As consumers, we’ve begun to pride ourselves on our self-sufficiency and cynicism. No longer victims of blatant advertising, it takes a lot more than a couple of catchy tunes and a billboard ten-storeys high to sell us a product. Effective advertising has always required a certain amount of nous, but marketers definitely face an uphill battle these days. Or at least they did, until the rise of the influencer. So, what is influencer marketing?
Similar to word of mouth marketing, influencer marketing makes great use of social media personalities by essentially getting them to sell to us through social media. This marketing method is effective because recommendations from people we know or trust are generally held in much better stead than those coming from a direct advertisement. And even though we may not necessarily know the influencers we follow on Instagram or Twitter, the intimate insights they provide into their daily lives certainly makes it feel like we’re old friends – so we’re more liable to trust their opinion.
Before, it used to be just the celebs that could effectively endorse and sell a product. Now, everyone from Instagram models to bloggers have become effective influencers. The close connection they can cultivate between themselves and their loyal following (even if there’s thousands of them) makes them seem much more trustworthy and authentic. Influencer marketing allows a brand to connect directly to their customers. When a popular leader associates themselves with a brand, that brand is able to amplify their voice and reach a much larger proportion of their target audiences. It’s much cheaper to advertise through an influencer than it is to advertise through more traditional mediums like television and radio. It’s also a decidedly more organic approach, with the advertisements essentially weaved in through our social media feeds, removing the feel of being ‘sold’ to while still promoting products.
Influencers can help a brand reach its potential by creating a trusting, close relationship between the consumers and the product. If you’re looking to utilise this effective, innovative form of marketing, begin by properly defining your target audience. As a brand, you should know exactly the type of customer you want to serve, and why you’d be so effective in meeting their needs. Where do they hang out online? Do they prefer Twitter over Instagram? Periscope over YouTube? By finding out where they are, you’ll get better insight into who they’re following, who they admire, and whose opinions they trust most.
The next step is to find the right influencers to send out the right message. Search engines such as Upfluence, GroupHigh and Traackr can assist you in this, but you can also take a less formal approach by simply following, sharing and engaging with chosen influencers. While this might take longer, it creates a connection that feels much more natural – which is, really, what influencer marketing is all about.
Author: Ronsley Vaz
Ronsley is the founder & chief day dreamer at AMPLIFY. He is an author, speaker & serial entrepreneur.
He has a Masters’ degree in Software Engineering and an MBA in Psychology and Leadership. He is known as the creator of We Are Podcast – the first Podcasting Conference in the Southern Hemisphere, and the host of The Bond Appetit Podcast and Should I Start a Podcast. He has an audience of over 3 million in 133 countries.