What is influencer marketing? Though it may seem like an odd question, there is an overwhelming number of definitions and opinions on how to best determine its success: Is an influencer someone who simply has influence on a consumer’s purchasing decisions? Does that mean that the CEO of a Fortune 500 company would be put in the same category as an Instagram fashionista with 500K followers? How do we determine the quality of an account’s influencer? By its number of followers? Or by how many times people are engaging with its posts?
John Hall’s definition for Forbes is a good place to start: At its core, “influencer marketing is a non-promotional approach to marketing in which brands focus their efforts on opinion leaders, as opposed to direct target market touch points.”
Influencers provide a cost-effective, non-invasive and often welcome form of advertisement through direct interaction with consumers based on established trust as opposed to direct interaction between a brand and consumers.
What does this mean for your brand?
It means that there are people your audiences already trust who would be far better at selling your product than you are. Even as early as 2012, 92% of global consumers weighed earned media sources like word-of-mouth marketing and recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising. In the travel industry alone, influencer content has 2,5 times more views and 3 times higher engagement rates than brands.
Capitalizing on the power of influencer endorsements is not a recent phenomenon—the pioneer of modern marketing, Josiah Wedgwood, used an endorsement from the Queen of England to boost his pottery sales and brand reputation as early as 1765. But today’s digital influencer goes beyond simple celebrity endorsement. Today’s consumers are no longer drawn to one-dimensional marketing—they see themselves as being dynamic, informed and complex human beings, and prefer to be treated as such. Influencers speak to this through authenticity and earned respect by their peers, fans, and others within a specific industry. It’s reflected in the numbers: In 2018, 91% of 18-34 year olds trusted online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Consequently, the days of generic and mismatched marketing are over. More than ever before, consumers can spot irrelevant campaigns from a mile away. To address this, brands need to boost the relevance and authenticity of their marketing by working with influencers who fit a specific audience beyond the simple travel, fashion, tech, etc. verticals. Influencer marketing is important for meeting your audiences on their own terms, in a powerful, meaningful and authentic way.
Author: Lisa Binderberger is CEO of Boom Creative Lab, an award winning agency specialized in Social Media and Influencer Marketing based in Austria. Boom Creative Lab has worked with more than 300 influencers worldwide, including @jacob and @mikutas. Their brand new in-depth trend report about influencer marketing for the travel & tourism industry was just published in the beginning of this year.