For innovative brands, influencer campaigns are becoming the preferred method of marketing. H&M, GAP and Dr Pepper are recent examples of brands using influencer campaigns to drive engagement and awareness.

In 2015, eMarketer reported that 84% of marketing and communication professionals expected to launch at least one influencer campaign in the next 12 months.

There is an ever-increasing number of articles related to how popular influencer marketing has become. The Influencer Marketing Hub have reported some of the numbers on its remarkable rise:

  • Google searches for the term Influencer Marketing increased 325% in 2017—making it the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition method.
  • This trend will continue, as 67% of marketing departments are reported as looking to increase their budget for influencer marketing in the next 12 months.
  • Influencer Marketing has a significant ROI, with businesses receiving on average $7.65 for each $1 they spend on influencer marketing. 84% of marketing departments consider influencer marketing to be worth it.
    The biggest platform for influencer marketing is Instagram. In 2017, 12.9 million brands sponsored influencer posts on the platform. In 2018, that number is estimated to double.

But Who Are Influencers?

An influencer is someone with a niche and engaged following who has the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others. Influencers often have large, dedicated groups of enthusiastic followers across social media platforms. These platforms allow social media influencers to build reputations for their knowledge and expertise.

It is estimated that around 3.028 billion people use social media. These people look to social media influencers to guide their purchasing decisions. For brands, it’s a no-brainer—influencers create trends and generate sales through their followers. Social media influencers are most often:

1. Celebrities

Although, celebrities importance to brands is on the decline because their services are so expensive and micro-influencers are fast becoming the most important influencers.

2. Bloggers and Content Creators

Blogging has been a common form of influencer marketing for some time now. One of the most effective methods for collaborating with bloggers and content creators is through guest posting. This allows brands to control the content and still reach large blog’s audiences.

Bloggers and content creators are also specialists at producing piece after piece of engaging and creative content. This is good news for brands because influencers can improve SEO through backlinks and social shares.

3. Micro-Influencers

Micro-influencers have more authentic relationships with their followers. Micro-influencers are often normal people who have become prominent online through their knowledge in a specialist niche. Micro-influencers provide more targeted marketing opportunities than celebrities. Some will also be willing to promote a brand for free.

Micro-influencers are the future of social media influencer marketing and are becoming more common. To succeed it’s essential for brands to understand the next generation of consumers. Now Generation Z spends more time on the internet than watching television and consume their content through online platforms like YouTube. In the digital age, micro-influencers are emerging as the dominant social media influencers.

How are Social Media Influencers So Influential?

Social media influencers are often so influential because they’re authentic. Influencers include disclaimers if they’re being paid to promote a product or service and audiences respond well to their transparent and genuine approach. Likewise, influencers will often only work with brands that share their demographic and vision. This is beneficial for brands because it ensures that they’re targeting the right target markets.

Social media influencers also tap into cognitive biases. Studies have proven that the success of peer endorsements depend on expertise, trustworthiness, attractiveness and similarities.

Influencers often specialise in niche areas, so their audiences will often perceive them as being experts in that field. Furthermore, this authoritative position is enhanced if influencers’ have a lot of followers because it gives audiences social proof that they’re trustworthy. People tend to go with the wisdom of the crowd and if others value the opinion of influencers so too will other people.

Then there’s the matter of attractiveness. People are also susceptible to an attractive bias—where we attribute attractive people with other qualities just because they’re attractive. In marketing, this leads to positive associations between influencers and brands. This influences peoples’ subconscious when making product-related decisions.

But what sets social media influencers apart is the similarities they share with their audiences. As mentioned above, influencers are perceived as normal people, who stay connected with their followers and often come from the same age-groups or demographics. People are more inclined to view themselves as belonging to a group of similar individuals. Therefore, the opinions of members of that same group will be worth more to people than those of a different group.

So, why aren’t you working with social media influencers? Now is the right time to start collaborating with influencers that fit your brand.

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