Have a favorite blogger? Trust your closest friends? Then you already know that consumers trust their peers for purchase decisions.
According to a study from Pew Research Center, 74% of adults use social networking sites. What do adults do on social networks? They are just as likely to share a kitty pic they snagged this morning as they are to engage with content from a peer or trusted source—content that will influence them to make a purchase down the road.
In fact, 90% of today’s consumers put their trust in peers, experts, and trendsetters to guide their purchase decisions. This is the basis, and platform, for a growing advertising trend: influencer marketing.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is the process of identifying and partnering with key people who have influence over potential consumers. They are often recognized as thought leaders who people follow because they value their opinions, increasing conversations that inspire followers.
Believe it or not, you probably come in contact with influencers all throughout your day. If you’re an avid Pinterest-er, you have 10+ boards filled with design inspiration, fashion and beauty tips, healthy lifestyle advice, and recipes galore. Most of this content comes from influencers, people like us, who are brand ambassadors trying to convert new users. BOOM! Just like that, you’ve been influenced, and I bet you didn’t even know it.
Influencer marketing cut its teeth on YouTube when brands started paying for sponsorships. Now, YouTube has over half a dozen primary influencer marketing channels. Truly, any social channel can amplify a brand message. Among the most common are YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Periscope, Twitter, Facebook, and blogs.
By creating branded content with social media influencers, brands can amplify their message while seducing the audience of their target markets. Influencers often develop campaigns through custom marketing initiatives, product showcasing, and sparking organic conversations, opening up new channels for brands to connect with consumers more directly, more organically, and at scale. Many consumers willingly provide feedback through social likes, comments, and shares—all valuable toward building brand relevancy, driving high quality traffic, and building long-term brand recall.
Our Two Cents
At MNI, we’ve recognized the need for a turnkey influencer marketing solution in order to maintain our competitive edge in the open market. Advertisers have always valued opinions expressed directly to them from their audience, especially since they spend millions of dollars on complex advertising campaigns that can help develop their brands’ image and message. Although this is true, what often helps a consumer to make up their mind to purchase is not only simple but is also free ROI: word-of-mouth recommendations from a trustworthy source. Sources can come from comments, likes, shares, and follows from posts that influencers are building.
For some brands, it makes sense to build a relationship with an influencer who has millions of followers, but depending on the influencer’s engagement with their content, even an influencer with twenty thousand followers could be a strong assist in maximizing brand impact. While influencer marketing is still in its infancy, we believe that this form of targeted advertising will continue to grow and have an impact on how advertisers present themselves to the everyday consumer.