Broadly defined, Influencer Marketing is a marketing communications tool that uses a 3rd party content creators to advocate a brand’s intended messaging. It is a 3Rs tactic that draws on the appeal and authenticity of an Opinion Leader. It is structured to effectively Reach a target group of audience with a Relevant narrative that will Resonate and ultimately, influence their purchase habits.
It is a hybrid word-of-mouth solution that curates a powerful branding story by marrying the chosen influencers image. Brands leverage this delicate existing trust influencers have with their followers to achieve quality conversions.
If you think Influencer Marketing is just another trending fad, think again.
Social media has become an integral part of our lives. A research conducted in 2019 found that in the US alone, 70% of the total digital media time is spent on mobile. Brands collaborate with social media influencers to get the necessary communication out and grow their market share. The aged old formula is: the higher the follower count, the better. Rookie mistake.
While a high follower count could indicate the affability of the personality, it is not indicative of the next Marketing trending term: Engagement. It is the equivalent of experiential a.k.a, how does a brand / product make someone feel. This expression commonly comes in the form of likes, comments and shares (download counts for some).
More and more brands are seeking smaller influencers as one of their dedicated communication channels and it is easy to see why.
*For simplicity’s sake, all examples will be referenced on the Instagram platform.
Influencer A has 1 million followers. A post from him will garner an average of 3 000 likes, 60 comments and about 20 shares.
Influencer B has 10 000 followers. A post from her will garner an average of 2 000 likes, 50 comments and about 10 shares.
Who has a better engagement rate? B.
Likes matter, but remember, it is only vanity. You will likely get a better conversion rate with Influencer B because she has built a tighter connection with her followers. They are keener to respond to whatever she puts out. Her post will be able to convey your brand’s / product’s experiential value more effectively and get you the best bang for every buck. This is Niche Micro-Influencer Marketing.
Hands up, if you ever get irritated whenever you are on call with an automated system. We understand that the system is there for efficiency, but why are we immediately turned off when we hear the first signs of a system? This is because we want the human connection.
Influencer Marketing advocates for the human touch that today’s audience craves. Brands use influencers as part of their communication extension for the sole purpose of an effective connection. Consumers today require a whole different checklist from the ones a decade ago. One thing still remains consistent, that is the ability to speak the tongue of your target audience’s language. Micro-influencers have this edge over mega ones. Their followers' pool maybe small, but attention is paid to constructing the bridge of understanding. At this junction, it is more focused on creating a valued following base as compared to a figure orientated following. Why? Branding matters.
Gone are the days when one would grab any opportunity that knocks on the door. In the current context, Mirco-influencers have the freedom to design their frame and selectively advocate for a brand. This is why their followers listen to them. Brands steer towards the smaller personalities simply because they have already weed out unnecessary noise that will obstruct their communication plan. Look past the numbers, it is about who is able to tip the scale.
Instagram Story was one of the initiatives that were launched to counter Snapchat’s. It was first conceptualized on the idea of providing additional context for the feed’s post. This changed when users used it as a tool to avoid ruining their curated feed. Since its launch, it saw the success of having 500 million active users worldwide in 2019.
This feature allowed influencers to interact on an intimate note with their audience as part of their engagement strategy. (Think: voting stickers, Ask Me Anything etc.) Micro-influencers can now fully optimize their reach with dedicated branded stories with Giphy, and launch a 24hr research campaign through the creative use of “Ask Me Anything” that integrates aspects of their personal lives with the brand / product.
Very soon, it saw an upward trend in Instagram Live that even Rihanna is using to reach out to her followers about her product. This level of unscripted intimacy was highly sought after since the endemic and worked favourably to create brand affinity and affability.
The overnight success of TikTok is proof that videos still reign supreme. TikTok provided a never before brand awareness outreach. In a 2019 survey, it was revealed that TikTok saw a growth rate of 38%. Videos go viral through a magnitude of factors, but closer inspection of viral videos reveal that Relatability is credited to their skyrocketed fame. Influencer Marketing today taps heavily on this aspect because it is what differentiates its tactic from the traditional one-size-fits-all methodology. More and more companies are valuing this and shifting their focus to engaging influencers to connect with their audience more effectively because “they just geddit”.
Influencer marketing trends and strategies have been around longer than we think. It merely evolved with time and the birth of smartphones gave us unprecedented convenience to the world wide web. Creative usage of online platforms provided the freedom to choose the way we consume our content and has made Traditional Marketing almost obsolete. If you still think Influencer Marketing is a trending fad, consider the factors that made you tap “follow” on some of the personalities.