Influencer marketing involves the marketing of products or services that leverages the popularity, expertise, or reputation of an individual. Influencer marketing is often associated with those who have large social media followings, but popularity should not be confused with influence. Influence has the power to change consumer perceptions or get their audience to do something different.
Influencer marketing explained
In simple terms, influencer marketing is a hybrid of old and modern marketing techniques. It harnesses the power of celebrity endorsements from the past with a modern, content-driven marketing strategy.
When researching potential influencers to partner with, businesses should assess the following characteristics:
- Reach – usually defined as the ability to deliver a message to a large group of people. However, reach is less important in influencer marketing because influencers with small followings often possess higher credibility and a more targeted audience.
- Credibility – or the level of trust an influencer enjoys because of their perceived knowledge or authority in a niche.
- Salesmanship – influencers who possess salesmanship can convince others of their point of view because it is told with confidence and conviction.
Influencer marketing is also a less transactional and more authentic form of promotion, in that there is more collaboration between brand and influencer. Collaboration means that the goals and values of both parties need to be aligned.
Importantly, businesses must respect the influencer and how they have built their audience. Successful collaborations result when businesses resist the temptation to change an influencer’s goals or values to suit their own purposes.
Why is influencer marketing important?
A study by Harris Interactive found that 90% of Americans ignore digital ads. 66% of consumers are also overwhelmed by the sheer volume of digital ads and use the quantity of such ads to consider whether to boycott certain brands.
By partnering with influencers, brands can insert themselves into consumer conversations and leverage influencer trust to reduce the chance of being ignored.
Examples of influencer marketing
To spread the word on the benefits of grass-fed beef, producer La Cense Beef collaborated with food-bloggers who had an audience of dedicated meat fanatics.
The company set up a website detailing the benefits so that influencers could spread the message about their brand in an informed and authentic fashion.
A less typical example of influencer marketing can be seen in the case of carmaker General Motors (GM). GM created an insider’s club for car fanatics who possess a deep passion and affinity for the maker.
By sharing exclusive news and offers with insider members, General Motors was able to encourage their most loyal supporters to spread the word about their brand.
- Influencer marketing is a form of marketing that utilizes those with influence in a particular industry to increase brand awareness and encourage them to take a specific course of action.
- Influencer marketing relies on shared goals and values between the concerned parties, and not on transactional arrangements.
- Conventional digital marketing is now largely ignored by consumers. Influencer marketing is seen as a more authentic marketing strategy.