Influencer Marketing Today

My assignment this week for my social media marketing class was to take a brief look at influencer marketing. The primary task is to share my perspectives on it. Being a professional in the content marketing space means that influencer marketing has been on my radar from day one.

Arguably, every company is trying to influence their audience into making a purchasing decision through their content. You see it when you look at the buyer’s journey. It’s in our buyer personas, as we explore reasons this semi-fictional person will buy something. Content marketers carefully weigh the placement and content of each call-to-action, in an effort to get the audience to BUY. So onto my assignment 🙂

What do you notice about this type of influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is taking the marketing and advertising world by storm. Kim Kardashian and her family are probably the influencers you know best. Whether you love them or hate them, you know them. That’s the point. I think that recently, in the last year or two, the focus has turned from mega influencers with large audiences to micro-influencers with strongly connected audiences. 

It’s pretty similar to how I advise my clients to create specific target audience personas when we’re building their content strategies. If you have to say “or” in your personas, you have to ask yourself if you need to create a separate persona. Saying “man” or “woman”, then you can probably keep that persona together. But if you’re saying CEO or CMO, then you might need to consider creating two different personas. 

The same could be said for the benefits of using micro-influencers, who have smaller but more connected and engaged audiences. 

What strategies are they [influencers] employing?

I think that the most successful influencers are often in B2C markets where the cost of a particular item may not be as much as the average B2B purchase. Their marketing strategies often seem to lean toward the entertaining, glib, and amusing. 

What role do these influencers play in marketing?

Influencer marketing certainly falls into the category of paid marketing. However, it is presented in a different format. A true influencer’s audience isn’t paid for, therefore the consumers in that audience are expecting to see the influencer’s content. Ad blindness doesn’t apply to a great influencer’s audience. 

So while a company pays the influencer, the influencer doesn’t pay their audience. So the effect their getting can be similar to what we see in friend-to-friend content sharing. 

How does the use of marketing perspective impact the relationship between the company and consumer?

Influencers represent an in between space between the company and the consumer. I know it, and you know it: consumers don’t trust branded company content. As a matter of fact, 66% of consumers trust user generated content (UGC) over company content. Your customers and clients expect you to say your products or services are awesome, don’t they? Of course they do. But what they trust almost anyone else more. 

That sounds drastic, but the value of Amazon reviews really demonstrates the truth of the statement. Whenever I purchase something online, I’m always looking for the reviews. I know I’m not alone too. Yes, I know that influencer content isn’t UGC. However, it has the advantage of looking and feeling like UGC.

When you think about it, all of us have the potential to be influencers, whether we monetize that or not. It’s about sharing helpful information that guides purchasing decisions with our audiences.