It’s not JUST for celebrities
The concept of influencer marketing takes the basic word-of-mouth principal of user-testimony and turns it inside out. Consider that marketing-inspired word-of-mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising and the resultant customers have a 37% higher retention rate.
In the past, marketing dollars were poured into celebrity endorsements, then into ads on popular bloggers’ sidebars, but today are looking to a new type of influencer focused on individuals with local (niche or geographic) reach and a meaningful relationship with their followers.
Up until recently, the influence marketing phenomenon was a concept rooted more in theory than actual practice.
BW reports that may be starting to change as a first-of-its-kind study was recently released that examines “How micro-influencers are driving buying behavior by measuring the volume and impact of their recommendations on consumers.” The study was specifically designed to examine how and why micro-influencers are more influential than the average consumer.
Whose mouth is it anyway?
Word-of-mouth goes something like this: If I like a product or service and tell a friend they may or may not decide it’s something worth checking out just based on my word. But if Jennifer Lopez endorses it, you might put more stock in the product because after all, it is Jennifer Lopez we’re talking about. Yet, if I have someone who is a subject matter expert on said service and who just happens to have 100,000 followers on Twitter you might listen even more closely.
Simply put: Micro-influencers are not traditional celebrities, but rather individuals who work in their field-of-interest and are truly knowledgeable, passionate and authentic and are seen as a trusted source when it comes to recommendations for what to buy.
A study by Dr. Jonah Berger (Marketing professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and author of the recent New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller Contagious: Why Things Catch On) and the Keller Fay Group (market research company focused on consumer word of mouth and social influence), shows that micro-influencers are a reliable and credible channel that has real impact in swaying consumer behavior.
Why micro-influencers are driving purchases
According to the data mined from the study, micro-influencers have up to 22.2 times more conversations each week regarding recommendations on what to buy versus an average consumer. Demonstrating the high impact of these recommendations, 82 percent of consumers who were surveyed for the study reported they were highly likely to follow a recommendation made by a micro-influencer.
Let’s face it: Everyone has a forum to give their opinion on just about anything. When anyone can give an opinion, regardless of how much they know about the subject, the real question becomes “Whose recommendation is authentic and credible?”
The survey seems to support that when it comes to people receiving advice, “influencers were seen as more impactful compared to an average person based on the following characteristics: more credible and believable (94 percent vs. 83 percent), more knowledgeable (94 percent vs. 84 percent) and better at explaining how the product works or could be used (92 percent vs. 83 percent).”
With numbers like that – you as a brand – may feel inclined to sink your resources into what micro-influencers have to offer as opposed to taking out a half-page ad in the local newspaper.