Influencer marketing is the use of social media by “influencers” to drive attention and business to your website or store. And in today’s marketing practice, influencer marketing plays a huge part. That’s because we are all influencers, and as influencers we give off opinions, reviews, and complaints of businesses and brands all the time. Using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, we users are always talking about our opinions. What we like and don’t like about the latest trend. And we’re recommending a lot of products and stores without really realising it. Think of the last movie you saw. Was it recommended by a friend? Chances are you answered yes.
So in the world of influencer marketing, in the marketing world, a lot of time and money has gone into trying to harness the power of this influencer influence. As part of a marketing team a few years ago we spent a ton of time and effort building up a group of bloggers, all of whom had their own audiences, to write about and review our cooking app for the iphone. By influencing the influencers, in this case bloggers, we were able to exponentially increase the reach of our message. So rather than write up marketing plans for the company to execute on, we wrote up plans for the influencers. We spent our time getting the influencers to push our ideas and products to their audience. This is what is known as traditional influencer marketing. Where you build up a panel of influencers and use them to promote your company or product.
But today, influencer marketing is happening at a much more subtle level. Companies are using hashtaging events and promotions to push their ideas through social media, and through the mass of users, or micro-influencers. By promoting the sharing of their event or product via social media they are betting that some of your friends are going to follow your influence and buy or visit their store.
So, even if they are not paying to you for your influence, they are using your friends and networks to promote their products. And there’s an estimate that 10% of the people using Facebook create 90% of the content on Facebook. These users are called macro-influencers. And depending on how big their audience is, they may get paid to push products into their channel of friends. But the most creative way of using influencer marketing is trying to build momentum behind a social event and sharing of that event without paid influencers. And we can see this trend most transparently in event marketing. For example, a local marathon will use the hashtag #austinmarathon to share content. As everyone in the race, their friends and families, begin to engage with social media, the hashtag becomes the thread that weaves their narrative together. And the more we’re all talking about the Austin Marathon, the more attention, and potential runners they can attract next year.
As sponsors for the marathon begin to get involved they use the hashtag to tie their products into the vast sharing of race information, thus getting what’s known as the “halo effect” by associating themselves with the race, they engender the good will of the people who are into running. So, while Coke is not trying to sell you a drink by participating in sponsorship, they are trying to associate themselves, and perhaps their diet drinks, with the healthy lifestyle of running and marathons.
Are you a micro-influencer? Do you tell your friends about great restaurants and movies you loved or hated? Chances are you are more of an influencer than you thought.
For Further Reading: Influencer Marketing and Your Customer Journey – ANA.net