What do you think of when you hear the word influencer? Is it celebrity? Power? Social media? Or perhaps even Generation Z? However, more importantly do you know what an influencer has to do with marketing?
The term ‘influencer’ became prevalent when social media came into fruition. An ‘influencer’ is an individual who has the power to affect the purchase decision of others due to the ‘influence’ they withhold over their online audience. Most influencers have built a reputation for their expertise or knowledge, however as time progressed influencers have become simply known for their talent, ‘fame’, or creativity. ‘Influencers’ were originally born over a decade ago from the platform, YouTube. Make-up artists, content creators, and fitness junkies began uploading video content to the platform and people instantly fell in love with following their lives. As new social media platforms have come into popularity such as Instagram and TikTok, influencers are known for modelling, cooking, and anything far or in-between. These influencers slowly built a following of enthusiastic, engaged people who pay close attention to their content. Inevitably these followers look up to influencers in social media to guide them with their decision making. This led to the extremely powerful business growth strategy of influencer marketing.
Over the last decade we have seen social media grow rapidly in importance, gaining over 3.4 billion active users around the world (that’s 45% of the world population)! Due to their millions of followers, influencers quickly attained attraction from brands for their ability to create trends and encourage their followers to buy the products or services they promote. You can imagine that if you had one influencer tell their 5 million followers to buy your product, it would have a positive effect on your sales. It is important to note that influencers are not only marketing tools but rather relationship assets with which brands can collaborate to achieve marketing objectives. So whilst influencers can be used a fantastic strategy to grow your business, there are a few pitfalls you must be aware of…
As the success of ‘influencer marketing’ has become prevalent to brands, the more sought after influencers have become. Depending on an influencers social media following, they will charge businesses a certain price in exchange for their promotional content. Some influencers may demand hundreds of dollars per promotional post on their profile or an ongoing fee for regular content. Therefore you must budget for influencer marketing and have a good “guestimate” that the profit will outweigh the expense. If you are a smaller business who cannot afford this, the trick is to find micro-influencers who have a smaller following. Some of these influencers will promote your products or services for free in exchange for your product or service. These influencers will usually have less than 20,000 followers.
It is extremely important that your business researches an influencer before beginning collaboration. You must understand the influencer and their audience to ensure they align with your business’ values. It would not make sense to have a fitness influencer promote your delicious cake decorating business. If you are a cake business, it is best to find an influencer who exudes a love for lifestyle, dining out, cooking etc. Remember their followers are following them because they look up to the individual for guidance and expertise in subjects of importance to them. Therefore ensure you influencer has influence over an audience that would be interested in buying your product or service. This is why it is great to collaborate with a marketing agency to help you with this process.
There have been many failed influencer marketing campaigns due to influencers promoting something that cannot be delivered. Just look to the famously failed Fyre Festival. The company used famous celebrity influencers to sell “the luxurious festival of your dreams”, that was really an unorganised, unplanned horror show (watch the ‘Fyre Festival’ documentary on Netflix). It is imperative your influencers are not incorrectly marketing your products or services, it must be based upon truth or you will have some very angry customers.
Influencers can be incredible at selling something and have proven to convert promotion into sales, so just make sure your marketing is truthful. If you would like to attract more customers through social media marketing, we would love to help you!