Influencer marketing: what is it and why you should care
Marketing is more about delivering messages than selling products. Companies seek to understand who their consumers are while identifying the best ways to reach them. In a world of ever-growing connectivity, digital marketing, as well as social media influencing, are some of the best strategies to use. So, what does influencer marketing mean?
Digital influencers go beyond celebrities; a digital influencer can be any regular person with the power to influence the perception of others. Influencer marketing is employing the ability to change the public’s perceptions about brands and products, which can lead consumers to buy products and, hopefully, become loyal customers.
Different influencers have different reaches and credibility in specific niches, and therefore, will charge differently for their services. The reason why social media influencers get interested in marketing is straightforward: regular people can make money from their power to influence the number of followers they have, and the quality of the relationship they build with them. But why is this relevant for marketers?
Influencer marketing is growing
The overall trends in digital marketing indicate that influencer marketing is becoming more relevant. The Influencer Marketing Hub 2017 Study produced some interesting data; the study documented a 325% increase in searches on “influencer marketing” in a 12-month-period, and 230 new platforms and influencer marketing focused agencies in a 24-month-period. On the marketers’ side, the Hub also found that 37% of the surveyed companies had budgeted for influencer marketing, while 67% planned to increase their budget in the next 12 months. Another study, by the Association of National Advertisers, found that approximately 75% of the surveyed brands are utilizing influencer marketing, while almost half of them are planning on increasing their budgets for it over the next 12 months.
As you can see, different pieces of data point to the same trend: the growth of influencer marketing. On top of that, Edelman’s 2017 Global Trust Barometer found that 55% of people trust individuals, while only 45% trust institutions, resonating a broader trust crisis that hits politics, business, and media. According to the Fullscreen and Shareablee report, 37% of people engaging with influencer posts say their trust in a brand increases when an influencer mentions a brand; this is especially true for younger audiences: 44.3% of Gen Z and young millennials surveyed trust influencers over brands, which is also true for 35.7% of older millennials.
How can marketers connect with influencers?
A brand that understands the importance of social media influencers will need ways to connect with them. That might explain why Facebook launched its Brand Collabs Manager search engine–to help connect marketers to social media influencers. Such an effort by the biggest social media platform reinforces the relevance this kind of marketing is attaining. But for those firms who want to go beyond Facebook and reach the younger audience that is increasingly interested in Instagram, Snapchat, and Youtube — there are further ways to connect.
PATRON, a company recently founded by Atsushi Hisatsumi–an individual who was previously a social media influencer in Japan–seeks to bridge this connection with influencers through an app that will be launched later this year. The platform, built on blockchain technology, will connect brands to influencers in different niches, according to their dissemination ability, their power to engage others, and the evaluations they received from other users. MuseFind, a web, and mobile-based platform seeks to provide brands and marketing agencies a way to manage their influencer marketing campaigns. The company is also offering a self-learning resource, called the Influencer Marketing Academy.
These and other platforms can also support those who want to become influencers. As mentioned before, social media influencing is not exclusive to celebrities, regular people who want to become social media influencers can do it too, all they need to do is put in some effort! It is important to find a niche in which you have some authority or knowledge. As for the content created, one should consider not only expanding the number of followers but also building a relationship based on trust with them. With that in mind, it is possible to become a channel through which brands want to communicate with customers.
Influencer marketing is a rising trend in digital marketing. Consumers are increasingly more inclined to trust digital influencers, and that might snowball as niches expand. In that scenario, the goal of marketers is to make connections with potential customers and increase trust in their brand. The goal of influencers is to expand their reach and trust in order to connect with their audience and also benefit financially from their power. The social media influencing story is still unfolding, but for now, there seems to be a rare instance where everyone–consumers, brands, and digital influencers–can take advantage of this nascent market, become involved, and share a piece of the pie.