The Big Thing Called Influencer Marketing
Influencers. They are everywhere. Nowadays it’s hard to avoid them, whether it’s on YouTube, Instagram or Snapchat, most millenials are at least up to date with one favourite influencer. But how do companies manage these influencers? Are they making a good (or bad) use out of it? Or is it a trend that will come and go? Here are a few things you need to know on how influencers can have an impact on the growth of your company.
What is an influencer?
Before we start talking about the effects of influencer marketing, let’s have a clear vision of what an influencer is. Now one of the biggest misconceptions about influencers is that they are someone with a large social media following. This thinking confuses influence with popularity. According to Marketing Hub ‘’An influencer is an individual who has the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of his/her authority, knowledge, position or relationship with his/her audience.’’ This can be in a certain branche or niche that matches your company branche or niche it operates in.
When applying this definition to marketers, an influencer is someone who helps other people buy from you. And to do so, an influencer have to have three key factors that will help your business grow. Reach, engagement and salesmanship.
Reach: Referring to the amount of following a person has. This can be on social media, on international TV or the readership of any publication. Reach is important, but is not the standard. Influencers can have a low following, but have a high credibility and salesmanship. Those influencers are called micro-influencers.
Contextual credibility: Contextual credibility is also important and mostly the most sufficient one. It’s the level of trust and authority given by the audience based on the influencer's perceived knowledge and expertise on a specific topic. For example: you are more likely to believe and follow up fashion advice from a fashion stylist (high credibility), rather than someone who is into politics (low credibility).
Salesmanship: the way influencers communicate and present themselves in order to share and embrace their particular point of view. This has also to do with their engagement, in which they communicate with their following to keep a ‘good relationship’. There are some people who seem to have an extraordinary power to convince people of their point of view. They have an ability to explain things in convincing ways, are clear with their messages and deliver their points of view with confidence.
So how does influencer marketing work then?
Influencer marketing is not new and has been around for a couple of years now. As mentioned before, an influencer is someone who has the ability to influence a big audience to buy the product from you. The act of ‘using’ an influencer as part of your marketing mix is called ‘influencer marketing’. Here are a few ways to do it.
Give them money
The simplest way to use influencer marketing is to pay influencers or celebrities in order to let them talk about and present your product in a way you want to. Advertisers have used this methods for decades and it’s usually called celebrity endorsement. This may work, but is not exactly how we define influencer marketing. The audience knows that the celebrity or influencer is being paid, making the advertisement not as authentic as it should be.
Borrow their reach
Another way is to borrow their reach. This is how most marketers use influencer marketing today. They look for someone with a lot of Instagram followers, without looking at the content they post, and pay them to advertise a product. This is really sponsored advertising and does not maximize influencer marketing opportunities.
Trying to barter a deal
The best way to use influencer marketing is to build up a benifical relationship between you and the influencer and barter a deal. You have to understand that influencers are communicating and presenting themselves in a way only THEIR following can identify with. So when using an influencer for your niche or branch, it’s important that your company products/services matches with the content they share. They need to strengthen that.
Good influencer marketing is centered on building sincere personal relationships with influencers and sharing useful, unique, exclusive or early information. Most influencers are always curious and open for collaborations. So when having an interesting product or service, they are more likely to promote your product.
But keep this in mind
Influencer marketing should be honest and authentic. An influencer speaks about your product not because they are being paid to do so, but because they really want to and because they find your company interesting and the information useful to their following. It takes time and dedication and it must be transparent and honest. When doing properly, this can be something that will be beneficial for the long run.
As Gerardo A. Dada says: ‘’Influencer marketing leverages the reach, credibility and salesmanship of a community of influencers to talk about your product and it results in awareness, improved perception and action.’’
4th Year Graduate Student in Management Business and Technology at La Salle University