In this day and age, customers are smart and conscious of what they are buying online. The traditional way of advertisements and promotions are not enough to influence them. They listen to their friend’s opinions, recommendations from colleagues, and make decisions based on the reviews posted by other online users.
Influencer marketing is one of the most powerful ways brands can achieve their desired marketing goals. It is the modern-day word of mouth that can help brands build trust and credibility among its audience.
Not long ago, brands would take the help of renowned celebrities for advertisement and promotion. It was also considered as Influencer marketing. Today, the marketing dynamics have changed with digital coming to the fore. The current generation who spend time on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube believe in the people who are experts in their respective fields and not necessarily celebrities. These digital celebrities are highly influential as they speak the same language, have the same passions and outlook towards life as the customers. Therefore, influencer marketing has become an important part of any business looking to grow.
Does Influencer marketing work?
Without a doubt, influencer marketing is one of the most effective ways to engage customers and convert them.
First of all, influencers are individuals who are trusted and enjoy a loyal following of thousands and millions of people. This makes Influencer marketing look completely organic, unlike the sponsored ads which seem pushy. The moment endorsements look organic, it increases the chances of a user clicking on them and converting. It is one of the biggest advantages of influencer marketing.
Secondly, when Influencers usually shout out for brands, products, or services, it signifies that they have tried and experienced it. This practical approach of showing how the product helped or how the brand is different has an emphatic effect. It impresses the followers to understand the product in a much better way and that’s another reason why Influencer marketing works so well.
Thirdly, people who follow these influencers have an affinity for similar products and they are in constant lookout for new products in the category. This way Influencer marketing works wonders for brands.
Current Influencer marketing trends
Influencer marketing has gained a lot of momentum in the last few years. All the brands have jumped into influencer marketing bandwagon to make sure they are one step ahead than the competitors. Be it brand awareness, selling products, increasing traffic to websites, influencer marketing is now part and parcel of digital marketing plans of FMCG, Lifestyle, Fashion, and Auto industries.
Big companies like Hindustan Unilever had used digital influencers to create buzz around their products. Mid-size companies and Startups are also utilizing the potential of influencer marketing. One of the most trending platforms currently is TikTok owing to its record number of users in India. It is followed by Instagram and YouTube.
On the other hand, several influencers are the favorites among the customers as well as brands alike. This includes Bhuvan Bam – BB Ki Vines, Prajakta Koli – Mostly Sane, and the likes. They are experts in connecting with their audience through amazing content. And various brands have used these digital influencers for successfully promoting their brands.
Streamlining Influencer marketing
When Influencer marketing started, brands lacked an understanding of how it works and the scope. It was difficult to ascertain whether the influencers are endorsing their brand alone or their competitor too.
Over the last few years, streamlining of Influencer Marketing ecosystem has started to take place. Brands now have realized that it is critical to sign contracts with the influencers which implies that the influencer shall only endorse their brand/ product and cannot work with competitors. It improves the longevity of the collaboration as well. This helps brands to maintain transparency and prevent loss of customers to their competition.
There are a lot of online platforms created for Influencers where they can go and register themselves. It provides them with advertising opportunities where they can show on which platforms they are interested in and what they would like to promote. Brands, at the same time, can easily choose influencers from such platforms as per their reach and success potential.
One of the major factors that have left brands disgruntled with Influencer marketing is a large number of fake followers. Some marketers buy followers and therefore give no positive results. This is dangerous for brand integrity and brand image. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms have already acted by removing fake followers.
As budget allocation by brands for Influencer marketing has increased, there are various tools and software available to gauge the ROI received from the campaigns. This includes NeoReach, TapInfluence, and Grin. Brands should use them to determine the success of Influencer marketing campaigns.
Another challenge is the disclosure by influencer marketers. The need for influencers to acknowledge openly that they are endorsing products is necessary. There are yet to be laid guidelines that may help customers to know what is organic and paid.
So far in the US, under the FTC regulations, influencers must tell their target audience about the kind of promotion and advertisement they are doing. It should be clearly seen and readable in posts or videos in the appropriate format.
In India, it is highly important that such regulations may come into effect.
Today, TikTok has established an influencer platform where brands or advertisers can choose the influencer and run ads without engaging any third-party platforms. In the coming future, experts believe that Facebook too may open platforms where brands will be able to directly interact with Fb and Instagram influencers without any third party interference.
More professionalized way of using influencer marketing is the need of the hour where customers and benefits both can gain maximum advantage.
The influencer marketing industry is growing at a fast pace, more than it was anticipated. Big and small businesses are unleashing the power of influencer marketing to add so much value to their brands, bringing outstanding results and racing ahead towards success.