With more customers trusting influencers, it’s no surprise that this marketing technique has now become mainstream and is being used extensively. It is the psychology of influence that has made all of this possible. So let’s take a close look at the psychology of influence, and why it makes influencer marketing so effective.
The Psychology of Influence
The psychology of influence revolves around the concept that people can be influenced into doing things. Influence is often an unconscious act. People are not always aware when they are being influenced and that is why it works.
Many people want to be different from others but also seek a sense of belongingness. They feel secure making choices that they think are popularly made by others or that make them fit in.
People also often have a hard time making decisions. Wrong decisions can not only tarnish your image, but also lead to a waste of time and resources.
Making a productive decision requires thorough research and knowledge of every aspect of your decision. However, it isn’t easy to find the time and energy for the required effort every time.
One way to avoid making a wrong decision is to follow someone else’s suggestion. People, in general, tend to go along with suggestions made by someone they consider to be a credible expert or a trusted friend.
Brands understand this psychology of influence and bring in influencers to attract and persuade their target audiences.
The psychology of influence is not a new concept but its implications, especially in the case of influencer marketing, have changed.
The Rise of Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is growing fast with more brands realizing the potential of influencers. Below are the reasons that make it so powerful:
1. The Rise of Social Media
Social media has a huge influence over our modern society. It is engulfing the population worldwide, and at a staggering pace.
There were 2.46 billion social media users in 2017 and this number is going to rise to 3.02 billion by 2021.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have made it possible for us to share and spread ideas easily.
In the past, brands could only share product information through their company websites. But social media platforms have given brands a new and better channel to provide product info and to drive customer engagement.
As for consumers, these platforms have drastically changed the way they consume content and interact with each other. Now they can nurture social connections and access as much information as they want.
2. Traditional Marketing Methods are Losing Their Shine
A traditional ad attempts to convince people to buy through mediums such as radio, billboards, or television commercials.
However, with people spending an increasing amount of time on digital channels, the popularity of traditional advertising is declining fast.
One of the reasons for the impressive growth of influencer marketing is the necessity for brands to regain consumers’ trust. Consumers, especially millennials, do not trust brands or celebrity endorsements anymore.
Apart from this, businesses find these traditional advertising methods quite expensive and time-consuming. And there is no proper method to measure the results of your traditional marketing campaigns.
Since the influence of these traditional methods on customers is constantly decreasing, businesses are focusing their efforts on digital advertising.
3. It Helps Maximize Brand Reach
In today’s oversaturated advertising market, consumers crave a more genuine and trustworthy voice. Influencer marketing is the best way to leverage the psychology of influence and persuade customers with voices they know and trust.
Influencers are people who, through their hard work and passion, have built a reputation for their expertise. These influencers have a sizeable and trusted network of engaged fans and followers.
Based on this trust, influencers can create trends and influence the buying decisions of their followers.
For businesses, the cut-throat competition has made it difficult for them to reach their customers directly. Therefore, they use the psychology of influence to connect and engage with their audience.
With their massive influence, influencers help these businesses reach a much wider audience base.
For example, in 2017, the Australian food company, Youfoodz, ran an influencer campaign to launch their winter menu. The collaborated with 81 influencers who created 167 pieces of content.
The campaign garnered over 500k impressions and 70,000 direct engagements. The total reach of the campaign was 1.5 million people.
Influencer marketing helped the brand reach people that they could not have reached by themselves.
4. It is an Affordable Marketing Technique
According to Experticity, 82% of consumers will most likely follow the recommendations from a micro-influencer.
Though micro-influencers have a small number of followers, they are easier to approach. Their following is more intimate and better engaged.
Micro-influencers can be far more influential than macro-influencers and are perceived as being far more genuine. Their promotions don’t come off as advertising and look more like they are sharing useful information. Therefore, the psychology of influence works better with micro-influencers.
These micro-influencers with highly engaged audiences charge much less than popular macro-influencers. In fact, brands can work with micro-influencers for as low as $75 per post.
The affordability of these micro-influencers has made it possible for even small businesses with tight budgets to use influencer marketing.
5. Influencer Marketing Delivers Results
Influencer marketing is the fastest way to acquire customers today. Because of the various benefits (listed below) that it offers to the brands, the strategy is growing at a tremendous pace.
Though the psychology of influence, influencers can impact the purchase decisions of consumers of all ages. In fact, influencer marketing is the most effective way to reach the critical millennial and Gen Z audience. 70% of teenage YouTube subscribers say that they trust influencer opinions over traditional celebrities.
It is the most effective way to target and reach your target audience. Brands can segment their audiences and use the psychology of influence over by choosing appropriate influencers.
Influencer marketing can greatly expand your reach and positioning online and generates considerable brand awareness.
All kinds of businesses can get better returns from influencer marketing, including large corporations and new startups.
Many influencers are active on multiple social media platforms. Influencer marketing help brands to reach audiences across all of these platforms.
Why Does the Psychology of Influence Work?
Now that we have established that influencer marketing is based on the psychology of influence and it is on the rise, let’s dive deeper into the technical reasons why it actually works.
What are the components of the psychology of influence? How exactly does it sway people to make purchase decisions?
The first and foremost reason why the psychology of influence, especially in the context of influencer marketing, works is that it provides social proof. It essentially means that people think that if everyone is doing something then it must be right.
A lot of people make purchase decisions if a brand provides social proof. And leveraging a trustworthy micro-influencer to promote your product is one of the best ways to provide social proof.
Another reason why the psychology of influence works is because of the concept of authority. We all have been trained to listen to the advice of experts and believe it to be true.
So, if a brand leverages industry experts and authority figures, people tend to accept their recommendations without questioning them. This is one of the key reasons why influencer marketing, especially when it involves industry experts, is so effective.
This is based on the concept that people have a tendency to follow the people that they like. If someone you like or idealize recommends a product, you are more likely to buy it. It is just as simple as that.
Due to the reasons stated above, influencer marketing is an effective technique that can be used to sway consumers to buy certain products.
Businesses have used the psychology of influence to gain customers for decades.
Influencer marketing is a brilliant example of how brands can apply the psychology of influence to influence people to buy their products. This concept is what makes influencer marketing so effective and is the key to its rising popularity.
Lee Greene is Vice President of Partnerships for Grin, the #1 influencer marketing technology company, where she leads enterprise sales and strategic partnerships within the fashion and beauty industries. Previously, Lee founded WearAway, a venture-backed online marketplace for influencers to connect with fashion brands. WearAway was acquired by Grin in January 2019.