With increasing availability to the internet in the remotest parts of our world, our society has become even more digital than we perceived when social media was first an emerging concept. The advantages of access to such a digital community are even more evident during the coronavirus pandemic that we are presently weathering.
What is an Influencer?
For those of you that are just getting started with the concept of influencer marketing, let's take a look at what defines an Influencer? An influencer is someone who can use their relationship with an individual and their expertise in a subject matter to influence the behavioral decisions of an individual (their audience). Their audience is a community that they engage with regularly. In marketing studies, it is believed that the first-ever influencers dated back to the middle ages (500 AD – 1500) when the King and the Pope would use their influence over their audiences to promote the use of modern medicine.
The idea of influence over an audience as a result of relationships and subject matter expertise always prevailed in politics; however, the concept only became a reality for the average consumer once social media was introduced. Social media influencers are the individuals on social media that have created an audience for themselves by becoming subject matter experts through consistent posts on platforms and regular engagement with their audience. As with the increasing number of social media platforms and variance in the kinds of niche content being discussed online, there is a depth and divergence in the types of influencers available today. While the numbers and exact definitions are always fluctuating with the increasing availability of new social media channels, some ways we can segregate influencers are:
By the number of followers
- Nano influencers
- Fewer than 1000 followers
- Followers that display a high level of engagement
- Very specialized content and niche
- Between 1000 – 40,000 followers
- Influencers that build a stronger relationship with their audiences and can develop communities using engaging discussions
- Macro Influencers
- Between 40,000 – 1 million followers
- This kind of influencer includes newer and less known celebrities or individuals that are well known for being knowledgeable about a particular topic and have been associated with the topic for a while
- Easily accessible for large brand activations
- Mega Influencers
- Over 1 million followers
- Includes A-list celebrities, Industry experts in specialized fields, professional athletes and the likes
- Not as easily accessible for smaller brands
- Associated with very high costs
By the kind of content and the channel
- TikTok, Reddit, and other niche platforms
How has Influencer marketing in 2020 grown?
Influencers play an integral role in developing communities, sharing content, and stimulating discussions. The influencer marketing industry has also propped up concepts like virality and sensationalism, which are now vital in successful marketing campaigns today. The reason influencer marketing is such a phenomenon today is partly due to the influencer's understanding of their audiences, the tailored content influencers provide to their users, and the trust that influencers share with their viewers. To put into perspective the impact that influencer marketing has had, the influencer marketing industry is poised to reach $9.8 billion in value in 2020. According to a study with 4000 marketing agencies, brands, and other industry professionals, it was found that:
Larger brands have shown a 300% increase in the use of micro-influencers
Brands also integrate twice as many content creators in their marketing campaigns as compared to two years ago.
91% of the respondents of the same survey also stated that they believed influencer marketing was effective in achieving their marketing objectives.
How does Influencer marketing in 2020 impact the consumer?
Many studies focus on the impact of Influencer marketing strategies on Millennials (born between 1981-1996) and Generation Z (anyone born after 1997) as these are the generations that grew up using technology. The integration of social media and digital presence in the lives of these generations has resulted in critical behavioral and psychological changes in these consumers. These changes, as listed below, are essential to note in understanding how to best reach these consumers and in leveraging influencer marketing in 2020 efficiently. A study of 1300 millennials with regards to their purchase behaviors and motivations identified the following insights:
Before completing a purchase, a third of millennials rely on blog posts from reputed sources to evaluate their choices
43% of millennials favor brands that are authentic and that they can trust, as opposed to the content they share
Over 60% of millennials said they would be more likely to be loyal to a brand that they interact with regularly on social media
40% of millennials said that their purchase decision was inspired by influencers promoting the product
The whole dynamic of trust between consumers, influencers, and brands is key to a successful influencer marketing strategy. Brands need to be aware of the kind of influencer they are working with in order to build stronger brand loyalty with the users that share the same values and hence to make the most effective use of their marketing spends.
After understanding the basis of influencer marketing and learning the impact of the influencer marketing strategy to persuade consumer behavior, it is time to create an influencer marketing strategy. Creating an influencer marketing strategy requires you to have a deep understanding of the consumer and the kind of influencers that include your target consumer in their audiences. This will require a deep dive into the types of strategies that influencers use to reach their audiences, and we will further explore this topic on the next blog post. To learn more about digital marketing, have a look at some of our other articles on the Be Digital Mind.