Marketing has come a long way. Today’s tactics are virtually unrecognizable compared to even just 10 years ago. The reason for its constant evolution is due to the consumer continuously finding ways to block out the hundreds of ads they’re exposed to daily. Advertising has become a bit of a dirty thing and most people are annoyed as soon as they realize it’s happening. For this reason, marketers have had to get creative. This creativity has manifested itself through marketing’s latest, greatest trend; the influencer.
In case you’ve been asleep for the past few years, social media influencers are people who have the ability to influence the opinion and behaviour of others through their social media feeds. Influencers exist on the celebrity, macro, and micro levels. With so many people becoming both blind and deaf to traditional marketing strategies, influencers are the solution to marketers’ biggest challenges.
Challenge #1: Marketers and brands are having a hard time relating to their target market
The problem with posting brand-created marketing content is that it’s completely out of touch with reality. The perfect setting mixed with the model/celebrity who spent 10 hours getting made up and twisted into the right pose is totally unrelatable. Depending on how in touch with their target market a brand is, they sometimes don’t even have a good enough finger on the pulse to know what they’re audience likes or wants from them.
This is where the influencer comes in. If a brand’s marketing team is having a hard time putting out content that resonates with their followers on social media, all they need to do is look to the influencer. For example, if you’re in the beauty industry, check out social media’s biggest beauty influencers. If you can narrow it down further (i.e. high-end beauty, affordable beauty, natural cosmetics, etc…), even better. Next, check out what type of content these influencers are posting and which posts are performing best. This will give you a solid idea of what type of content your audience finds valuable.
On top of the benefit of understanding what your target market likes, you should be collaborating with these influencers to bring your brand to the everyday person. A brand posting a photo of their newest dress to their Instagram is nothing compared to someone’s favourite influencer posting a shot of them wearing that dress in their everyday lives.
Challenge #2: Growing a brand isn’t easy
After the posts, tweets, email blasts, and phone calls to all your family and friends, it’s sometimes tough to grow your brand on a constant basis. When likes, follows, and virtual traffic starts to lull, it can seem hopeless to gain the reach and visibility you require to expand at a healthy rate.
Influencers are the perfect remedy for this problem. Every single influencer has an untapped pool of fresh eyes and ears for your brand’s message. Between their number of followers and the trust they hold with them, any message coming from them is amplified ten-fold compared to the brand saying it themselves.
Successful influencers not only have large followings but also have a strong hold of their audience’s focus. By working with the right influencer who has a following that aligns with their target market, brands are able to reach a lot more people with a lot less effort.
Challenge #3: Marketers have zero trust with the public
For the same reason that people don’t trust car salesmen, they don’t trust marketers or brands peddling their own products. And can you blame them? Anyone who has a vested interest in convincing you to buy something is automatically biased. Whether it’s the brand themselves or a marketing agency hired to create carefully curated ad campaigns, the trust is gone. This means they’ve become completely useless. And this is where the influencer comes in.
Because influencers are (mostly) everyday people with little to no ties to the brands they work with, their recommendations and reviews are much more valuable. Sure, you can argue that they’re getting paid to say something positive about who ever hired them, but their personal brand relies fully on the transparency they have with their followers. Influencers are only able to do what they do if they maintain a strong level of trust with their audience. As soon as they lose that, they lose their worth. For this reason, influencers (the good ones, anyways) are generally very careful and selective of the products/services they endorse.
These three challenges are just a few of the countless issues influencers help to fix when it comes to marketing. As mentioned though, with the continuous efforts of consumers to dodge marketing efforts, it’ll be no surprise when influencer marketing will need to evolve and adapt to remain effective.