Marketing Under the Influence: The Impact of Influencers in Today’s Digital World

June 7, 2019

Back in the day, every kid on the block wanted a pair of Air Jordans. Who wouldn’t want to be like Mike? Celebrity endorsements have been around for more than a century, but the 80s ushered in a new era of celebrity that not only elevated brands, but profits as well.

Along with Air Jordans, how brands engage and promote their products and services has evolved. And, rightfully so. Consumers are savvy and audiences are simply not responding to the same old methods of outreach. With so many product reviews being generated both organically and paid across multiple platforms—Instagram, blogs, vlogs, YouTube—the marketing and advertising game has changed. The key players? Influencers. Here’s how:

Expertise: Influencer marketing has proven to be successful because influencers have expertise in the types of products they are promoting vs. celebrity endorsements, which rely on a star’s mass appeal and a solid fan base. Expertise is the key factor, as celebs don’t necessarily have involvement in the development of the products or services they are endorsing.

Engagement/Interaction: Another significant difference between celebrity endorsements and influencer marketing is one-way v. two-way communication. Influencers tend to inspire engagement within their audience, whereas a celebrity may be endorsing a product in an ad that is meant to be seen and heard, but not interacted with.

Content Creation: Influencers are content creators. In the case of celebrity endorsements, the brand or marketing agency develops an idea and script for promoting the product. On the flip side, most influencers are experts in their respective fields, so they participate in the creation of promotional content, and can control the message. Brands may offer a few guidelines, but the influencer is in charge of the voice and tone of the sponsored content. Most influencers have creative freedom when promoting the brand’s product or service, which also lends a more authentic voice and credibility to the endorsement.

Reach: Celebrities can offer huge impact on the purchase decisions of the masses, with their global reach across various demographics and customer personas. In the case of influencers, most of them have built a following through social media, and other digital mediums. Their reach usually focuses on a niche audience, zeroing in on the consumers most likely to engage with your brand.

More, consumers are becoming increasingly skeptical of paid endorsements. Many are instead turning to influencers— so naturally, brands should follow. Influencer marketing has become one of the fastest growing methods of customer acquisition, with consumers finding their endorsements to be trustworthy and relevant in their niche areas of expertise. A recent study conducted by Linqia found that 39 percent of marketers plan on increasing their influencer marketing budget this year, allocating anywhere between $25,000 – $100,000 on influencer marketing. Now those are influential numbers.

When crafting your digital marketing strategy, instead of casting a wide net and hoping to appeal to the masses, consider tapping influencers who have positioned themselves as experts in their perspective fields and are more likely to engage with your consumer base. Your product and services offerings are unique. Your marketing efforts should be too.

–  Allison Hefner, Social Media & Content Development Manager

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