Social influencers are people with dedicated and engaged social media followings. They write about their specific interests and topics and have followers that are interested in the same topics.
Their power comes from having a follower base that is interested in hearing what they have to say. Their followers trust them because they’ve spent considerable time and energy building up their followers and creating their personal brands. They are authentic people and are loyal to their followers.
It’s no wonder then that consumers think highly of the influencers they follow.
The Impact of Social Influencers
People no longer trust advertising. Almost half of the population uses some kind of ad blocker. No one wants to see ads because no one wants to be sold to. It’s almost considered an invasion of someone’s time, and it upsets consumers more often than it engages them. According to a study by DSIM, 64% of people find ads annoying and hence use adblockers to filter them out.
So, how do companies market their wares without upsetting their potential consumers? They use social influencers. Social influencers have a special relationship with their followers. They’re a trusted source of information. When influencers promote products, their followers are more likely to check them out and buy them. According to a study by Avionos, 55% of consumers have made a purchase using a social media channel.
This is probably why so many brands are collaborating with social influencers to market their brands instead of using traditional advertising.
According to a study by Influencer Marketing Hub, 37% of marketers have a dedicated budget for influencer marketing. 84% of marketers who have used this technique consider it to be effective. The study also stated that influencer marketing is the fastest-growing online method for acquiring new customers.
These statistics and the rising popularity of influencer marketing clearly showcase the impact of social influencers. They have the power to build your brand, improve customer engagement, and even drive sales.
Consumers have taken on a different role in the buying process because of the internet. They have the power to find products and brands they’re interested in. They also have the power to mute products and brands they aren’t interested in.
Before the internet, consumers relied on companies to tell them about products. This is no longer the case. This power shift has allowed consumers to take a much more active role in the buying process. It’s put them in control and put companies in the passenger seat.
Consumers now spend a lot of time researching online before they make a purchase decision. Social media is a key platform for those searches. According to PwC’s Total Retail 2017 Report, 39% consumers look at social media for inspiration before making a buying decision.
Consumers only want to hear about things they’re interested in, and it’s now a company’s job to get consumers interested. If you do not have a good social media presence, you can leverage influencers to build your social brand presence.
What sales come down to now is trust. Consumers usually don’t trust big companies. They assume that a company is only interested in its bottom line. They believe companies see them as numbers rather than real people.
That isn’t the case with a social influencer. Consumers trust them. Why? They’re real people, not brands trying to sell their products. Technically, social influencers do have a vested interest in generating more sales for a brand, but consumers still trust their opinions.
According to Stackla, customers find the user or influencer content to be more authentic than the content generated by brands. The study also stated that more than half of millennials are influenced by social media posts before making a purchase decision.
When consumers feel like they know social influencers on a more personal basis, they’ll trust what they have to say and what products they’re championing. Companies can use social influencers then to help market their products to their followers.
They can also leverage influencers to write reviews and posts about their products to gain consumer trust and build brand authenticity. Many brands use this strategy and send their products to influencers, who then provide honest product reviews.
For example, in the image below, the influencer has reviewed a comb from Crown Works. The influencer has clearly mentioned the product details, benefits, and has also provided a purchase link to the website.
Posts like these are a good way to gain customer trust for brands.
However, to be successful with influencer marketing, companies have to make sure their products and values line up with the influencers they’re courting. These people have spent a considerable amount of time building their personal brands. They won’t jeopardize that for a marketing opportunity. So it is important to find the right influencers for your brand.
A New Age of Marketing
Marketing has changed and is continuing to evolve because of the internet. Consumers now interact differently with companies, and if companies are interested in expanding their brands and increasing their profits, they have to turn to influencers.
Influencers marketing provides benefits that traditional advertising can never deliver. Following are some of the key benefits of using social influencers to market your brand:
It is more cost-effective than traditional advertising. A sponsored influencer post typically costs between $75 and $3000 per post, depending on the popularity of the influencer.
Influencers have an engaged audience. So your promotions reach people who are already interested in your product niche and hence, are more likely to engage with your brand.
They are considered more authentic. So people are more likely to believe their recommendations over an advertisement.
Consumers think highly of social influencers. In a sea of advertisements, they are the ones that people trust. Consumers know these influencers will always be honest and authentic with them. They’ll only promote products and companies they love and trust.
Brian Mechem is COO and Co-Founder of Grin, a software solution for companies who run influencer marketing programs. Grin's software powers some of the best influencer programs in the world, providing insights on ROI and adding efficiency to the influencer marketing process.