Social media is all about growing your band of dedicated followers.
It is quite a rat race going on out there. Everyone is striving hard to increase the headcount of followers to become prominent influencers.
That’s quite an innovative way of making a good livelihood. And, why not? More than 80% of young millennials live on social media.
There’s a massive market for these influencers to target and have more followers optimally.
The more followers they manage to influence, the more attention they draw from top brands.
So, who are these influencers?
Users with more than 40,000 to 1 million followers are considered macro-influencers.
They play a critical role, and they have the power to influence the younger generation. Any negative word spoken by any one of these influencers against any specific brand or company can have a ripple effect.
And words spread fast on social media.
Their followers and followers’ followers will eventually spread that negative post against a specific brand and make it viral.
Before that company realized the impact of the negative viral post, the same post would have tarnished the brand image forever.
That’s the power of influencers in social media.
You cannot offend them if you wish to survive in the competition. More so, you cannot undermine influencers’ powers also. It can help get one or two influencers onboard to endorse your products or brand.
The ripple effect will follow, and your brand image can improve overnight.
As we mentioned, influencers have the power to influence their followers into making purchase decisions.
You might have come across YouTubers mentioning a product or a brand in-between their live shows. They endorse that product and influence their followers to consider the said brand.
This kind of brand promotion is called influencer marketing.
It is a win-win collaboration between influencers and brands. The former earns a percentage from each converted lead generated from their content, and the brand makes valuable customers.
In this article, we will discuss influencer marketing and understand how this marketing strategy works.
What is Influencer Marketing?
According to Wikipedia, “Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing involving endorsements and product placement from influencers, people, and organizations who have a purported expert level of knowledge or social influence in their field.”
Earlier, we had seen celebrities and prominent personalities endorsing brands and influencing customers to make purchase decisions.
Now, customers are more likely to be influenced by someone like them. They trust people with whom they can easily relate.
Customers are knowledgeable about the fact that celebrities endorsing a brand is nothing more than a well-scripted advertisement. Social media influencers are regular people like us; they live among us and confront similar challenges.
Since user perception has changed, these regular users have quickly taken influencer marketing by storm. A dark-skinned social media influencer with freckles and acne can easily influence others with their beauty tips more than a celebrity flaunting a flawless appearance.
The amount of trust these influencers can build in their followers is stupendous. Their recommendations serve as social proof to any brand’s potential customers.
The entire influencer marketing relies on the trust these endorsers have built in their followers, who can make or break a brand forever.
And as we mentioned earlier, an influencer need not be a superstar’s son or the superstar himself. Anyone can become an influencer and earn a good living with engaging content and brand endorsements.
Keeping them out of your marketing strategy might not be a wise thing to do.
Instead, it would help if you focused on the benefits of using influencers to endorse your products. So, here are the reasons why influencer marketing can work for your brand –
Reason #1: 40% of Consumers Live on Social Media
Gen z is the new market to target for brands. Their spending power reached up to $143 billion in 2018.
Post-pandemic, the same generation showed great adaptability and is positioned well in money management. And this same generation loves to stay online and connect with others on social media.
Yes! They spend three hours every day consuming and creating more content online.
That’s like an entire marketplace waiting to be tabbed and taken advantage of. The generation has the power to make or break trends. The mature audience is just mimicking the same behavior.
Gen Z consumers rely on engaging and informative content shared on social media to make their purchase decisions. And, user reviews matter to them a lot.
They are ready to spend dollars on suitable products or services but are unwilling to spare a few bucks if the user reviews about a product are not good enough.
Reason #2: Consumers Prefer Peer Recommendations
According to Statistics, click-based display advertisements quickly lose their popularity and usability. Clicks on paid ads have crashed to an average of 0.47%.
If you are targeting Gen Z, you should know how they make their purchase decisions.
This generation finds ways to stay clear from unwanted ads pushed to their devices. No, they don’t like getting bombarded with ads for products they no longer want. Instead, they prefer peer-to-peer recommendations.
Their trust in their peers is stronger than their faith in celebrities and known personalities.
That trust is something brands should encash. And the only way to do that is by hiring influencers.
This young generation of influencers is more empowered to influence the purchase decisions of Gen Z with their trustable, authentic, and engaging content.
The products these influencers endorse or display in their content have a better chance of getting potential leads than those advocated by superstars.
The concept of brands reaching out and talking to customers is old-school.
What’s new is when consumers talk to each other about brands. And, they will purchase only when someone from their age group recommends it.
Or someone who has a house full of followers, aka the influencers.
Reason #3: Performance-based Content over Native Ads
As mentioned earlier, click-based ads have lost their popularity. Consumers know how to block them.
And they are more intelligent than before. Any amount of incentivizing them will not work. We are not saying discounts and offers have lost their game. No, but these tools are not performing that well.
This is because the new generation of buyers digests content more.
To make things are little easier to understand, here is a good example:
An ad showing a three-star hotel with discounted prices for a three days-two-nights stay will attract limited buyers. On the other hand, an influencer showcasing her days holidaying or chilling in the same hotel’s pool or lounge is likely to fetch more calls for the hotel itself.
Today, consumers are more averse to advertising bombardments. They do not waste time swiping past ads. But, an influencer’s lifestyle post will keep them rooted to the spot for a couple of minutes.
So marketing using an influencer is the right thing to do. And, it’s not just about endorsing a brand. It is more about performance-based influencer marketing.
Performance-based influencer marketing is a win-win arrangement between the brand and the influencer.
The influencer’s results determine the degree of their compensation.
Unlike celebrity endorsements, where brands have to pay the decided figure to the celebrity even though the ad did not fare well in the market, influencer marketing is cost-effective.
It is the influencer who decides and implements the content of the post. The brand can opt for affiliate marketing where the influencer has to include the product link or code in the content, as shared by the company.
Or, the company can pay an upfront fee to the influencer and more after the campaign depending on the performance metrics.
Now, there are different tools to measure influencers’ performance metrics. We are delving deeper into that topic here.
But, the point here is a performance-based influencer marketing can spare the brand from incurring extra costs for creating, shooting, editing, and running the content on social media or any other platforms. That entire task is taken care of by the influencer.
And the latter’s post-performance metrics decide their compensation.
That’s what we call a win-win collaboration.
Of course, there are challenges too. Often it is hard to equate likes and comments to conversions. But again, that is entirely a different topic for discussion. However, we are sure that influencer marketing is one of the critical tools to promote your brand and reach your potential customers on social media.
That fact we cannot ignore or undermine.
And, influencers are likely to stay here for a long time. If you think about how powerful they are, you need to check out some top-notch influencers on social media today.
You will have your answers.
The market has changed radically, and so are the tools to attract and harness the market. Brands should embrace that change and evolve their marketing strategies accordingly. And one of the changes is the rising popularity of the influencers and their growing power to influence followers into making purchase decisions.
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