In a day and age when the average person spends more time scrolling through social media than reading a newspaper, influencers, also known as internet celebrities, have become household names. The fact that their massive followings trust their opinions on various topics, from beauty products to online courses, is constantly transforming the dynamic landscape of marketing and entrepreneurship.
What is an Influencer?
The term influencer refers to individual social media content creators with a large following. These individuals have generally garnered a reputation for their expertise within their niche over a period of time and are admired and trusted by their following. Thus, they have a certain amount of influence over the opinions and actions of those that follow them.
Traditional vs Influencer: what makes influencer marketing different?
Be it the mind-numbing drone of streaming platform interruptions or massive billboards on the drive to work, our exposure to advertisements is endless. We are so constantly bombarded with advertisements that we as a society have learned to tune them out.
It is a simple fact that people tend to place their trust in other individuals and relate to them more than faceless organizations. In the modern world, YouTube product reviews and Instagram recommendations are the new word of mouth.
In her Ted talk titled “How Influencers Have Transformed Modern Marketing”, the President of Hashtag Communications, Rachel David, says that up to 60% of in-shop purchase decisions are influenced by what the individual has seen on social media or blog posts. This makes social media influence a major asset where marketing is concerned, putting considerable power in the hands of popular content creators.
|Traditional Marketing||Influencer marketing|
|Includes billboards, newspaper and magazine adverts, television commercials, etc.||Includes social media posts, video content, blog posts, etc.|
|Is a corporate endeavor by the brand itself.||Is organically seeded content via a trusted third party.|
|Usually directed at older audiences.||Usually directed towards younger audiences|
|Costs brands substantial budgets to produce||Costs the influencer little to nothing as they have their own production set up.|
|Require the brand to buy space in increasingly competitive media spaces||Content is directly distributed to the influencer’s audience, who may share it further.|
|Advertising from the brand itself may not be deemed trustworthy.||Trust in the influencer gives the audience trust in the product.|
|It is difficult to gauge the number of leads generated from the advertisement.||An influencer can keep track of how many times their post has been interacted with and how it is being perceived.|
Why do brands love influencer marketing?
Major brands are showing interest in influencer marketing because influencers, as individual content creators, do the work of many different agencies rolled into one.
As influencers are content creators, they come up with their own creative concepts that integrate the brand, have their own production setup, are their own talents and actors and their large following facilitate the distribution of their work.
The trust between an influencer and their following is developed organically through interaction over a period of time. Companies cannot hope to achieve this via a corporate setup.
This trust puts a sense of accountability on the influencer. Followers expect the influencer to genuinely care about their well-being and not recommend products that would harm them. Therefore, an influencer’s loyalty to a brand inspires confidence towards the brand from their following, translating into potential customers for the brand.
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