How we are consuming information has evolved and will always be evolving. One thing that has remained consistent is our opinion on word-of-mouth. Long gone are the days in which we move down the purchasing funnel after viewing a television ad or outdoor poster.
Today, a brand hopes to achieve an immediate search intent for the offering (if they still use traditional advertisements). For smaller brands with a tighter budget, this would mean the brand has to bypass much noise to reach any form of intent at all. Does this mean brands starting can only take the hand-me-downs? No. Influencer Marketing proposes an almost level playing field for brands to compete with one another.
Influencers provide almost direct access to a group of very similar-minded audiences. Just by evaluating how we decide to “follow” someone that we do not know, gives us quite the full picture of the audience type. Perhaps it is the manner of message delivery that the influencer has adopted, perhaps it is the appeal category they are in. These suggest that their following have something or things in common. Thereby, resulting in high message penetration as compared to traditional mass media marketing. Sure, you may place your physical ads in districts where your audiences are commonly found. While that may perhaps increase the chances of incidental encounters, we need to ask ourselves what we can do MORE for the message to stick.
… More often than we like to think, it is associating a familiar face to it (which is why celebrity endorsements are still quite a hit) Influencers, however, tailor the messaging and because it is online, there will also be a footprint to innovate from - eg. reposting, continuing the advertisement narrative etc.
Continuing the “word-of-mouth” thread, people want the real deal - the good, the ugly and the bad. We want to know everything. The nature of advertisements is that they are extremely biased because they are meant to induct a purchase behaviour.
Influencers while they are considered paid word-of-mouth, they communicate a more authentic message. The genesis of their existence is accumulated from the public’s opinions on their relatability, resonance and the last “R”, reliability.
Oftentimes, the majority of the influencers are working with brands that they trust and will personally use. Getting some form of remuneration is some form of perk, but their bigger objective is to build strong rapport and authority with their audience. They want to be their point of reference, and that is sufficient reason to say the truth and nothing but the truth.
This is what consumers want out of the ads that they will inevitably consume - trustworthy opinions.
Traditional marketing requires brands to have a sizable budget. Most times, this is unrealistic. Even if there is budget room, sometimes it does not guarantee value for every dollar that goes to it. This is because the total cost is distributed to cover many other things.
Brands today, big, small and medium are noticing the clear benefits of adopting influencer marketing. This is why you will see more brands popping up on your feed - whether as sponsored or just brand placements.
As a business owner or marketer, you know how important numbers are. They provide you with a benchmark to measure the success of your initiatives. While qualitative elements are also important, but that is a story for another day.
Social media platforms today provide the necessary tools for you to understand if your strategy is working. Influencers assist you in reaching more effectively to create important engagement links for your brand to climb their way to the top of mind awareness.
What are numbers if they are not used? ROI (Return on Investment) is the result of analysing (through engagements) if your ad is working. Traditional advertising provides a hazy picture of whether something is working.
With the right measuring platforms and a good marketing team/agency, a business can track how far every cent went with influencer marketing.
Social media influencers and traditional advertising are some tools of the marketing trade that help brands evolve. Some brands find it more effective to spend huge amounts of money on traditional media, while many opt to optimise the limited capital they have by capitalising on the digital realm. There is no one sure strategy just like there are many routes to success. Therefore, as a business or a brand, it is important to remain dynamic in the face of the ever-changing landscape and adapt as you grow.