If you ask any marketing expert about the types of marketing they find to be most valuable, you will find word-of-mouth marketing to be at the top of just about every list. According to AdWeek.com, word-of-mouth advertising has been proven to be twice as effective as advertising that is developed and distributed on behalf of the manufacturer or retailer. In other words, people trust information from other consumers more than they trust information from product makers or sellers.
The problem is that word-of-mouth is an organic form of marketing that is hard to purchase. Companies have been paying "regular people" to speak highly of products in public venues for years, but the results have been suspect. What advertisers need is a way to get what feels like word-of-mouth advertising on a large scale. The answer is influencer marketing.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing occurs primarily on social media and it is product endorsement done by people on social media who have large followings and are able to sway the buying opinions of those followings. The ironic thing about influencer marketing is that many of the more popular influencers are considered to be celebrities because of their massive followings. Despite their celebrity status, these influencers are still able to convince their followers to buy the products they endorse, and that is powerful.
The Rules of Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is very new, which means that marketing professionals have not had a chance to put any real constraints or rules on it just yet. Can an influencer be created? If so, how? Is an influencer's appeal limited to certain types of products? The intriguing aspect of influencer marketing is that the rules are still being made, and it is not the corporate world making the rules this time.
The Effects of Influencer Marketing
One of the more significant effects of influencer marketing is that it can build up or destroy a social media platform. If a significant amount of influencers are attracted to a social media platform and they gain large followings, then that platform has a chance at success. But when those influencers start to abandon a social media platform because it no longer suits their needs, then that platform could be doomed to failure.
As far as advertisers go, the effect of influencer marketing is more focused web traffic and more revenue. Companies are paying large sums of money to influencers to get these social media celebrities to push products. In the end, it is the same as buying word-of-mouth advertising, and it is extremely effective.
The trick to using influencer marketing effectively is that you have to decide how many influencers to use and what kind of context you want your influencers to use to attract business. A clothing manufacturer is going to find more success utilizing an influencer who is known for their fashion sense, instead of one that gains popularity because of their scantily clad pictures.
Influencer content can be reused in many different ways, and that is something that brings sustained value to an influencer marketing program. As social media continues to develop, it is safe to say that the role of the influencer will continue to grow in the marketing world. Movie stars and rock musicians may wind up losing their endorsement deals to a mechanic from Illinois who has a social media audience larger than the population of many countries. It is a complete paradigm shift that the marketing world is still trying to figure out.