Social Media is everywhere, right from boardrooms to bedrooms. And while the world debates on its effects – good and bad, marketing heads are busy milking the platform for creating brand awareness. Social Media Marketing has emerged as a huge and important part of marketing strategy and Influencer Marketing is an offshoot that is gaining huge popularity. So what exactly is Influencer Marketing and why is the marketing world touting it as a great strategy?
Understanding Influencer Marketing
To understand Influencer marketing, let’s start with a very simple question. Take a look around you. How many products or consumables have you bought because some famous face said it’s good? Are you using that probiotic drink because your favourite actor vouches by it? Or are you driving a car that is recommended by a famous auto enthusiast? Are you using an Apple device because well it’s Apple! If your answer is yes to any of the questions above, you surely do understand Influencer Marketing!
Influencer marketing or Influence Marketing is defined as a form of marketing which focuses on influential people on social media rather than a group of potential customers or target market. It leverages the influence that an individual has over potential customers to share the brand with a larger audience. It is often thought of like a hybrid of the good old celebrity endorsement methodology put into a modern or socially active content-driven marketing strategy. What sets it apart from celebrity endorsement is that an Influencer can be anyone and from anywhere.
For a company to start with Influencer marketing, four main activities:
- Identifying the influencers – The very first and crucial step is to identify generic and specific influencers that can help the cause of a brand. These influencers are generally well connected, are known to a large group, are very active on social media platforms and sort of trendsetters.
- Marketing to the influencers – Once the potential influencers have been short-listed, it is time to market the brand to them. Until and unless an influencer is convinced of the brand, he or she won’t take up the cause further on ethical and legal grounds.
- Marketing through influencers – After a win over influencer(s), it is now time to market through them. Instagram images, Facebook posts, tweets etc. are used by the brand and the influencer to create awareness among the target or potential customer.
- Marketing with influencers – The influencers are now advocates of the brand and work in tandem with it to spread awareness.
Dos and Don’ts
Like every other marketing strategy, influencer marketing has its own sets of rules. The approach should be organized, well-planned and should be executed with care and patience because it is all about dealing with people. The authenticity and credentials of influencers should be verified and the marketing should be done in compliance with the regulations. Campaign performance should be measured and activities are monitored. This method is working because:
- It sounds more authentic coming from regular people than an advertisement
- Building trust is easier
- Access to a larger audience
- Real-time engagement through quizzes etc. are possible
- Sharable content tracking results
Influencer marketing is relatively new and is still making its in-roads. But going by the buzz it has created, it is definitely here to stay. With time the method will surely evolve. It will be interesting to see the way strategists, influencers and most importantly consumers will take to influencer marketing.