What Is Influencer Marketing?

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The concept of influencer marketing is not new. We have seen within various industry verticals like Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle, Hospitality, Insurance and Technology an exponential Y-O-Y growth. In fact, from an agency perspective we have seen some of the popular brands specifically wanting to engage an influencer than doing a typical run of the mill social / digital media strategy. Brands are willing to pay upwards of AED 200,000 for a post by a key influencer. As the technology around us becomes more advanced and we value the review of an influencer we follow, influencer marketing has made its way to the forefront of the marketing arsenal. Companies are diverting more time and effort to this tool than ever before.

Who is an Influencer?

One of the major misunderstandings about influencers is that they are someone with a large social media following. This thinking confuses influence with popularity. The act of influencing requires a specific result: a change in thinking or behaviour. An influencer, therefore, is someone who has the power to influence the perception of others or gets them to do something different.

From a marketing perspective, an influencer is someone who helps other people buy from you. How do they do this? Influencers must have a combination of three key factors: reach, contextual credibility and salesmanship. The higher these three factors, the higher the influence potential of an individual.

What Is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is an affiliation between a brand and an influencer. The influencer endorses the brand’s products or services through various social media outlets like Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

For example, a popular beauty influencer on Instagram with extensive knowledge in beauty and make up may be asked to do a post advertising for a beauty brand. In some cases, an influencer may not have experience relevant to the product they are endorsing like for example a beauty influencer promoting a fine dining restaurant. In this situation, they rely on the trust and loyalty they have built within their community to influence their followers.

Influencers work independently, creating their own content. The influencer is in control of the brand’s message, choosing how they would like to portray it. This promotes authenticity and can help reach a specific target audience.

Why Is Influencer Marketing So Important?

Today, with the advent of internet and its accessibility via smart devices to social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, people have unlimited freedom and choice over the content they wish to view. This creates a challenge for brands. As their target audience are no longer glued to one media but rather continues to become increasingly diluted among various forms of media, it becomes increasingly difficult to reach them.

Because of this trend, marketers discovered that influencer marketing could offer a solution to the problem. Influencer marketing allows brands to find and advertise directly to their target audience. Advertising through influencers allows brands to promote through someone who a niche community watches, engages with and trusts daily. So, instead of being sceptical of a commercial or social media blog or review, consumers are trusting that if their influencer of choice loves the product, they will too.

What To Look Out For

Unlike most marketing strategies, influencer marketing requires a high level of trust between a brand and a third-party. Although influencers are often required to sign contracts, the care of the brand’s reputation is essentially in their keeping. A brand must be sure the influencer’s content aligns with their overall image. The use of uncanny or offensive content could have negative consequences on the brand’s reputation.

A company should also be careful of fake followers. An influencer can buy fake followers, making them seem to have a much larger fan base than they actually do. When picking an influencer, first make sure their followers were obtained organically. Although this can be done manually, it is much easier to use a tool that checks for you.

IMAGE 360 Marketing specializes in celebrity & influencer marketing services. Offering strategic advice to brands to target the right influencer.

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