Influencer marketing is now an established form of digital marketing. It has been a buzzword for quite a while, and the mainstream media regularly refers to it.
Influencer marketing as a concept is not new: Brands with the massive budget have paid celebrities for endorsing their products for decades. But as consumers are moving from traditional marketing towards social media and new forms of digital marketing, a new type of marketing through online influencers has emerged.
Today’s influencer marketing involves finding a normal person on Instagram, Twitter or YouTube with a highly engaging audience. There are a few different ways by which you can implement influencer marketing:
- Pay the influencer a specific amount to create sponsored posts about your product or brand.
- Provide the influencer with free or discounted merchandise in exchange for a review.
- Often the exclusive products or insider information in exchange for posts about your product or brand.
To know how to increase organic reach on social media, we have written a dedicated blog post on that topic” Tips for increasing organic reach on social media“. Do read it.
Every influencer has spent time crafting their own brand identity and growing their audience. They’ve built trust with their audience with their authenticity: While consumers might not be convinced by big celebrities endorsing products or brands, they are more likely to trust influencers who are regular people, just like themselves.
In turn, brands may need to trust influencers to take control of content, such as writing reviews and creating posts which feature their products. That’s why it’s important to select the right influencer to partner with your brand. Marketers should try for nice and authentic content from influencers rather than overly promotional posts.
What are Influencers?
Influencer marketing is a hybrid of old and new marketing tools. It takes the idea of celebrity endorsement and places it to modern-day content-driven marketing campaigns. The main difference in the case of influencer marketing is that the results of the campaign are collaborations between brands and influencers.
But influencer marketing does not just involve celebrities. Instead, it revolves around influencers, many of whom would never consider themselves famous in an offline setting.
We define an influencer as being someone who is:
- the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of his or her authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with his or her audience.
- a following in a distinct niche, with whom he or she actively engages. The size of the following depends on the size of his/her topic of the niche.
One of the biggest mistakes that traditional media makes is that not understanding the difference between celebrities and online influencers.
It is important to realize that it is the influencers who have made keen and enthusiastic audience. It is not accidental that these people follow influencers, not the brands. In reality, doesn’t care less about your brand.
They only care about the opinions of the influencers. Don’t try and impose rules and business practices onto an influencer. The audience is there’s, and they can simply walk away, taking their followers with them.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer Marketing is a type of marketing which involves a brand collaborating with an online influencer to market one of its products or services. Some influencer marketing collaborations are less tangible – brands simply work with influencers to improve brand recognition.
An example of influencer marketing – Marriott was one of the first tourism brands to embrace influencer marketing. In one particularly successful campaign, the hotel chain worked with YouTube influencer Jeana Smith (@PrankVsPrank) to celebrate reaching one million check-ins on the Marriott app. The video features a surprise dance party for the mobile user that completed the milestone check-in. The video went viral and currently has nearly four million views.
Another example of influencer marketing could be – YouTube celebrity PewDiePie. He teamed up with the makers of a horror film set in the French catacombs under Paris, creating a series of videos in which he underwent challenges in the catacombs. It was a pitch-perfect content for PewDiePie’s 27million subscribers and received nearly doubled the views as the movie’s trailer.
It’s a simple example. It’s easy to imagine a celebrity teaming up with a company to pitch a product – even if the pitch is a series of 10 videos instead of a 30 seconds television ad.
Influencers, unlike celebrities, can be anywhere. They can be anyone. What makes them influential is their large followings on the web and on social media platforms.
An influencer can be a popular fashion photographer on Instagram, or a gaming video creator who do live streams, upload videos on platforms like Twitch, YouTube etc.
Within any industry there are influential people- you just have to find them. Some people will have hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of followers. They might only have 10,000 or less than that in some cases.
Still, they might have developed a reputation for being experts in the field. They are the go-to people that provide the answers to people’s questions. Depending on the sphere of their expertise, they are the people who make the most engaging posts on social media on their specialistic topic. They share the best pictures, make the most entertaining videos, and run the most informative online discussions.
Why is Influencer Marketing Important?
The Influencer economy has changed the way we buy things. Approximately 67% of marketers say that they are engaged in some form of influencer marketing, a number that’s likely to grow as a social media influencer gain more mainstream exposure.
With the demand for the rise of influencer marketing is shifting towards more streamlined solutions, embracing tools like influencer networks, matchmaking platforms services and even programmatic to help brands tap influencers easily.
Brand’s who aren’t part of this is losing control. Consumers nowadays control the buyer’s journey, and they are getting harder to reach with digital advertising.
Conventional digital marketing no longer works. A huge 66% of customers are overwhelmed by too many online marketing messages, and 20% of consumers would avoid a brand because of excessive ads. Marketers should care about influencer content because it is a perfect cure for “ad fatigue” and unlike traditional ad campaigns, delivers authenticity.
Smart brands are combating this by influencer marketing to create an ongoing conversation with consumers, recognizing that they are influenced by different people, at different times, in different ways.
Instead of diminishing returns from digital advertising, brand social and content marketing, influencer marketing goes past reach and clicks to continuous engagement and conversations that drive consumers, giving you metrics and align with your business.
