Influencer marketing involves identifying and engaging with people with large social followings who can create high-impact conversions within your target audiences.
Contrary to the traditional marketing approach where you target your audience directly, you instead collaborate with influencers to advocate your message in the form of endorsements, passive testimonials and recommendations.
We know well that consumer behavior is evolving. Consumers are losing trust in traditional advertising and brands tend to lose credibility by delivering they’re intended message via existing mediums like advertising and email marketing.
Influencer Marketing works particularly well because of the format of the message delivered.
Instead of like a typical advertisement where a short message is relayed, influencer marketing works along the lines of content marketing. It is more of a presentation for a product by an influencer who discusses the merits, advantages in a friendlier tone.
Who Is Not An Influencer?
An influencer is not just someone with a huge social media following. A person with a huge following might be popular but the “following” needs to exhibit a few important traits.
- Does their follower engage?
- Can they change someone’s perception of a product or a brand in a positive way?
- Can they help change an opinion?
- Can they help form a positive image?
- Can they motivate?
- Can they influence a thought process?
- How much credibility do they have for subjects outside their area of expertise?
So a huge following is not all that counts. For a message to work, it is a combination of followers count, engagement rate and credibility to say the least.
Who Is An Influencer?
Let’s set things straight. An Influencer is a brand itself.
Influencers are influencers because they have put time and effort into building their own brand and have painstakingly built an audience base.
Their audience means everything to them. They care about their audience. Their audience is an asset and it’s very natural for them to be protective of their reputation because their audience trusts them.
A good influencer always takes a long-term approach similar to we do with content marketing.
Just like with content marketing to work, we need to build an authority over the subject matter and establish thought leadership.
An Influencer builds its credibility in a similar way. An influencer becomes the go-to place for something people are searching for.
Influencer becomes a meme, buzzword, trendsetter or a synonym for change.
Just like we say “get an Uber” instead of “get a taxi/cab”
An influencer is a synonym for something: Fashion, trends, comedy, you name it.
Why Influencer Marketing Works?
The traditional marketing lost its charm because of the lack of authenticity.
The reason why influencer marketing works so well is the same as why content marketing works better than traditional marketing.
Traditional advertising lacks three crucial benefits:
- Gaining the customer’s trust
- Directing the purchase journey
- Building brand awareness
The present-day consumers don’t like to take our word for it when it comes to traditional advertising.
They need convincing. Consumer habits, attitudes, and buying behavior of the majority has very much evolved over the last 10 years.
Consumers are getting more and more tired of traditional advertisements. Why? Because they are there only to sell, sell, sell. They do not provide any meaningful or trustworthy information, advice or in other words, do not serve the consumer’s intent.
Content marketing became so successful because it filled the gap created by traditional advertising and even things like email marketing.
Influencers marketing is taking it one step further.
- It is content marketing with Add-ons.
- It is the next generation of content marketing.
- It is the Uber of present times marketing.
How Influencer Marketing Works?
An Influencer is someone who can help convey your message with a positive impact. A positive impact can be
- Developing a connection with a brand
- Help drive sales
- help retain customer base
- help with a cause
- help with anything that traditional marketing can achieve
As we mentioned earlier, for an influencer, popularity is just one of the factors and others being credibility and skills to sell.
It’s more like a collaboration rather than hiring when it comes to influencer marketing. It’s a two-way thing. It has to be a win-win outcome for both sides.
Influencer marketing is a hybrid of both, social media marketing and content marketing.
But how does it work? Answer is in the term itself. INFLUENCE. If someone has an influence, their words matter. How does influence work? It works for the following reason:
1. Frequency Of Exposure
If someone is spending time viewing content from an influencer they acknowledge and admire, it shows the more trust they build in them and their message.
It is completely different from typical advertising, a consumer who is proactively seeking this content, on demand is not exposed to intrusive advertisement messages they dread.
In Influencer marketing, it’s a 2-way thing. An influencer is not out of reach but a reconnected day in day out, continuously interacting with their followers. This creates connection and trust.
3. Conformity And Belonging
We, humans, belong to groups. Any individual at any given time has several allegiances. She is female, She is British, She is a student, she loves Tylor swift… the list goes on. We are social animals, we live in pacts and tribes.
Modern technology has just drawn new boundaries. Psychology is still the same.
A social following enforces Conformity And Belonging. It serves the same purpose we have evolved for over millions of years.
Influencer marketing is just taking off. It will evolve and improve over time just like other marketing channels did. Those marketers who are ahead of the game and doing it correctly, without blowing up funds uselessly will prevail.
No doubt influencer marketing appears to be an easy cake for now for marketers as there is no accountability or mechanism for it.