Influencer marketing may sound like a twenty-first-century term, however, this marketing strategy has existed since the 1930s. Coco Chanel is recognized as one of the first to successfully execute influencer marketing as we know it today. She understood the power of influential figures and their impact on consumers in the fashion industry. This is one of many early examples of marketers who understood ways to navigate a competitive industry through influencer marketing and endorsement.
In today’s digital world, marketers utilize the power of social media and the trust users have in their favorite accounts. As a result, social media influencers have grown in popularity. The days of relying on fake celebrity endorsements are over. Social media users continue to gather inspiration and information from their favorite influencers. According to Forbes, the influencer marketing industry is projected to reach a value of $15 million in 2022. For context, Forbes reported the influencer marketing industry at $8 million in 2020.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing has increased in popularity throughout recent years due to the rapidly evolving digital world and focuses on influential people disseminating a brand’s message to their network. Working with influencers to reach your intended audience is a viable alternative to buying a traditional advertisement in a specific market.
What makes influencer marketing such an effective tool?
Traditional advertising has served as the primary method to market products and services for years. In recent times, influencers have built large audiences and established themselves as trustworthy. When social media users see their favorite influencers promote a product, they immediately associate it with someone they admire. Influencer marketing is a way to generate genuine interest in a product or service. In an ideal world, effective influencer marketing encourages a purchase or referral. In most cases, influencer marketing introduces a user to a new product, leading to a future purchase.
Selecting an influencer that fits your brand, product offering or service is essential. Consider an influencer in the same way you would your favorite brand – they have a following of like-minded users and can reach a specific market segment. Although seeking an influencer with millions of followers sounds appealing, their motives and target audience are not always a perfect fit.
Influencers with a large following tend to reach a broad, undefined audience. If your main goal is to tap into a niche market, working with a micro-influencer or nano-influencer will yield a greater return on investment.
Increased engagement with micro-influencers
We consider any influencer with 10,000 to 500,000 followers a micro-influencer. Influencers in this bracket typically receive greater engagement and have audiences interested in their lifestyle. These influencers have worked hard for their credibility and continue to push content to build their follower base. Users follow their pages closely and habitually check for new content. They develop connections with their favorite influencers that feel genuine and personal, which is rarely a characteristic of traditional advertising.
The rise of the nano-influencer
Working with a nano-influencer is a smart way to tap into a small community of consumers for those targeting very niche markets. Nano-influencers are generally more accessible and have established themselves as trustworthy figures within their groups. In an Ad Age article, Danielle Wiley, CEO of Sway Group, states, “Nano-influencers’ followers view them as peers and tend to trust their brand and product recommendations over those from larger influencers.” This tells us that consumers are receptive to their tastes and preferences as they look to emulate the lifestyles of their favorite influencers. This is a more amplified version of word-of-mouth marketing which has always been on marketers’ radar. With technology like social media, brands can activate strategic campaigns engaging with nano-influencers.
Initiating an influencer marketing strategy
Once you have selected an influencer that meets your promotional needs, the next step is pitching the influencer on your marketing strategy. Effectively communicating the subject, timing and social media platforms you would like the influencer to use is key for a successful endorsement. Make sure the influencer is compensated for their efforts, whether a paid promotion or something for trade.
Businesses must begin to cater to their audiences and tap into the channels they use most. Successful organizations meet their target audience where they are. We believe that social media platforms will maintain their status as primary information outlets for many consumers. Now more than ever, social media users are active consumers as they scroll through their feeds, searching for engaging and relatable content from their favorite influencers.