According to Sudha M. and Sheena K., influencer marketing is, ‘a process of identifying and activating individuals who have an influence over a specific target audience or medium, in order to be part of a brand’s campaign towards increased reach, sales, or engagement’ (The Impact of Influencers in Consumer Decision Process: the Fashion Industry, pg16). It is a type of ‘word of mouth’ marketing, except the person talking about your product has the potential of selling it to millions just by mentioning it to their audience. A research recently released by the Olapic content firm showed that 31% of consumers in the U.S., purchased a product based on what they heard from an influencer.
Why is influencer marketing so successful? From Stanley Milgram’s experiment in 1961, we learned that humans can do a lot of things under the influence of an authority figure. Though his experiment saw how a person can cause harm to another person under the influence of a powerful person, we can do a lot of progressive things under a positive influence too. An Influencer can have the desired effect on their audience because they create a sense of belonging for their customers.
The relatability factor of influencers can make customers feel motivated or even eager to try a new product. An influencer’s opinion can add value or de-value a product which is why we should spend time researching influencers before asking them to review your product. As a company, you can sponsor an influencer or provide them with a free sample, but it is unethical to ask for a positive review. Influencers spend a lot of time and effort in building a genuine relationship with their audience and therefore a good influencer will never promote a product they didn’t like. Therefore, it is important to find influencers who will genuinely like your product. This increases your chances of having a greater influence within your niche.
Influencer marketing affects buyers in ways we can’t imagine. In this article, we will look at the psychological affects influencer marketing has on the buyer.
The ‘Human’ Nature Of An Influencer
According to the study released by Olapic Content Firm, we saw that only 21 percent classified influencers as someone famous. We gravitate towards influencers not because we think they are famous but because we see them as a human, or as someone attainable. When an influencer pitches a product we see our idol, or a friend even, benefiting from that product and raving about it. If you notice some YouTube sensations, they tend to give their community a name and therefore viewers have a sense of belonging from watching their videos. Social Media figures have enough power to influence a group of people and they do this by connecting with their audience on a personal level.
Yes, aesthetics play a very important role when it comes to influencer marketing. We do have our own attractive biases and tend to gravitate to those with desirable looks and persona. However, with influencer marketing, it is more than just good looks. For instance, if you’re a fitness enthusiast and you have a fit body and the desired look of a bodybuilder or a lean athlete, people are more likely to gravitate towards you. People look at a fitness influencer within the first 30 seconds of the video and judge whether they are worth the time. We do this because we see our influencers as someone who shows us how to achieve something, and we are instantly inspired. Now, if a sports influencer produces a sponsored content for a sports drink or sports attire, we are 30% more likely to purchase the item because it will make us feel like we are getting a step closer to looking or feeling more like our influencer.
Just like bodybuilding, influencer marketing is far more effective when an influencer looks like or behaves according to their niche. So, a beauty guru with makeup tips is far more effective in marketing a beauty product, a booktuber (or one who makes videos related to novels and non-fiction books), is far more likely to sell another author’s books and so on.
Transparency and Authenticity
Another reason why consumers trust influencers is because of their transparency factor. We may not trust a brand when they market their product as ‘beneficial’, ‘reliable’ and ‘authentic’; but the moment an influencer tests and reviews the product we feel inclined to buy it. When an influencer mentions that they are doing a sponsored promotion it also helps build a stronger relationship with their followers as they value honesty.
Lastly, influencer marketing is the new way of marketing a product and it is here to stay. Even a start-up company with a good budget can benefit by sponsoring an influencer who is ideal to their niche. In a report published by Linqia, showed that influencer content on their product outperformed the content created by the brand. However, when it comes to influencer marketing, research is a must. Some influencers have a YouTube channel while others have a far better reach on Instagram. As a company, you must decide which is the ideal platform for you. Also, you are far more likely to have a positive review if you approach influencers who are in line with your mission. So, choose your influencers carefully and this will help you work towards a positive brand image.