The rise of social media means that an increasing number of brands are choosing it to be their primary audience engagement channel. However, with the explosion of ads in the space, many consumers prefer to mute or not follow the brands in the social space. This is a huge loss for the brand as it loses out on an opportunity to reach out to a potential consumer. This is where influencers come in. Influencers are people, not just celebrities who influence others on social media to make purchase decisions. Could be an 18-year old makeup expert, a 30-year-old tax accountant or even the 50-year-old lady next door with a cooking channel on YouTube. Influencer marketing works on the oldest marketing strategy in the world, word of mouth.
After all, we tend to believe people who we think are experts when it comes to making purchase decisions and we prefer to base our behaviour off others. Influencer marketing helps consumers identify products and services that resonate with their lifestyle.
- Offer brands credibility: The biggest takeaway from influencer marketing is how it imbues a brand with credibility and trustworthiness. A YouTuber with a cooking channel and a huge follower count is undoubtedly looked upon as an expert in their field so people are more likely to believe a brand’s message from them instead of from the brand itself. In fact, people may even ignore the brand’s message as an advertising tactic when it comes directly from the brand. The sheer number of followers, shares and likes further cements the authoritative position of the influencer, making it a make or break situation for the brand. All the more reason for the brand’s digital agency to create engaged and fruitful relationships with the right influencer.
- Have a huge captive audience: One of the main criteria for being a social media influencer is having more than 10,000 followers. This means that they can influence a large number of people with a single post or update. More often than not, these followers and influencers are millennials, one of the most difficult audience groups to reach out to. As a result of sharing the same age group, demographics, interests, and behaviours of their target audience, influencers give brands an opportunity to directly reach out to a hypersegmented audience.
- Can become brand advocates: Highly engaged influencers can become advocates for the brand and can thus help grow a community of likeminded audience members. This engaged community can further spread the brand’s message and help it gets its points across without sounding like an ad or an advertorial.
As the younger generation gets savvier in avoiding and blocking ads online and on social media, influencer marketing becomes a vital element of a brand’s digital marketing plan. It is truly the age of the social media influencer.