The traditional means of marketing has given way to the new age, modern, socially viable means of marketing for the consumers of today. Who are these consumers? They are a generation of mobile-friendly beings, with a low attention span owing to their quick-paced life. They have the news of the world at their finger-tips and thus, are smart enough not to be duped. Most companies realising this fact, understood that they need a more evolved means of marketing as they now cannot be enticed into believing in their product through outdated means.
Therefore, companies are trying to reach their consumers through a medium that dominates the social, political, economic and personal space of the world- the internet. Influencer marketing is one such means that dominates the digital world today.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is where a company, instead of speaking for itself and promoting its own goods or services, uses the popularity of famous online bloggers or industry leaders or people with huge number of followers to reach its prospective consumers. Sometimes, when companies promote their own goods or services, no matter how genuine or truthful, people treat it as a marketing gimmick and ignore them, whereas if the same thing is told by someone they know or follow then they are all ears and the message is delivered in no time. Surveys suggest that influencer marketing is leading with 22% as the fastest growing marketing channel, followed by organic search with 17%, email with 15%, paid search with 14%, display advertising with 9%, affiliate marketing with 5%, and others with remaining 18%. Let us now try to understand who these influencers are.
Who are Influencers?
Influencers are industry leaders or subject matter experts, high profile celebrities, award winning personalities or veterans by experience, who are highly active on social media and have gained the trust of many social media users which gives them the power to be believed and followed devotedly. The brands find the right influencers for their product and partner with them strategically to position their product or service in front of the prospective customers. The influencer uses all possible opportunities to promote the product and advocates the benefits of using that by claiming to be a user herself/ himself. That way the brand gets to ride on the credibility of the influencer and connect with its followers. In turn influencers are paid for their help in reaching out to the target customer. There are 4 kinds of influencers- celebrities, friends and family, customers and online bloggers. When a product starts getting popular through any of these mediums and it is heard about repetitively, it is bound to convince the target customer.
How has influencer marketing been used in an extremely creative way?
Having understood who the influencers are, it is going to be interesting to know some creative methods of influencer marketing used by certain brands successfully.
Lord and Taylor:
Fashion brand Lord and Taylor collaborated with 50 instagram influencers in 2015 and asked them to wear a specific dress on a specific day for an incentive ranging from $1000-4000. It eventually reached 11.4 million instagram users triggering 328K action on Lord and Taylors’ account. The dress sold out in no time.
Read this article for some more examples of successful influencer marketing campaigns
Why is Influencer Marketing gaining popularity?
Let us evaluate some pros and cons of Influencer marketing. This will help you understand when to use it and when to avoid it.
1. It is the easiest, quickest and cheapest means of reaching out on a massive scale.
2. It gives access to a lot of talent and can be used in all social media platforms. A brand is spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing influencers.
3. The work-flow becomes quite simple as it saves the brand from all the legal hassles involved in other kinds of marketing techniques.
4. The data and reports of customer opinion is delivered on spot. It helps in search engine optimization.
Albeit the pros of Influencer Marketing are quite admirable, the cons cannot be ignored.
1. There always are negative influencers hired by competitors to secretly do the dirty business of tainting a brand’s image.
2. There is always the risk of fake accounts created to lure brands into paying for nothing.
3. It is only digital, therefore, any brand seeking magazine coverage cannot use it.
4. The cost depends on a variety of factors and thus, it may sometimes be not suitable for smaller business or start-ups.
5. Heavy competition creates consumer mistrust- sometimes the influencer starts promoting too many brands. They become professional influencers who work for monetary gains and sell the products they do not actually believe in, thus losing the power of influencing.
Influencer Marketing Platforms available today and future prospects
There are several platforms available today for influencer marketing like facebook, snapchat, twitter, instagram, pinterest, and blogs. According to Forbes magazine, Facebook is trying to own the entire influencer marketing space by creating a platform named “brand collabs manager” which brings together the influencers and the brands. It matches the brand requirements with the influencer portfolio and expertise to create a suitable and mutually beneficial bond. There are many tools that helps brands in connecting with the most appropriate influencer matching their requirements. Some such tools are- Digital Influencer, blogadda , blogmint, indiblogger, Tap Influence, Musefind, Tomoson etc.
Surveys suggest that 81% success rate has been seen in influencer marketing and that 84% marketers plan on influencer marketing in the next 12 months. So, where the new trend is shifting towards digital media and variegated forms of internet marketing where influencer marketing is believed to be reigning supreme.
What do you think will be your approach towards Influencer Marketing?