What is Influencer Marketing and how does it work?
Influencer marketing emerged early 2013/2014 when influencers began to grow more and more on social media. It is now a well established strategy for online marketing. An influencer is someone who has « the power to affect purchasing decisions of others because of his or her authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with his or her audience » according to the Influencer MarketingHub. Brands then take advantage of that and collaborate with influencers to market their products to the influencer’s audience. Companies are almost always looking for audiences that match their customers so that the campaigns are successful.
But can we actually trust influencers?
With all the marketing done on social media these days, can influencers still be trusted? According to a study I conducted for a thesis on Influencer Marketing, the size of the audience does not really matter as smaller influencers tend to have a better engagement rate and therefore they have a stronger influence on their audience but bigger accounts reach more people. It really depends on what the company is looking for: engagement (buy the product) or reach (brand awareness). Celebrities on social media usually have very poor engagement rates and according to the survey influencers are more trusted than celebrities even though they have a wider audience. Also, as expected, younger people trust influencers more than older people. Therefore, influencer marketing works better for companies who want to touch a younger audience (15/40 years old).
Ideally what you are looking for as a brand is an engaged community in the niche that you are in (whether it is food, travel, skincare, etc.). The products you sell need to appeal to the following otherwise the credibility of the influencer and of your brand is at stake.
Has this pandemic brought us all on social media?
These days, with the pandemic, social media has taken an even bigger part in our lives. We are forced to stay at home so we do drinks on Whatsapp, we talk through Twitter and we share pictures and stories on Instagram to avoid feeling lonely. For some people, social media has become their only way to connect and interact with friends and family and to be socially active.
According to DataReportal and their numbers above, social media user numbers increased by 13,2% in 2020 compared to 2019 (that makes nearly half a billion more users last year). The time spent on social media also increased last year. The pandemic surely played a role in those increased numbers. To avoid being lonely people seek social connections on social media.
Social media and influencers cannot be ignored by marketers anymore. Brands have access to a large panel of different macro and micro influencers, one can surely fit their brand image, product and budget. And thinking about it, it costs a lot less to collaborate with an influencer than paying for a TV or a radio add. Adding to that the fact that you are 100% sure that the audience will be interested in your product if you found the right influencer for your brand. You can never really know with TV and radio adds.
As we have seen, audiences are growing. They trust influencers and also spend a lot more time on social media nowadays. Therefore, if the fit between the influencer and the brand is right, influencer marketing is a fully reliable and successful marketing strategy.
I’d love to have your opinion on this topic! Would you consider influencer marketing if you had a product-based company? Do you think it’s a reliable marketing strategy? Let me know in the comments! :)
To learn more about how to use influencer marketing to market your products, you can enroll in one of our digital marketing bootcamp specifically made to learn more about Social Media Marketing: