Influencer marketing isn’t new within the Marketing industry, though it has become more popular in the mainstream culture over the past few years. Unlike traditional Marketing of days gone by when influencer marketing was practiced in the form of brand ambassadors and primarily the domain of celebrities’, influencer marketing is driven by content that the consumer finds engaging, entertaining, and relevant to their standpoint. With the world around us is embracing technological advancements, influencer marketing has evolved and has found its way to the forefront of Brand marketing strategies. More brands are devoting more time, resources, and attention to this tactic than ever before. Over 45% of the global population is plugged into some form of social media, this figure increases to just over 75% in the developed world. With such figures, it is no surprise brands are shifting more of their focus to influencer marketing to propel their brand presence.
What Is An Influencer?
An influencer is a social media user who has established some form of credibility in a specific industry or subject matter, for instance, formally of BBC motoring show Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson became a global phenomenal based on his delivery method when it came to motor vehicle reviews. Social media influencers have direct access to a large audience and have the ability to persuade others by how their content is authentic to the discerning public. The rise of social media has a direct correlation with influencers have become a major trend. At the end of the day, these are seemingly ‘ordinary’ people who have earned a large following due to their expertise and authenticity. As a result, more brands are using influencers to grab the attention of their target audiences. It must be noted, millennials as the largest demography on social media, are the most coveted target market as this group is less receptive to traditional marketing techniques. Brands actively seek out influencers who are trending and create content that subtly pushes a product or service to a particular market. With that said, a partnership between a brand and an influencer is mutually beneficial, since the brand successfully reaches its target audience while the influencer is paid, and their following increases.
Importance and Relevance
Believe it or not, influencers play an important role in today’s social fabric, we have all been influenced in some way or form and the brilliant aspect about this is, we were not aware we were being influenced. This is the result of some brands being aware of our negative stance towards mainstream targeted marketing, hence they enlist the services of someone who knows us so well they are our best friend. An influencer you follow is like your friend, depending on your interaction levels, they can have vital information on you that brands can only dream of having access to. Information such as purchasing history, the circle of friends, your interests, and more importantly your aspirations. With such data, it so much easier for a brand to target service or product at you. The package is sweetened by the fact that your purchase patterns are most likely to influence your friends to follow suit. Unfortunately with the onset of COVID-19, influencer marketing has taken a huge dip. Most brands have put contracts on hold, marketing spending has reduced significantly. This has put many influencers out of employment, furthermore, some influencers have noticed a drop in followers. With everyone locked inside, there has been a lack of engaging content from some influencers, this has led some of their followers to switch off. During this season influencers have had to reinvent themselves to keep their followers involved. The best they can do is to tap into the kind of content that helps followers get through the pandemic. This could be an opportunity for some to branch out into niche’s they never thought possible
For an influencer to be successful, they need to be mindful of which channel their target followers are most likely to use, for example, tech-savvy people tend to gravitate towards YouTube, blogs, and Twitter, whilst fashion-conscious females are most likely to congregate in Instagram and blogs. Furthermore, an influencer doesn’t have to stick to one channel to interact with followers, a mixture of social networks is encouraged to remain relevant with targeted demographics. In identifying these channels, an influencer can prove their value to a brand with absolute certainty.
The rise of bloggers
Nestled within the world of influencers, are bloggers. Bloggers focus on their attention on a particular niche and every single post they come up with is to glorify that niche. Because of this focused approach, bloggers do a lot of research to come up with regular content. When you do so much research on a particular topic you become the 1st port of call to someone who is looking for information on that niche, the result is people trust you. A blogger who writes on travel is successful because people find the blogger’s opinion to be dependable and thus they are willing to visit places recommended by the blogger. Thus every time a new blog is published, there is a whole community waiting on the contents of this blog, in the process creating a buzz around the blog. Of greater importance to the blog itself are the discussions generated by the blog. Whenever popular bloggers post, people discuss the content in the comments. The comments are from people who trust the blogger and they want to be part of the conversation. These comments encourage more people to participate and comment which further increases the buzz.
Social media has revolutionized how brands interact with consumers, and as an influencer to find success in this segment one has to immerse themselves in their craft to create engaging, organic content that attracts dynamic followers.