Why influencer marketing is here to stay
Influencer marketing refers to the use of influencers to market a brand. This form of consumer to consumer marketing has seemed stir up quite a buzz in recent years.
Being relatively new to the marketing scene, there have been doubts that have questioned its sustainability. This is especially so in today’s world with the many falsehoods and acts of deceits online. Is influencer marketing here to stay, or is it a fad? Today’s article hopes to address some uncertainties marketers face when it comes to influencer marketing and the future of influencer marketing.
History of Influencer Marketing
To better understand the sustainability influencer marketing, the history of influencer marketing should be taken into account.
While influencer marketing seems to be buzzword only in the recent decade, we can trace its roots back to decades or even centuries ago. InfluencerDB argues that influencer marketing can be seen as early as the 1920s. Where brands ‘created personas to trigger the purchase decisions of consumers emotionally’. An example would be Tony the Tiger, a well known character who graces Kellogg’s packaging.
It seems like the use of a third party in the consumer purchase journey has worked for many brands. This is seen by the longevity of this marketing strategy. What we see on social media today, is an evolved form of third party marketing.
Influencers act as the third party representing a brand and voicing up about the brand’s message. Therefore, giving FMCG companies the extra boost when it comes to consumer relations.
5 reasons why influencer marketing is irreplaceable
Influencer marketing benefit #1: Followers trust influencers
A crucial point to take note of in influencer marketing is that influencers have established a certain level of trust with their audience. Therefore, when brands collaborate with influencers, this trust is transferred onto the brands. If someone you know recommends a product, wouldn’t you be more likely to trust that product?
Likewise, influencers are well known among their followers. Therefore, what they choose to talk about tend to gain a higher level of trust among their followers.
Furthermore, social media users are likely to be more willing to see or hear product reviews from influencers who they respect.
Influencer marketing benefit #2: Relationships are Long-Term
The trend of long term partnerships with influencers seems to be on the rise. With increasing number of brands collaborating with influencers for multiple social media campaigns.
Although the old method of one time partnership with influencers is not obsolete, (helps with brand awareness) long term partnerships helps with brand loyalty among consumers.
Would a single posting by your favourite influencer immediately convince you to buy a product? It is unlikely so. Therefore, these long term collaborations aid in subconsciously convincing consumers to stick with the brand. Every time you see a new post about that makeup product, you unknowingly become more tempted to purchase it.
The formation of long term relationships are an indication that more brands are willing to invest in influencer marketing in the long term. Once again proving that the future of influencer marketing is something to look forward to.
Influencer marketing benefit #3: Consumers Seek Authenticity before Purchasing
There is no lack of advertising options in the market today. From traditional newspapers to googleads, the options are wide and vast. However, these forms of advertisements lack the extra layer of authenticity.
Consumers are looking for authenticity in reviews before buying a product. A survey by Social Media Today found out that 86% of people say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support.
Therefore, despite the multiple marketing options, influencer marketing is one of the most suitable forms of marketing. This is because influencers are real people who have actively build relationships with their followers. Therefore, users deem what influencers say on social media to be more authentic as compared to brands.
Influencer marketing benefit #4: Influencers Drive a High Return on Investment
There are both tangible and intangible returns with influencer marketing. Tangible returns include the number of people exposed to your brand (reach), and sales conversion and even the traffic directed to your brand’s website.
Intangible returns can include branding, increased interest in a brand or the development of a ‘fan base’ for a brand. Brands that have successfully cultivated a loyal fan base with influencer marketing include Audible. According to MediaKix, Audible reached out to a collective audience base of more than 132 million with influencer marketing.
One of the greatest benefits of influencer marketing is the higher return on investment it generates.
Influencer marketing benefit #5: Influencer Fraud is Very Avoidable
Marketers have been increasingly concerned about the Fake accounts, exaggerated follower and engagement statistics in influencer marketing.
However, this should not slow the growth of influencer marketing. This is because there are countless ways to ensure the influencers that brands are using are in fact credible and trustworthy.
For example, brand can monitor the follower growth of an influencer to verify the account’s authenticness. Sudden spikes and drops in the rate would most probably mean some manipulated data.
Other methods include the use of third party apps to track the engagement of influencers or the interaction of influencers with their followers.
Furthermore, it seems like fraud in the industry will not be a large problem for long. This is seen from brands such as Unilever that have set out to form long term relationships with influencers and monitor KPIs to tackle fraud in this sector. Therefore, we remain positive about the future of influencer marketing.
Conclusion: The Future of influencer marketing
In a nutshell, although naysayers might be skeptical about the future of influencer marketing, it seems like this form of marketing has not run its course. This can be seen in the steady expansion of this billion dollar industry. (with estimates that it is worth up to 6 billion in 2019)
While the mistrust due to the fraud and fakery online is not a baseless accusation, it should not deter one from experimenting with influencer marketing. This is because it’s benefits far outweigh its risks. Furthermore, there are steps to combat such fraud. Therefore, there has never been a better time to start investing in influencer marketing.