Remember that time your friend bought those amazing boots and you couldn’t wait to get your hands on a pair yourself? That desire to want to buy something you see on someone you value is influencer marketing in its simplest form. With the rise of social media, influencer marketing has taken a new shape, rendering itself one of the most effective forms of digital marketing. According to recent statistics, social influencer marketing delivers eleven times the return on investment than traditional digital marketing.
Origin of social influencer marketing
Influencer marketing has been a tool for marketers since the the turn of the 20th century. Back in the early days of advertising, brands looked to fictional influencers like Aunt Jemima and Kelloggs’ Tony the Tiger to build a strong connection with their consumers.
These fictional characters built a positive emotional relationship between the brands and their consumers, resulting in an inevitable brand loyalty. If you have any doubt on the ability of these made-up characters, just remember that Coca Cola’s Santa Clause created an incarnation for St. Nicholas that forever changed how we view Christmas.
However, as the years went by and there was an increasing number of brands popping up in the market, the power gradually shifted from the brands to the consumers.
Rise of macro-influencers
Although Aunt Jemima and Tony the Tiger had their fair share of success, the changing consumer landscape caused their powers of persuasion to wane. Marketers now needed a stronger connection between brands and consumers.
Enter celebrity influencers.
This competitive landscape was the inspiration behind the rise of macro-influencers. Celebrities from all spheres were now influencers–movie stars, athletes, and even the queen! This trend set off the era of celebrity endorsements and paid partnerships. From TV ads to instagram stories, celebrities became one of the most widely used tools for marketing.
As social media became more ubiquitous, the bond between celebrities and fans got stronger, which in turn made their ability to influence fans stronger. Now that I know about The Rock’s morning workout through his insta-story, we’re obviously a step closer to being best friends. So why wouldn’t I also want to buy his new Under Armour headphones?
Marketers have tapped into this influence of celebrities for the better part of the last decade, however, it seems like the influencer market is once again moving in a new direction.
A new direction
Although macro-influencers are still widely used in the influencer marketing sphere, the more effective tool for marketers today is actually micro-influencers. We now live in a world where consumers are smarter than ever, and they question the authenticity of every partnership they see. Social media’s ubiquity is a double edged-sword which may have helped strengthen the bond between celebrities and their fans, but it also made it easier for fans to detect inauthenticity.
As fans became aware of paid partnerships that weren’t disclosed, the macro-influencers started to lose their influence. Of course, there are still many ways to maintain authentic partnerships with celebrities. The Rock’s Under Armour partnership is a prime example of an effective use of macro-influencers as both the brand and influencer share the same values, making the partnership an organic one. However, 2018 seems to be the year of micro-influencers
The reign of micro-influencers
With social media use at its peak, micro-influencers have gained popularity in the marketing world. Not only are they an inexpensive alternative to macro-influencers, but they also have a greater engagement with a more dedicated following, making them the influencer of choice for many brands. Micro-influencers may not have the follower numbers of most A-list celebrities, but their niche audience is more deeply connected to them. A smaller audience also makes it easier for micro-influencers to engage with their followers, resulting in a stronger influence on the followers’ purchase decisions. So while a hot partnership with a mega-celebrity may seem like the right choice at first, brands should start recognizing that micro-influencers are the better tool. For a brand to generate good ROI, the best tactic would be to employ a group of micro-influencers in niche markets, that are able to build more authentic connections with the brand’s target audience.
So next time you’re looking to revamp your social media presence, think about how social influencers could help your brand. If you’re unsure about how to go about doing that, reach out to us and we’ll help you incorporate it into your social media strategy.