Within the past few years, you have probably been hearing a great deal about influencer marketing. Although it has caught the digital marketplace by storm, there seems to be some amount of confusion as to what it’s all about. While you may have a basic understanding of the concept of market influencers, there are levels within levels of influencers and contrary to what you might believe, a huge following doesn’t necessarily mean that this influencer will be any more effective than one with 30,000 or fewer followers. In fact, the opposite is often true. Even so, influencer marketing has become so successful that it is now a major emphasis in graduate programs like Emerson’s Online Masters in Digital Marketing. If there was ever any doubt in your mind just how effective market influencers can be, this should give you a very good clue!
The Most Basic Definition of Influencer Marketing
In its most basic definition, influencer marketing is a social media marketing strategy built on endorsements primarily from high profile figures. At least, this is how it began as a marketing strategy. The concept was simple. We love our celebs and if they recommended a product or a brand, all their fans would immediately want to see what there is to love. In its humblest beginnings it was highly effective and still is today, but with some tweaks that have amplified the results exponentially. In a moment you’ll see why and how it works that anything could be even more effective than some of the biggest name celebs’ endorsements.
Where the Road Intersects and Branches
Here is where the first twist in the road became apparent. There really is a huge difference between a celeb endorsing a product or brand and a market influencer telling you why they recommend something. As we said above, we do love our celebs but that doesn’t mean they know anything about a product other than the fact that they like it! A market influencer, on the other hand, is purported to be an expert in relation to what they are recommending. Therefore, if Bill Gates posted his picture on Instagram, which he did by the way, with a book Numbers Don’t Lie, by his self-proclaimed favorite author, Vaclav Smil, techies everywhere would be hitting the digital bookstores.
This is a prime example of the intersection and branching of the road. It is an illustration of a market influencer in that Gates is, indeed, an expert in the field. However, he is also a highly visible celeb in his own right, so it is also a celebrity endorsement. He, then, has captured both audiences. Those who trust his financial prowess will want to know what those numbers are and his loyal Microsoft fans will be hanging on every word of one of the world’s most influential men.
Let’s Take a Look at Those Amazing Benefits!
Now that you’ve had a basic rundown of what influencer marketing is all about, it’s time to explore some of those amazing benefits. One of those benefits you are already aware of due to the name itself: market influencers. If ever there was anyone who could promote and sell products almost effortlessly, it would be someone who is well-known and trusted on social media. Here again, it isn’t always the size of that person’s following but it is rather more intrinsically wound in the loyalty of those followers. As a matter a fact, micro influencers can be just as effective, if not more so, than some of the biggest name celebrities on planet earth.
1. Enormous Reach
This is perhaps one of the most important ways in which market influencers can have a positive impact on your advertising strategies. In recent years, a greater number than ever are fighting back against what they refer to as “obnoxious popup ads.” As a result, more and more people are beginning to use adblockers so that the moment an unwanted ad pops up, they don’t have to physically make the effort to close it.
Market influencers aren’t up against all that because people who watch their social media videos or follow them online are there because they want to be there. In other words, they can reach a ready market and if you consider all the tiers of influencers out there, that’s a mighty big audience. However, here it should be stated that influencers should be carefully vetted. This begins with a careful analysis of data along with a careful perusal of their online media. Influencer marketing demands both quantitative and qualitative aspects within their social media presence. They are chosen based on their own unique audiences and followers.
2. Enhanced Brand Awareness
Perhaps second only to the ability to capture a market lost to a distaste for popup ads would be the ability of social media influencers to promote brand awareness. As cited above, people who read or watch reviews are there because they want to be there. Consequently, brand awareness is grown exponentially along with the multi-tiered strategy starting with macro influencers and going all the way down to micro influencers. A majority of those ‘likes’ and ‘follows’ on an influencer’s profile will at least listen to what is being said.
That’s not something that can be said of popups and sidebar ads. However, don’t get the idea that those types of ads don’t also work, because they do – just not as well. Mostly it is an unavoidable subliminal message with the brand or product being impressed on the brain by the very fact that it was seen. Viewers may not realize it, but the very fact that the ad was seen means that the brain registered the focal point of the ad if nothing more.
3. Generation Specific Connections
It is being said that Gen-Z and Millennials are most likely to be a readymade market for influencers. They are, after all, the most active generations online. Whereas Millennials are the generation with the greatest buying power, don’t doubt that Gen-Z will be right on their tail in just a few short years. According to the latest research and the subsequent analysis of that data, Millennials overtook Boomers in 2019 and are now, officially, the generation with buying power. This is why it is so important that market influencers be vetted carefully in terms of brands and products aimed at demographics within a market.
