.

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Influencers offer brands some authenticity and are able to motivate people to travel or motivate people to purchase something you're promoting, or motivate them to sign up for your newsletter.

In a recent blog post, Social Media Examiner examined: why social influencer marketing is useful, where brands are running influencer campaigns, and which tactics are most successful.

1. Influencers seen as the answer to ad blocking

Two-thirds of marketers have used social influencers as part of their marketing strategies this year, according to a joint report from Chute and Thuzio 360. Meanwhile, 40% of the marketers not currently using social influencers plan on implementing a strategy in 2017.

The report's respondents said the top reasons they are utilising influencers are to reach different audiences on social networks and to reach smaller niche audiences they sometimes have trouble identifying and connecting with.

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However, a separate report from eMarketer found that firms are also using social influencers to get around ad blockers, with an increasing number of internet users installing an add-on so they don't have to deal with pop-up ads.

2. Brands don't know where to start

In the study by Chute and Thuzio 360, 75% of the marketers questioned stated they haven't implemented social influencers in their social media marketing because they don't know how to start such a program. In fact, they don't know where or how to find the right influencers for their brand.

However, once they have aligned with the right influencers, the most effective tactic is to partner for the long term, with 'ongoing ambassadorships' found to yield the best results, according to a study by TapInfluence and Altimeter Group. It topped product reviews, brand mentions, event coverage and sponsored content.

3. Brands struggling to measure ROI

Marketers have always struggled with measuring the ROI of social media marketing campaigns and it's no different with social influencer marketing.

In fact, 80% of the marketers surveyed for the Chute and Thuzio 360 study said that measuring ROI is an aspect of influencer marketing that needs improvement. Two-thirds say they wish they had better options for tracking influence and 60% wish it was easier to discover influencers.

Challenges lie ahead, then, for travel brands who wish to implement social influencer marketing. But in a bid to become more authentic, it might just be worth it. Contact us today and find out more about how you can prepare your travel website for social media marketing.