With 3.6 billion of the world’s population on social media, that is almost half the population! In developed countries that number goes up to over 70% of the population. The social media user base has also grown exponentially. It has also begun to be more representative of the broader population. Young adults were the earliest social media adopters and continue to dominate its usage at high levels, but usage by older adults has increased in recent years as they gradually catch up.
With such a large percentage of the population plugging in, inevitably all these people look up to different forms of influencers on social media to guide them with aspects of their decision making. Some people have found an opportunity to turn these numbers into money through a phenomenon known as influencer marketing.
But before we go any further, what is an Influencer?
Influencers are people who have built some form of reputation due to their knowledge and expertise on a specific topic. Social media influencers represent independent, third-party endorsers who shape the audience’s attitudes through social media channels like blogs, tweets, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. They create content promoting particular brands to obtain an organic following and brand recognition. They make regular posts of topics on their preferred social media channel and therefore generate large followings of enthusiastic, engaged people who pay close attention to their views and are inclined to change their decision making, hence these people are social influencers.
Influencer marketing is the process by which individuals who align with a specific brand are identified and recruited to engage in conversations with a brand’s customers. This trend is mostly used in public relations initiatives. This strategy is centered primarily on social media, creating an opportunity for brands to market through social media. The use of social media has broken the barriers between the consumer and the brand, changing the way the two interact.
1- Lifestyle Influencers & Personalities
With media and technology advancements, companies now have a wide range of outlets in which they can market their products. These options have led to the evolution of how social media influencer marketing is utilized. People are now representing companies through branded content on their social media accounts, such as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Tick-Tock, and YouTube. Consumers are seeking validation from fellow consumers to influence their purchasing decisions.
The rise of social media is opening up new channels for brands to connect with consumers at a more intimate and organic level. Social media brand influencers are becoming one of the biggest marketing and public relations trends, particularly those who promote lifestyle brands. Lifestyle influencers focus on products non-celebrity individuals use in their everyday lives. Marketing campaigns can now capture the attention of specific brand consumers and promote relevant and relatable content to clients.
2- Authenticity in an Influencers work
An influencer must come across as authentic and relatable. They must also be genuine, honest, and open with their followers. Authenticity allows an influencer to relate with followers at a deeper level and helps in building a relationship between followers and the brand. Creating authentic content allows influencers to share their thoughts and opinions in a relatable manner that consumers can envision.
3- Utilize alternative platforms
There is no single platform that can satisfy every demographic. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Tick-Tock and Snapchat all have their strengths and weaknesses. For instance, Twitter is powerful when it comes to dealing with PR in real-time, if a brand is not on that platform it might miss the opportunity to convert a follower into a loyal brand client.
Worse still, if it was a customer complaint, the brand’s inability to quell the fire might cause severe damage to the brand. The elder demographic is located on Facebook, and missing out on this platform might alienate that segment of the market. Being on the right platform at the right time is immensely beneficial. Simultaneous use of all these powerful channels will defiantly be worthwhile in the long run
4- Enhancing Relationships with Followers
The beauty of social media is that there is a two-way channel of communication. Traditional marketing practices would have commercials blaring their message to consumers with no return channel to hear the views and concerns of consumers. Now followers have the opportunity to talk to influencers and the opportunity for the influencer to interact and respond to the consumers in real-time.
This two-way conversation provides the opportunity for the influencer to promote the product through a personal recommendation, which has the possibility of turning followers into a brand consumer. The ability of an influencer sharing with followers first-hand experiences of how a product can benefit them allows a consumer to connect to the brand in a new and innovative way.
5- Influencer Confidence
When influencers are confident in themselves, the same energy is transcended into confidence in the brand. This confidence leaves a lasting impression on followers and causes them to consider becoming a consumer of the product. It is widely thought that the best customers are derived from influencer marketing since the relationship between brand and consumer began with the trust of the influencer
Social media has broken traditional boundaries that existed before its rise to prominence, and consumers now expect a two-way channel in communication. Furthermore, consumers are more likely to find one of their own, who is more relatable than a celebrity, marketing a product they have no attachment to. For example, fashion influencers promoting brands are most successful in interacting with consumers when they are authentic, confident, and interactive in their content.
The use of social media influencer marketing has broken down the wall between the consumer, the brand, and followers through social media content. Before the rise of social media influencers, advertising to brand consumers was a one-sided affair and consumers would only see a product through print advertisements, billboards, radio, and television. Now consumers can interact with a product through social media in real-time.
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