What is Social Media Influencer ???
While the numbers may speak for themselves, that still leaves us with our main question: who exactly are these people?
Well, basically, everyday people like you and me. They’re people who have a passion and aren’t afraid to tell the world about it.
First of all, anyone could be a Social Media influencer today! How? Let me tell you. If you established a good amount of followers, talking about 10.000 plus fans, if you are funny, or not, but have a weird sense of humor, good looking, have big breast or butt, if you are not too shy to show off your goods, a nerd who likes to blow loops out of vaporizer smoke, people who travel nonstop and capture amazing places, hot chicks live in luxury lifestyle, spiritually awakened yogis with a lot of knowledge about life, artists, bloggers, public figures. Whether that be cooking, fashion, comedy, or gaming, the possibilities are endless.
Consumers engage with 11 pieces of content prior to making a purchase. And influencer content is the most engaging and cost effective to generate at scale.
Promoting products via social media influencers can be categorized as a form of subconscious marketing. For ages, brands and advertisers have been seeking to shape consumers’ thoughts, attitudes, and behavior, without us even being aware of it. It makes you wonder, who are these so-called “influencers,” and why is this hidden form of online advertising becoming increasingly more prevalent in online marketing? And, more importantly, how can this trend be explained through psychology?
In case you missed just how popular social media influencers have become, take a look the staggering numbers reported in a recent study.
- The term “influencer marketing” increased by 325% in Google searches over 2017. Making this the fastest-growing online acquisition method of the year.
- This trend is likely to continue in the future, as roughly two-thirds of marketing departments are looking to increase their budget for influencer marketing over the next year. Marketers are expected to invest an average budget of $25,000 to $50,000 into multifaceted influencer campaigns this year.
- Generally, their money is well spent. For each dollar spent on influencer marketing, marketers see an average of $7.65 in earned media value returned.
- The biggest platform for influencer marketing can be found on Instagram. Last year saw a whopping 12.9 million brand sponsored influencer posts. And that number is estimated to double in 2018, creating an estimated market size of nearly $1.7 billion.
Understandably, brands are lining up to be associated with popular social media personas. As a matter of fact, this high demand created a whole industry of its own, with intermediary agencies popping up left and right to serve as matchmakers between companies and their desired influencers.
And by posting about their passion on social media, influencers have gained immense internet popularity, allowing them to shape and influence audience opinions on matters through blog posts, videos, pictures, tweets, and so on.
Why are social media influencers so influential?
So far, we have established who influencers are and how they are on the rise in the field of online marketing. But you may still question why. What makes them so attractive for online marketers? What makes their opinion so powerful? Association with a personality the consumer admires and trusts. Social media influencers are creating intimate relationships with their audience, and this is probably the most important part. Whatever she or he advertise on a daily basis it gets associated with the brand or products, and of course, the fans want to support their favorite social media star by purchasing them.
It’s no secret that consumer behavior is closely related to cognitive biases: for instance, check out a few examples we’ve discussed earlier. The way in which consumers are affected by influencer marketing is no exception to this rule.
In order to explain its effectiveness, we can find all our answers in the field of psychology. Because when it comes down to it, basing one’s behavior on that of another is nothing new.
Credibility and social proof
Studies have shown that the credibility of a peer endorser depends on the factors of trustworthiness, expertise, attractiveness, and similarity. Taking the first two into account, we can note that the degree of influence a person possesses depends on his degree of perceived power.
Then there’s the matter of attractiveness. This is a strategy that marketers have already been using for ages — I’m sure you can think of numerous examples of advertisements featuring some handsome Hollywood actor recommending a certain luxury product, or some playboy bunny advertising her must have favorite pajamas.
Relatability and the millennial crowd
But, what really sets social media influencers apart from other types of endorsers is their relatability. Despite having a large popularity and internet following, influencers are still perceived as mostly normal, down-to-earth people.
- Using social media influencers as a marketing tactic is a popular and effective method to reach a large audience and increase brand awareness.
- Credibility, attractiveness, and relatability are among the key indicators of an influencer’s ability to influence. And they can be explained by psychological concepts like social proof, attractiveness bias, and social identity theory.
- Influencer marketing campaigns are especially useful to connect with the millennial crowd.
- Don’t jump into this trend haphazardly — take your time to find an influencer that matches your brand, is able to deliver an authentic message to the specific target group you’re trying to reach, and be upfront about it. Watch out with scammers, the ones who take your product and don't deliver anything in return.
Needless to say, this method does work, influencers became professional salespeople and they don't even have to leave their home. Just have a decent phone with a camera and a good selfie light :)
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