The Rise of the Influencer
The use of influencers in marketing is not new. Celebrities, movie stars, supermodels and athletes have been influencing us through traditional marketing campaigns forever. From pushing beauty products, being brand ambassadors, or simply telling us what bank they use, they have long been an integral part of many brands marketing strategy.
But social media has completely changed the game. Not only has it given each and every one of us a voice, it has created a platform for us to connect with people who inspire us, motivate us, and influence us. No longer is it just celebrities pushing us products. We choose to follow people because we value their opinion, or we like what they wear, how they do their makeup, what food they eat or simply because they upload interesting content. Because we trust these people, they have power. With over a billion people on Instagram, these modern-day influencers have turned marketing on its head, and companies that are taking advantage of this hot trend, are seriously winning. And it totally makes sense. Aren’t you more likely to look into a brand, and perhaps even purchase from them because you have seen someone you follow using it, rather than being told by a distant, unrelatable celebrity figure to buy something they probably don’t even use via an advertisement?
Influencers grow at a snowballing rate. They begin small, uploading content about their life’s, fashion, beauty, food, fitness, or whatever they are into. Then people catch on, they like what they see, they tell their friends. Their following gets bigger, their content, improves, receptive to what their followers want. Brands are noticing this and beginning to strike. Rather than spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on traditional campaigns; production, editing, advertising space (in campaigns that are no longer as receptive as they used to be), brands can simply pay influencers a fee for them to endorse their product.
We as modern consumers aren’t dumb. We aren’t simply tricked into buying a product because a celebrity vouches for it in an edited, airbrushed campaign. We use ad blockers, and most of us watch our tv and movies on Netflix, which has no ads. We tip-toe around ads, which has definitely made marketing a little bit trickier. But while the impact of traditional marketing forms has decreased, this new avenue for reaching customers is more powerful than ever.
Taking advantage of the rise of influencer is a gold mine for companies. And here’s why:
- Influencers are followed by people who value their content, and therefore listen to what they have to say. Brands can exploit this and use an influencer to directly communicate with their target market in a way that doesn’t feel pushy, but genuine and truthful.
- Influencers are cheap and effective, especially in comparison to traditional advertisements and media. Brands can therefore generate relationships with a range of different influencers, and create a wide network of touch points, at the fraction of the cost of traditional campaigns
- Influencers can increase brand awareness, and retention, by continuing to post about a brand in an organic way. They can speak about their product usage, wear the product or simply post photos about it, in a way that aligns with their own branding. By giving them creative direction and control, they deliver these marketing messages in a way that remains authentic, which ensures their followers will actually be receptive to this form of marketing.
- Applications like Instagram generate analytics and insights, letting influencers know how receptive followers their marketing posts are. These analytical tools will allow the brand to see how effective the influencer is at generating leads and awareness. Although it is hard to translate whether these digital leads directly convert into sales, such information allows companies to see whether their marketing messages are being received by the influencers followers and re-evaluate their relationship or ongoing influencer marketing if there is little to no impact.
Traditional marketing strategies are way less effective than they used to be, and if companies don’t begin to accept this, and exploit the rising influence of influencers online, they are going to struggle to stay relevant. Brands can take advantage of a wide range of influencers, at only the fraction of the price of traditional advertisements. Influencers can be used at any stage of a company’s life; launch to increase awareness, growth to increase sales, and in maturity to increase retention and usage. Why not take advantage of this cost-effective, and highly efficient marketing strategy, and use influencers to directly communicate with your target market!