While influencer marketing is not a new strategy, it has become an increasingly pertinent topic for marketers lately. Its popularity is thought to have steadily increased due to its effectiveness, especially in comparison with more traditional advertising strategies. So what is influencer marketing and how does it prove so effective?
To first navigate this marketing technique, it’s important to establish the influencer component. When it comes to influencing, an influencer does not necessarily need to have a large social media following. Rather than centering on popularity, influencing hinges on the results. As a result, an influencer is someone who is able to spur a change in consumer behavior or perception. The term, then, when applied to marketing, refers to someone who persuades consumers to buy from specific brands or companies.
Influencers tend to have a significant reach. This ability to deliver a message to a large population is an important facet of marketing. However, reach alone is insufficient. Influencers must also have credibility. In order for the influencer to gain authority within a community, the audience must trust the influencer based on perceived expertise and knowledge. For example, a certified personal trainer will have high credibility when recommending workout equipment, but low credibility when navigating politics. In addition to the aforementioned factors, another important factor in influencing is salesmanship. Influencers who have the ability to convince others of their point of view through charismatic communication are considerably successful in achieving desired results.
While traditional advertising has utilized celebrities in campaigns in the past, this dynamic is more closely associated with endorsements than influencer marketing. Consumers tend to be aware that celebrities are being paid by advertisers to promote products, so their credibility often appears less authentic. This type of advertising, then, is often limited in its effectiveness.
Influencer marketing, on the other hand, utilizes influencer reach more than it borrows from their credibility. Good influencer marketing builds sincere and intimate relationships with influencers, providing exclusive information that excites the influencers. As a result, influencers do not promote products because they are paid, but because they believe in the company and its brand or product’s usefulness to their audience. Influencer marketing hinges predominantly on honesty and authenticity.
While an influencer may speak positively or negatively about a product, it is the transparency that proves more credible and effective than traditional advertising. Successful influencer marketing leverages the influencer community’s reach, credibility, and salesmanship to serve as an advocate for company brands or products. This type of marketing increases awareness and consumer action more actively than other marketing strategies.