We all know the images and tropes associated with influencers that we associate, but not many people seem to understand who they are. It's easy to gain a lot of followers with the advent of social media and become a self-proclaimed influencer, but if you don't influence and engage your audience, you're not an influencer.
Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing where brands work with online influencers to promote their products and services. Influencer marketing leverages the reach of existing influencers who have built large followings and strong brand awareness in a specific niche to support your brand, support your products and create content with the intention of increasing brand awareness and boosting sales.
“Commitment looks high, but many believe the bubble is bursting, and we're all a bit tired of being influenced.”
A crucial component of an effective influencer marketing campaign is to build a trustworthy relationship with a relevant influencer that is in tune with your audience's needs and desires and that they look for when making purchasing decisions.
In recent years, brands have realized that influencer marketing can be an effective way to attract millennials and Gen Z. While Instagram and TikTok are the largest, brands also use other social media platforms for influencer marketing. As the market has grown and matured, more and more agencies emerged to simplify and streamline the influencer marketing process for brands and influencers.
College marketing groups can connect your brand to college students through their network of brand ambassadors and social media influencers. Influencers with an active Gen Z audience can help to share specific, targeted messages that stimulate the growth of your brand community and help to create a space for Gen Zers to interact and share their experiences with your brand.
"Influencers' use and reaching is an important marketing area for many brands, and it is becoming more important than ever to tap into the reach of different demographics on social media to create effective messages and reach people it means to reach."
Since the beginning of the 2010s, influencer marketing has been an excellent opportunity to increase brand awareness and restore consumer confidence. With a generation that has launched the concept of social media influencers, it is not surprising that millennials prefer them to traditional marketing. The best influencer marketing campaigns appear to work best when brands work intuitively with influencers that tell stories on behalf of the brand.
For the first time, brands invested in influencer marketing, and it felt like a gamble, one that didn't generate ROI.
In addition, many people who described themselves as influencers gave the rest of the industry a bad name with unfair claims.
While most people reacted negatively, most influencers who went a little too far should have been more aware of the damage they were doing to the brands they were working with.
Types of Influencers
There are many types of influencers that we have found that simply no longer exist and brands are dealing with micro-influencers (see definition for example) who focus on conveying a message that agrees with many on social media or Gurus personal brand (see a lawyer ). In both cases, younger users (millennials and Gen Zers) demand genuine, authentic content from brands and influencers.
Influencers have a niche and expertise that their followers can attract, and trust in them is half the battle for brands trying to promote their products to new consumers.
As a result of their research, they believe that influencers in the 10k-100k follower range are micro-influencers and that brands should not focus influencer marketing on celebrities with large followers but low engagement. We are beginning to see a shift away from social media influencers and toward creators and people interested in products. While influencers are built in the same way as macro-influencers, their followers do not reach the same level.
Business people on social media are not only fed up with the demands of influencers, but it also seems that the produced aspects of their posts are less effective today.
A recent Hypebeast report discovered that influencers have less influence over their audience - one influencer was open to selling 36 shirts to his two million followers while others were exposed for cheating on their audience.
Influencer marketing has become the antithesis of authenticity in many ways, the inversion of the image which fuels followers by "imagination in the first place. As social media has become a garbage dump for sponsored posts and ads, social media users are quick to attack influencer brands they see as lacking authenticity.
Be it the Slacktivism campaign against Kony 2012, the Greenwash DuPont movement or the Exxon Mobil environmental initiative: Many influencer brands and organizations are willing to appropriate meaningful concerns and interests to build their online audience.
What worries me is the trend of influencers and brands pretending to address the world's most important concerns to be in the spotlight for a moment.
Millennials trust social influencers because they perceive them as authentic. Brands prefer to build long-term relationships with influencers so they see influencer marketing as an ongoing thing in terms of campaigns. To increase authenticity, you must prioritize data points in the influencer marketing process (e.g. Influencer identification, measurement and reporting), select the best channel partners and engage again in ongoing campaigns to increase authenticity.
We know that it is the generation that is America's largest consumer bloc and that is why we created this white book to help you understand that generation, how their profile differs from millennials, and how their mindset and social media can influence your influencer marketing strategy.