Within the past few years, you have probably heard a great deal about social media influencer marketing. Although it has caught the digital marketplace by storm, there seems to be some confusion about what it’s all about. While you may have a basic understanding 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.
The opposite is often true. Influencer marketing has become so successful that it is now a significant emphasis in graduate programs like Emerson’s Online Masters in Digital Marketing. If there was ever any doubt in your mind about just how effective market influencers can be, this should give you an excellent clue!
What is the concept 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. It was highly effective today in its humblest beginnings, 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 is a massive difference between a celeb endorsing a product or brand and a market influencer telling you why they recommend something. As we said above, we love our celebrities, but that doesn’t mean they know anything about a product other than the fact that they like it!
A social media influencer, on the other hand, is purported to be an expert concerning what they are recommending. Therefore, if Bill Gates posted his picture on Instagram, which he did, by the way, with the 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 an expert in the field. However, he is also a prominent celebrity 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.
Benefits of Influencer Marketing to Grow Your Business
Now that you’ve had a basic rundown of what influencer marketing is all about, it’s time to explore some of those fantastic benefits. You are already aware of one of those benefits due to the name itself: market influencers. If ever there was anyone who could promote and sell products almost effortlessly, it would be someone well-known and trusted on social media.
Here again, it isn’t always the size of that person’s following, but it is somewhat 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. Influencers Have Enormous Reach
This is perhaps one of the most critical ways market influencers can positively impact your advertising strategies. In recent years, a more significant number are fighting back against what they refer to as “obnoxious pop-up 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 make an effort to close it physically.
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 and 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 unique audiences and followers.
2. Influencers Enhance Brand Awareness
Perhaps second only to the ability to capture a market lost to a distaste for pop-up 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 pop-ups and sidebar ads. However, don’t get the idea that those 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 mere fact that the ad was seen means that the brain registered the focal point of the advertisement, if nothing more.
3. Influencer Marketing Builds Strategic 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 most extraordinary 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 market influencers must be vetted carefully regarding brands and products aimed at demographics.
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 not the case. It is surprising how many retirees spend hours a day on social sites like Facebook, Instagram, and even YouTube. Having the ability to reach a generational target market quickly is invaluable.
4. Effortlessly Drive Sales Within a Targeted Audience
It seems to be an understatement to say that market influencers can ‘easily’ reach a target audience. it is easy to center on a specific segment within the intended demographics. Still, it’s also really almost an effortless way to drive sales. You are, after all, choosing influencers that have captured a specific segment of the market. Their recommendations and endorsements are practical simply because they reach a receptive audience. That’s a significant part of what goes into making sales.
5. Influencers Easily Build Relationships For You
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 for 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. That is the key to building a lasting relationship between brand and consumer, business or private.
6. Let Influencers Promote Trust in Your Products and Brand
If one thing became apparent in the differences between how 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 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 deal with that brand or buy those products.
7. Social Media Influencers are Trend Setters
It would be interesting to research how many trends were started because a highly-visible and well-liked influencer endorsed them. Can you think of one, just one, product you had never heard of, but when a celebrity you follow on social media said you have to try it, you did?
Believe it or not, social media influencers have come into their own in terms of being the trendsetters of the 21st century. It may be because the general public reversers them, 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 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, which will make 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 complex business to tear down. Yes, geopolitical factors can affect your particular industry, and there may be downtimes in the economy. Still, you can expect a very long lifespan when all is functioning within the financial sector. That’s the long game that influencers win for your 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 many 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 generate those leads for you? They can ask their followers to sign up for email newsletters, 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 on the fence, and something stays in their shopping cart for a day or two. They can’t decide. So, what do they do?
You’ve got it! They Google your product, and if your influencer comes up on 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 of a conversion. Your shopping cart doesn’t lie!
Plus One – Influencer Marketing Is Less Expensive Than You May Imagine!
As a final note, you may not be aware 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, you can expect a high ROI. There’s no doubt about it.