With that being said, it should also be apparent that there are, indeed, other generations to aim marketing at. For instance, Boomers are now entering into a period in their lives where they, perhaps, have mobility issues such as climbing stairs or safely getting in and out of the tub. If you doubt that Boomers are on social media, this is purely not the case. In fact, it really is surprising just how many retirees spend hours a day on social sites like Facebook, Instagram and even YouTube. Having the ability to easily reach a generational target market is literally invaluable.
4. An Almost Effortless Way to Drive Sales within a Targeted Audience
It seems to be an understatement to say that market influencers can ‘easily’ reach a target audience. Not only is it easy to center in on a specific segment within the intended demographics, but it’s also really almost an effortless way in which to drive sales. You are, after all, choosing influencers that have captured a specific segment of the market. Their recommendations and endorsements are effective simply because they are reaching a receptive audience. That’s a major part of what goes in to making sales.
5. Easily Build Relationships
Over the years there has been so much emphasis placed on customer acquisition that many small businesses tend to forget that customer retention is equally, if not more important in some cases, than acquisition. This is especially the case of a manufacturer or retailer that sells those items being classified as “everyday products.” An influencer can have their audience loving the brand, product, or service and that, in a nutshell, is the key to building a lasting relationship between brand and consumer, business or private.
6. Promote Trust in Products and Brands
If there is one thing that became apparent in the differences between the ways in which Boomers and Millennials shopped, it would be in that one almighty word, “trust.” Whereas Boomers looked for ‘deals’ wherever they could find them, Millennials sought to buy from brands with a high trust factor. Where better to establish trust than through the endorsement or recommendation of influencers they follow? Simply put, Millennials actually want to build a relationship with brands they trust so influencer marketing is the very best way to establish trust because the influencer points out all the reasons why they, personally, deal with that brand or buy those products.
7. Market Influencers are Trend Setters
It would be interesting to research just how many trends were started because a highly-visible and well-liked influencer endorsed it. Can you think of one, just one, product you had never heard of but when a celeb you follow on social media said you just have to try it, so you did? Market influencers, believe it or not, have come into their own in terms of being the trendsetters of the 21st century. It may be because they are revered by the general public and it might even be their approach that does the trick. Remember, at this macro level of influencers, they are well-loved by their followers. “If Taylor Swift uses Capital One credit cards, I think I will too!” This is not to say that Capital One was previously unheard of, but it does indicate just how the mind of a loyal fan or follower works.
8. Influencer Marketing Is a Long Game
When you stop to think about just how effective market influencers are at building trust which leads to a lasting relationship, you will quickly understand how influencer marketing is built around the long game approach. It’s all about customer retention and that is what will build a solid foundation for any business, large or small. Each customer/client you retain is one more brick added and after cementing layer after layer of solid brick, you will have a business that is very hard to tear down. Yes, there may be geopolitical factors that can affect your particular industry and there may be down times in the economy, but when all is functioning within the financial sector, you can expect a very long lifespan. That’s the long game that influencers win for you time and time again.
9. Almost Effortless Lead Generation – On Your Part That Is!
From the moment you hire a marketing company that scouts influencers for you, you can be assured that you will be privy to an enormous number of leads. If you had the time to peruse every one of your influencers’ social media pages, you’d probably have millions of leads to follow. However, why waste valuable time and effort (that equates to money!) if your influencers are generating those leads for you? They can ask their followers to sign up for email feeds and they can post quick surveys that you can follow up on. It’s one of the most effective ways to generate leads known to man.
10. Uncanny Ability to Drive Conversions
With all that being said, it should come as no surprise that influencers have an uncanny ability to drive conversions. Maybe it’s not so uncanny after all, however, because their followers are there because they trust them. Quite often you will find a potential customer who is on the fence and something stays in their shopping card for a day or two. They just can’t decide. So, what do they do? You’ve got it! They Google your product and if your influencer comes up in the first page of the SERPs, you can bet that they will quickly click over to see what their celeb has to say. If you’ve gotten a good to great review, you can almost be assured a conversion. Your shopping cart doesn’t lie!
Plus One – Less Expensive Than You May Imagine!
As a final note, you may not be aware of the fact that hiring a marketing agency that has influencer marketing as a service might not be as expensive as you might believe. Pricing is based on the visibility and number of followers an influencer has, but when conversions are high – and they will be – you can expect a high ROI. There’s no doubt about it.