- Attracting new customers
- Increasing repeat purchases
- Driving customer loyalty
- Maximizing customer lifetime revenue.
Customers want authentic voices, not faceless sales executives who use the same old tricks. Marketers can’t ignore influencer marketing any longer: content creators have the power to increase business growth and deliver authenticity that engages with the audience.
How Does Influencer Marketing Work?
If you’re a marketer and you’re feeling the pressure to deliver more revenue while having less control over messaging you’re not alone. The landscape of marketing has changed significantly and consumers determine the messaging they want to see.
Brands no longer have centre stage, now consumers have the control. If you want to be part of consumer conversations today, you have to play by their rules.
Social media platforms are the place where consumers are having conversations nowadays, and one of the most impactful byproducts to emerge is that of influencer marketing.
So let’s understand how does influencer marketing works?
At a higher level, it is a form of brand engagement where marketers connect with those who boast prominent social footprints. Their goal is to plug into new communities and connect the brand/product to new audiences through the voice and trusted relationships of the said influencer.
Authentic content creates trust. People gravitate toward digital influencers because they value the content created by them. Developing strategic relationships with these influencers allow brands to incorporate their messaging into that content and share it with consumers through a tested source.
To make the most of this opportunity, brands must allow influencers the ability to stay true to themselves when working on sponsored content. False and irrelevant content will rapidly erode an influencer’s power by reducing their follower’s trust in them.
If brands want to be relevant to customers, they must approach media as a way to attract, engage, and convert prospects (that means meeting consumers with content they care about and trust). Working with influencers is an effective way to fuel a conversation about a brand using trustworthy content.
Since influencer marketing results in engagement, it also results in earned media. Influencers are expert at doing discussions online, so the content they create on behalf of a brand is talked about, shared, and reposted. That is earned media. The value of earned media is that it is trusted more by consumers. When influencers write about their own experiences and share compelling content about a brand, it can have a dramatic effect on their audience.
In today’s digital era, people can now access information about products long before they reach a brand’s website. They turn to their peers online for recommendations about products, they look for information through search engines, and they read product reviews. Therefore, it makes sense for brands to partner with social media influencers. They have the ability to share product and brand information which shapes purchase decision.
People are already talking online to be part of the conversation. Social media has changed the way brands interact with consumers by encouraging an environment where consumers have immediate access to information.
Through social media, people gather input about brands and products and then make purchase decisions based on what they discover. Successful brands leverage social media to stay connected with consumers by actively participating in this online dialogue.
However, advertising is not the same as being part of the conversation. Instead, ads distract people from it, this deviates them from what’s important to them. Working with influencers allow brands to add to the conversation rather than derailing it.
Future Of Influencer Marketing Post COVID-19
From the past few years, we have come across a lot of words like influencers and creators. Often, we are mistaken by the perception that social media influencers are those who have thousands and millions of followers, they post videos and photos and thus get paid for it. Yes, it happens but there is a lot more in social media influencing than just posting content and increasing followers.
Undoubtedly, social media influencing is one of the most highest-paying careers in the world today. But what exactly is social media influencing? So basically, people start posting content over social media platforms whether it is Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or even TikTok. Over a while, they get a following in good numbers. So the companies who want to launch their products usually reach these influencers to sponsor their product so that they can influence a large number of people rather than doing it on their own. These influencers try the products, prepare content over it, and then upload those product-based content and advertisements so that it can reach a large number of people. They are in good amounts for each post they upload and that is one of the greatest sources of an influx of money in their hands.
Since the countries are under lockdown, a lot of businesses are facing a huge loss and many people are even losing their jobs. But if we look into the world of social media, the influencers, content creators, and bloggers have this great opportunity to increase their engagement and have a boon in their business. Vlogs and blogs are today one of the biggest sources of entertainment because almost every person has as excess to some social media platform. People keep exploring through these applications come across many influencers daily. The influencers are getting a lot of popularity during these days.
So, if talk about influencer marketing after the lockdown or post-COVID-19, these influencers do have an upbeat time ahead. Surely, the traditional way of posting advertisements and marketing products while taking a shift. The companies and influencers have to be very careful about the content they post, how they entertain people, and market their products.
Due to the loss of incomes, many households have decreased their consumption capacity and are focusing more on necessities to save money so they usually look into the products that would help them in some way in this lockdown period. Like many influencers have shifted content in staying at home and adapting to these situations, they usually market products that can help people in this period in some way. As it is important for the content creators to generate very meaningful content, it is very important at the same time for the producers and the companies to utilize the content and make the best use of it to reach out to a large number.
However, it is very important and challenging for the influencers to keep up with the trends and maintain a good competition since there are millions of people in this industry and each content can affect quite a number. Surely this career brings a lot of money but at the same time, it is also very uncertain. If your graph is not growing, it is going lower on the scale because social media is constantly evolving and you need a good marketing strategy which also includes being famous and maintaining good numbers on your page, blog, or channels. Companies often target those influencers who have appropriate content and strategy to attract a good number of audiences.
So suppose if a company wants to launch a skincare product, they will reach out to the influencers who have content and mainstream in fashion. So, in the coming future, social media influencer marketing will get more into mainstream advertising because companies will approach selective good influencers to promote their products and attract a large audience.