A subset of Online Marketing
Influencer Marketing (IM) is very similar to that of traditional marketing practices where certain individuals endorse or advocate a particular product, service, or brand through advertisements. In other words, it is a tweaked form of popularizing a brand adopting modern platforms – social media channels. The Internet Marketing is not only used to extract a better ROI but also to improve awareness and social approval of a brand.
Just as the term says, the individual merely but significantly, influences or impacts the purchasing capacity or the choices made by the customer; but may not necessarily be held accountable for those choices. They are usually third-parties who are not directly involved with the brands they are vouching for. They can be anyone from famous personalities to even everyday consumers. The idea is to influence others choice while choosing a product.
How does IM work?
The fact that Influencers usually have a large fan-base or follower count, makes it quite easy to reach your target audience. Since they share a strong level of trust with their followers or fans, it gives them the power and authority to affect their choices. It is this trust factor that is used to coax the target audience to pick that trendy pair of shoes or the like. Through their own posts or content they recommend or in most cases, suggest products and brands to potential buyers.
The power of such marketers was not born in a day, as they have to work at building trust and reputation among people, which in turn takes more time to increase that count. Hence, an individual begins to have that effect on people because of his/her knowledge, position, and experience in a field or niche; and the nature of relationship with their audience. They are individuals who grow up to a level where even a single word of approval from them may engage many potential buyers for the product. In an interview with Business Insider, Krystal Bick, social media influencer said: "I think the power of influencer marketing is the inherent trust that I think we all built with the people who follow and read our blogs."
With the popularity of social media platforms, many have taken to these spaces to explore and know more about what their favorite role-models say. Most of these “approvals” or recommendations circulate top platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube. Quite a lot of Instagram influencers have sprung up as well. They often take to blogging, posting videos, writing reviews, and even sharing pictures of themselves trying out new products. It can be considered as testimonials that have high chances of acceptance. The New York Times has rightly stated that “Influencers offer brands the ability to amplify their messages at a relatively low cost.”
There are four major types, but all of them have unique control over what they market. They either influence through paid or unpaid marketing.
Celebrities – We can say that IM found its base from here. Time and again, celebrities have been a great source of influence over the public’s purchasing ability. Even so in the internet world. While they are known as brand ambassadors in traditional marketing spaces movie stars, sportspersons, political leaders, social activists, etc. are now known to be in the process of hauling in buyers on social media as well.
Industry experts and thought leaders – This group include journalists, educators, industry experts, professional advisors, analysts, business consultants, experienced practitioners, etc. They are highly preferred, thanks to their knowledge and expertise in specific products, fields, or business ventures. Their familiarity and ability to review helps in providing trustworthy insights.
Bloggers and YouTubers – Blogging has taken marketing to a different level of communicating and convincing potential buyers into successfully becoming consumers. As of date, this seems to be the most authentic way of building confidence among people. Bloggers who can create a personal relationship with their readers can influence their thought process easily.
Micro Influencers – These are everyday people who simply have a large follower count that can be used as leverage. Their skills and sense of awareness in specific niches give them the power to spread the word from first-hand experiences. They often share a high level of interaction with their followers. Although they don’t have a greater hold over the public, their minuscule yet powerful presence on Facebook help flourish many communities of consumers.
The Simple Rule to Make the Best of Influencers
Having worked hard to earn trust and credibility among their audience, nobody would jump into endorsing a product without first checking your product. Likewise, only when these “experts” are convinced, will they decide whether it is worth their time, energy, and reputation. The key is, to market to them before getting them to market for you. Target them before you target their audience to build your brand awareness. Every Influencer has a unique personality of their own. The more we understand that, the better is our approach to them.