Understanding Influencer Marketing
November, 27 2017
From YouTube stars to lifestyle bloggers, influencer marketing has emerged from the social media landscape as a new opportunity for marketers.
The buzziest of buzzwords at the moment, influencer marketing has gained traction for becoming an effective campaign strategy. In fact, a study suggested that 60% of marketers were increasing their influencer marketing budgets. However, like most trends, it is too easy to contextualize what something is and its effects without knowing the facts. Here, we help you gain a rational understanding of this up and coming trend.
Influencers vs. Celebrities
So, what exactly is influencer marketing? Deriving a definition from itself, influencer marketing is a strategy that uses influential people to successfully persuade people to use a good or service.
Simple enough. But what differentiates this marketing model from celebrity endorsements? They, too, are influential people who are often used to persuade audiences. To get a better understanding of social influencers, let’s look at key differences between them and celebrities
- Influencers have their own niche audience; celebrities attract mass appeal
- Influencers use social channels to produce content; celebrities use traditional channels
- Influencers produce their own content; celebrities are a small part of content produced
These differences suggest influencers have a stronger connection with their audience than their celebrity predecessors. This is the key opportunity for marketers – leveraging influencers to tap into their personally invested audience. For this reason, there are many benefits that influencers bring to any campaign.
The most recognizable value of using influencers is also the most basic: people like them. This is a notable element for marketers because people have higher rates of attention and are more likely to be persuaded by people they like. Yes, this may seem intuitive, but it is also based in psychology. The most common of Cialdini’s persuasive principles is liking and it’s one of the reasons that celebrity endorsements have worked so well in the past. However, as the digital world flourishes, influencers may supersede celebrity endorsers.
Influencers are also highly specialized having become an authority in a particular niche. As a result, they receive greater engagement and are perceived as highly credible (another Cialdini principle). People go to them to meet a very specific need. Thus, marketers can access a highly engaged audience via the trust established by the influencers credibility. This ultimately leads to a better ROI. In fact, Adweek suggests 40% of respondents purchased something they saw promoted by an influencer through a variety of channels.
One overlooked benefit is that influencers help break down the traditional communication structure of advertising. Rather than typical one-way communication, partnering with influencers allows marketers to establish a dialogue with their target audience in the comments of social platforms. In addition, using influencers adds personality, tone and character to a brand. These elements are created organically by using a real-life person rather than fabricating it through a collection of tactics that can feel off-putting and artificial.
With everything in marketing, it is important to reflect on the unintended consequences of whatever strategy your business is employing. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what to look out for with influencer marketing.
Like celebrity endorsements, placing your trust in a public figure can be unnerving. Even a celebrity is just a human, and humans make mistakes. As a result, your brand’s image can suffer greatly if an influencer makes even the most minuscule of mistakes. We’ve all seen how unforgiving the internet can be if a mishap does occur.
Another precaution to be aware of is selecting the correct influencer to promote your product. Yes, there are many. No, the one with the most followers isn’t always the best idea. According to research by Hitwise, a campaign’s success must be, “guided by the interests of both the influencer and target audience.” There must be a harmonious connection between influencer and a brand’s target audience, one that extends beyond demographics.
Understanding how to use social influencers can be a daunting task. Done correctly, it can be a valuable strategy to building your brand. As marketers, we understand the nuances in differing strategies, and with our assistance, we can use our expertise to help meet your business goals. Contact or get social with us!
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