Friend or foe?
Back in the day, product marketing relied heavily on celebrity endorsement. It still does to an extent but the keyword now is “influencer marketing”, which basically means anyone with a certain amount of brand knowledge and cachet has built the street cred for his/her word to actually mean something.
The clout doesn’t lie
There has been, for the longest time, four general levels of Influencers:
1. Celebrities (think the Kardashians)
2. Publishers (bloggers, vloggers, and social media)
3. Fans (customers and stakeholders)
4. Friends (friends, family and coworkers)
This is not a hard and fast rule and the pecking order can change at any time. New research in fact claims that social media influencers might have nearly as much clout as a friend or neighbor—and brands know how to harness these new household names.
The social megaphone
Influencer marketing, according to an article on Social PR Chat, “Taps into the social megaphone of high-profile industry experts to carry your brand’s message.”
They are the ultimate connection between your brand and a consumer.
To explain it more in layman’s terms, brands often seek out influencers using the formula RRR (Reach, Relevance, and Resonance) to promote their brand in exchange for financial reward or exposure.
Who loves ya, baby?
According to a joint study by Twitter and analytics firm Annalect, “Around 40 percent of respondents said they’ve purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, Vine or YouTube.” Also, 20 percent of respondents said they shared something they saw from an influencer, while one-third of millennials say they follow a creator on Twitter or Vine.
Twitter VP of market research and insights Jeffrey Graham explains that, “What this is telling us is that you don’t have to be a mass media star or a household name to be influential and actually drive people to buy stuff.” This whole cadre of influencers, comments Graham, through social media (especially Twitter) are driving a lot of purchases by a lot of people.
Numbers don’t lie
Influencer marketing, explains the article on Social PR Chat, is effective because the relationship is two-fold. That is, “It gives brands reach within their target demographics and an influencer holds a lot more weight and trust for products.” Thus there are four reasons influencer marketing is not going away any time soon…
- Cost effective:Marketers who implemented an influencer marketing campaign earned an average of $6.85 in media value for every $1 they spent on paid media.
- High ROI: 81% of marketers say influencer marketing is effective.
- Gaining consumers’ trust: 92% of consumers trust recommendations from personal connections, while only 33% trust ads.
- Has mass popularity:74% of all marketers plan to use influencer marketing this year.
It’s who you know
Who you know has always been important. But who wields that influence is changing. Influencer marketing continues to become more and more accessible to any size business or campaign. The key, say many industry analysts, is in balancing the reach and influence without losing the authenticity and passion that makes the influence marketing so…influencial.