In the age of unlimited access to technology and social media platforms, it is not uncommon to see more young adults becoming ‘social media influencers’ since the role offers significant opportunities for both the influencers and the brands that they “spruik”.
Word of mouth is, and always has been, one of the best forms of advertising. And as much as we are persuaded by mainstream media, we can’t beat a good recommendation from a friend or family member and nowadays that extends to our preferred social media influencers.
As online personalities, social media influencers have the ability to influence their followers either with their lifestyle, by highlighting current issues, or by offering a fresh perspective on matters that the public can relate to.
Research has shown that consumers are more likely to trust the testimony of their family members, friends and social media influencers, compared to the conventional traditional advertisements, as they are seen as relatable spokespersons for certain brands. That said, we know that big, bold mainstream advertising also works, so the likelihood is that these mediums compliment one another rather than fight each other.
Of course, being a social media influencer can be hard work - it's more than just having an active presence on social media, it requires a ‘professional’ combination of advertising, product placement, self-promotion, and being tech-savvy.
It’s all about credibility
By definition, a social media influencer is someone on social media who has established credibility in a specific industry. They are seen to post content on their various social media channels consisting of posts that are typically lifestyle oriented and revolve around a particular interest or passion i.e.: tech, beauty, fashion, travel, food, business and everything in between. They use their influence to persuade others by virtue of their assumed authenticity and their market reach.
Their active and quirky lifestyle – as depicted on social media – is one that many millennials would dream of living, thus making them the perfect target of big companies to represent their brands.
Presently, social media influencers such as YouTubers, bloggers, industry experts, and celebrities are seen as an integral part in marketing brands or products on their social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat.
Some well known Australian influencers have all gained a huge following that they have turned what started off as a hobby or passion into a full time job. Think of names like Garypeppergirl, Margaret Zhang, Lichipan, Yan Yan Chan, Chloe Morello, Alex Hayes, Gypsy Lust, Meg Langton and more.
Taken from a data collated by marketing agency Vivid Social, they have compiled a master list of which platforms Aussies are using as seen in the chart below.
It is no surprise that Facebook is leading the way!
How can influencers help your brands?
Some important questions social media marketers need to ask:
What do influencers really mean for your brand?
How much of the view of your brand are you happy for them to carry?
Do you know how many influencers are talking about your brand? Do you measure how many influential posts mention your brand each day?
At MOP we would argue that while not every brand needs the burnish of social influencers, it’s something marketers could look at considering as part of their marketing strategy. Some benefits can include:
-Increase brand awareness and generate leads
-Expand reach and trust
-Enhance content richness (and it’s effect on your SEO rankings)
-Effectively reach a niche target audience
-Establish positive partnerships with influencers
But one word of warning. Social media influencers can never replace your main media advertising, because their marketplace is simply too fractured. They’re a bit like a market which is served by hundreds of radio stations, all broadcasting simultaneously. No one can listen to all of them. And trying to “cume” a big market reach using them can turn out to be horrendously expensive.
What’s more, as money tightens in a competitive market, the money devoted to the influencers may decline, reducing their impact.
In conclusion, having a clear understanding on how influencer marketing can add value to your organisation, brands and business, and you can leverage them to increase your brand awareness, build connections, and expand their reach. Just don’t imagine they are a cure all for your marketing spend. They aren’t.