Many people have grown cynical toward advertising. The say it shows up in every conceivable place, makes ridiculous claims, plays to our most base instincts, and crowds out things that are more interesting and essential. In a world that is saturated by advertising, it is hard for them to trust any of the claims that marketers make.
This cynicism is often eroded when recommendations for products come from friends or family members. A trusted recommendation comes with more credibility than an advertisement. That is why, according to Netpop research, 79% of social media users use these sites to find information and recommendations about products.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing involves marketing products and services to those who have a sway over the things other people buy. This market influence typically stems from an individual’s expertise, popularity, or reputation. Marketing to an audience of influencers is similar to word of mouth marketing, but it doesn’t rely strictly on explicit recommendations.
Influence can come from a wide range of places. Any person, group, brand, or place could potentially be an influencer. For example, celebrities are often used to market products because they are highly respected and highly visible. When a celebrity uses a product, the maker of that product gets exposure and the respect that comes from a celebrity endorsement.
Instead of simply looking at followers, a better equation for brands to consider is the following:
Influence = Audience Reach (# of followers) x Brand Affinity (expertise and credibility) x Strength of Relationship with Followers
Effective Strategies of Influencer Marketing
Form a Relationship with Influencers – Try to develop a relationship with an influencer before asking them to advocate for a product or company. A simple message on Facebook or Twitter can help ingratiate a possible new influencer to the company.
Find Your Influencers Preferences – Deliver content and advertising material to influencers in the format that is more convenient for them whether that be print, video, audio, or some other format.
Make it Easy to Access Content – Influencers are more likely to share content with their followers if it is easy for them to integrate into their blogs, Facebook pages, and other portals. Online tools like SocialChorus make it easy for companies to distribute content.
Don’t Neglect Minor Social Networking Sites – There is the tendency to think only of Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter when thinking about social media. But Instagram has 30 million users and growing. Minor social networking sites can expect significant influence as well.
Two Ends of the Spectrum
Platforms like Instagram and YouTube have led to the rise of a new generation of influencers that have amassed huge followings on niche subject matters such as fashion, beauty, and food. One such example is Michelle Phan who started a series of YouTube videos featuring simple make-up demonstrations and tutorials. Overtime, she has amassed over 6 million followers. More important than her follower count is the personal brand she has been able to build. Michelle Phan has become a cosmetics authority that many consumers have come to trust…to the point that L’Oreal actually co-branded a cosmetic line with her.
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Happy Reading 🙂