What Is an Influencer?

Influencers are the new wave of marketing and are helping brands extend their reach across social media and allowing consumers to directly engage with these brand ambassadors. Everyone knows influencers like XiaXue and the Kardashians.
Influencers are defined as a person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on their social media platforms. Influencers are believable marketers because they provide social proof of the authenticity of a product, which is exactly what consumers want these days.

But is that all it takes to be an influencer—having a large following on social media and promoting items on their platforms? Simply putting up a product does not guarantee that an influencer’s followers will be compelled to purchase the product or try the service. 94% of marketers use influencer marketing because it drives 11 times more return-on-investment than traditional marketing tactics.

In the end, it all comes down to branding.

Influencers build up their influence and credibility through carefully cultivating their personal brand. Personal branding involves a showcase of one’s skills, personal experiences and personality in a way that is genuine, appealing and relatable to their audience. This is what gains audiences’ interest and makes them keen to engage with the content influencers put out. This is why it is crucial that an influencer tries to remain as authentic as possible through everything they do.

Source: Alla Biriuchkova, Unsplash

Why Use Influencers?

When brands partner with influencers, it can boost sales, brand awareness and raise positivity surrounding the brand. Moreover, brands who use influencers as ambassadors, can leverage on their followers and grow their social media presence. Having someone personable, friendly and well-known as the face of your brand can change your brand image drastically.

Having an influencer as the face of your brand also humanises your brand and can make it more appealing to consumers who want to relate to and connect with a brand before spending money on it. This also lends authenticity to a brand as they have a real person who is already considered credible, validating their product or service.

Being an influencer means spending time engaging with and building strong ties with their audiences. This helps formulate an in-depth audience analysis that may be hard for brands to achieve. Through the exploration of an influencer’s personal brand, and their first-hand experience in creating content that specifically resonates with their audiences, it is easy to get insights into their target audience. In a recent survey, 80% of respondents said that content produced by influencers performed the same or better than content produced by brands. Therefore, these influencers know exactly what type of content has the most reach and engagement with their
following. This helps brands formulate a unique perspective that may be hard to get by themselves.

How To Select An Influencer?

Brands who wish to partner with influencers, should make sure to pick an influencer that aligns with their brand and its values. Influencer marketing is dependent on how well the two entities can build a partnership and benefit from it. An influencer whose image has a disconnect with the brand will not be able to successfully market anything, because their audience—who shares the same values as the
influencer—will not be compelled to believe their advocacy of the product or service.

Source: ASOS Insiders

In fact, ASOS was launched in 2000 as a UK fashion retailer that currently sells over80,000 products internationally. This was all because of its influencer marketingcampaign, ASOS Insiders, that aimed to create a more personal connection betweenthe brand and its audience, which proved to be a success. The brand now has over20 million social media followers, and earned over 1.4 billion product views last year alone.

This was because ASOS was careful in making sure that the influencers they pickedembodied the company’s values of being creative and positive. This furtherstrengthened their brand image and brought the message across to its targetaudience.

What Are You Waiting For?

Ultimately, influencer marketing should be about influencing and not amplification. While 1000 comments and likes may seem like success, at the end of the day, it is much better to drive positive brand recall and conversion over engagement with the post. While amplification does help a brand increase their reach, this may not convert to actual sales because the message being put out is not strong enough.

This is why when approaching influencer marketing, it is crucial to discuss the guidelines of the product or service with the influencer and brief them on thoroughly on the image that the brand wishes to portray. When done correctly, your brand can tap into the 49% of consumers that depend on influencer recommendations, and thet 40% that had parted with their money after seeing it on social media. It all comes down to consumers feeling confident about an influencer’s recommendation, allowing a brand to piggyback on the trust between an influencer and their audience.

Once all these are done, using an influencer to market a product or service is as easy as giving a recommendation from one friend to another!


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Hero image: Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels

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