How does someone you’ve never met, never spoken to and never seen in real life make you trust them? Why do we believe in a person’s expression of opinion so highly, as opposed to an ad telling us something? It all comes down to trust and relationships.
There are 3.81 billion active social media users worldwide, and within the last year, the global active social media use level has increased by 321 million, a 9.21% increase. Around 40% of the world’s population spends on average, two hours every day on social media, so how are brands supposed to make sure their brand is the one that these users are seeing?
Social connection is a core human need. Recently marketers have come to realise just how strong this fundamental drive is. In 2019 there was a 1500% increase in searches for “influencer marketing”, and it has only continued to grow. The world is continuously adapting and growing, and the development of new technology and social platforms such as social media has meant brands not actively engaging in these platforms are falling behind.
BASIC HUMAN DESIRE
Everyones initial instinct when they wake up is to grab their phone and check their notifications, there is hardly a time in anyone’s day when they are not connected to social media in some way. The impact of this constant attachment shapes our days, opinions and perspective, transferring to our general view of life. The internet enables anyone to voice an opinion and communicate, which becomes increasingly relevant when people are able to build large loyal followings.
Influencer marketing revolves around this concept of trust and investing faith into the perspective of influencers themselves. It is much more than a celebrity in an ad, it is the endorsing of a product by a person with high credibility and implied expert knowledge.
WHY DO PEOPLE TRUST INFLUENCERS?
Recent studies have found that 60% of consumers purchase products due to their social network’s recommendation. It is through the repeated exposure and continual updates of an influencers life that we begin to invest our attention and begin to develop a relationship with an influencer, even though it is one-sided. They become a form of social proof and begin to incorporate themselves into our social circles, and followers become fixated on their views and opinions, often agreeing with the influencer. Over 80% of marketers have found influencer marketing effective, and this comes down to the efficiency of targeting a smaller group of high-value individuals. People are 90% more likely to trust a brand recommended by a friend, hence when executed accurately, a social media influencer becomes this online persona of a friend.
Many steps must be followed in order to execute an influencer marketing campaign accurately and efficiently, and it must be acknowledged that risks can be involved.
Step 1: Identify Goals And Target Audience
This step is crucial to the process as the intention of the campaign must be identified.
Step 2: Find Influencers
Arguably the most challenging step, influencers must be chosen that align with the brand values. In order for a campaign to be a success the dedicated followers of the influencer must have the potential also to love the brand.
Step 3: Contact Influencer And Give Brief
This can make or break a brand, you must ensure the influencer is educated and will provide an accurate representation of what the brand and products are all about, which introduces reputational risk for a brand’s image.
Step 4: Publishing And Evaluation
To remain competitive the campaign must be assessed in real time, and be open to adapt its approach.
THE PERCEPTION OF A LUXURIOUS LIFESTYLE
It comes down to the holistic picture of marketing and long term success. Influencers take on a massive role in shaping consumers’ opinions on services and products. The goal is to cause a chain reaction of positive conversations between friends and intends to persuade other consumers to buy or at least sample their products. This initial interaction with a brand presents opportunities to then utilise relationship marketing to generate long term customers. It is through adding a face via an influencer to a brand that they can draw upon this fundamental desire for connection and through an online persona connect with their customers.
Another factor that comes into play is the marketing of a luxurious lifestyle. Drawing upon the underlying envy of consumers, it is deeply ingrained in our human psyche. The advertisement of influencers lifestyles, makes consumers believe if they are to purchase an item, they can resemble such influencer.
AUTHENTICITY AND LEGITIMACY
One of the biggest issue for influencer marketing it the concept of authenticity and legitimacy of a recommendation. Contemporary societal shifts have seen growing doubt in the previously believed incredible lifestyles and the concept of natural beauty. These days social media is becoming much more transparent and demanding more honesty from its influencers. An example of someone doing so is Jadé Tunchy, a model and influencer. Although some people might know her better through her Instagram @TheRealJadeTunchy. Jadé uses her second account to post unfiltered, real things going on in her life. This sees the further development of a relationship with her online persona and contributes heavily to her validity and credibility of her opinion. She presents a much more relatable and raw side of her that is reflected in her dedicated following. A stark contrast can be seen in the content featured below, in terms of lifestyle, appearance and clothing.
Our perception is developed and created through the information we obtain. Your opinion and the media you’re exposed to have always been connected, even if you never realised. With influencer marketing being ranked the fastest growing online customer acquisition method for many years, it is clear to see the sheer power that a credible voice can have over anyone’s opinion. Social influencer marketing has become a “grounded science”, and it’s growing so rapidly simply because it works. Influencer Marketing Businesses are receiving $5.78 on average for each $1 they spend on influencer marketing. It begs the question of why isn’t everyone doing it? When it comes down to it, the process of obtaining an appropriate and compatible influencer is something that needs to be thoroughly worked through and executed perfectly to achieve maximal results. Next time you see a social media influencer endorsing something, think about how it makes you feel!
My name is Tayla Hind, I am in my final semester of my Commerce Degree at Melbourne University. I'm majoring in Marketing and Finance, hoping to secure myself a graduate position in 2022. In my future, I want to work within an environment that aligns with my values and one that is focused on innovation.