Reaching the end-user and retaining them is one of the biggest challenges faced by digital marketers today.
Hence, digital marketing strategies keep changing according to user preferences and constant updates of search engines to cope with that.
Since social media has become the in-thing today, influencer marketing has become one of the best marketing models in use.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing centers around marketing services and products through certain influencers on social media.
This type of marketing leverages the relationship between the influencers and their followers. These influencers help promote the brand or product.
It has become a very effective channel to create and expand brand awareness and increase conversions.
Who is an influencer
Influencers are experts or have authority in a particular niche that leads to a decent public following on social media. This makes people trust their opinions or words. The respect the influencers command helps to influence the purchasing decisions of those following them.
Traditional marketing vs paid online ads vs influencer marketing
Traditional marketing is done on various mediums including newspapers, television, billboards, radio, etc. Marketers design campaigns using a mix of all mediums.
Here, customers are bombarded with ads that more often than not are ignored by them. Also, it may potentially not reach the intended target market.
Even with online advertising, the ads are placed on the website, which is mostly seen as a deterrent by users. Hence, it is ignored with as many as 15% of the mobile users and 26% of desktops users using ad blockers.
On the contrary, in influencer marketing, the consumers themselves opt to follow the posts or blogs out of interest. They don’t mind even if it comes with sponsored content or with an ad tag attached to it.
The reason behind the acceptance of these marketing messages is that they have trust in the influencers. The followers feel that if the influencer is promoting a brand, product or service, it may be good.
However, influencers are not brand ambassadors. They are different. Businesses that hire brand ambassadors cannot stop with just them.
Making the use of influencers can help. It is however best to understand the difference between the two.
What is the difference between a Brand Ambassador and Brand Influencer?
A company or a business hires a brand ambassador to work for them to help with specific goals like improving brand awareness and boosting sales.
These ambassadors work under a contract that can be short or long-term during which time they have to represent the brand. They need not necessarily be influencers to become brand ambassadors.
Usually, people who fit the brand values, are positive spokespersons for the products and promote their products are chosen as brand ambassadors.
A brand influencer is a person who is active and knowledgeable in a specific niche and has a following for the blogs or posts they create. Due to their knowledge and the trust and confidence people have in them, they can have an impact on purchasing decisions.
How does influencer marketing work?
When it comes to online purchases, as many as 84% of the customers believe that online reviews and recommendations are trustworthy options.
Hence, it works wonders with influencers. Customers respect the knowledge and experience of the influencers, trust their recommendations than the ads on print and digital media.
Influencer marketing uses this aspect of customer behavior to make a sales pitch, which can lead to higher conversions and sales.
It is a wonderful tool for smaller businesses to compete against much bigger brands and also is cost-effective.
Also, everyone likes a good read which is why most influencers are good writers and have a way of putting things across.
The influencer marketing campaign starts with finding an ‘influencer’ who has a good following in the domain your business is in.
Then, the business and the influencer forge a mutually beneficial relationship through which the product or service is promoted to the audience.
Here is an example of how it works. A startup manufactures eco-friendly and chemical-free makeup products and wants to promote these products.
They look for an influencer in this niche, it can be a blogger with a huge following on Instagram or a Youtuber who tries and reviews new makeup products with thousands of subscribers who follow the review/recommendations posted.
When the business ties-up with such bloggers the followers are greatly influenced by them and they may end up buying these products.
The business instead of targeting thousands of people in the market target the influencer. When the influencer is impressed with the product they will talk about it to their followers which can influence them to buy it.
Benefits of influencer marketing for your business
It is one of the quickest and the best way to build brand awareness online among the target audience. The benefits of influencer marketing are many. However, here are some of those that will help if included as part of your marketing strategy.
- Helps to build trust among the audience: People respect the recommendations of the influencers. It helps when they put in a good word about your brand. Soon followers will be sharing that content with others which helps in better brand awareness and more active audience engagement.
- Better content engagement: Influencers are knowledgeable about that particular niche. They write their own content, thereby helping in creating better content for your business. This works best especially if you are particular about quality content being published on social media.
- Reach target audience: When you hire relevant influencers, the content is presented to users who are interested in the niche. The business can have better conversion and sales as the product is in front of the right audience who is looking for the product or service you are offering.
- Boosts SEO: Quality backlinks to your website can be created with the help of influencers. This helps to bring more organic traffic to the website and also boosts SEO, in-turn helping better search rankings.
- More ROI: It is much easier to convince one social influencer, who once is sure about the product or service will help influence his/her followers. This works better and works faster resulting in more returns on investment.
Influencer marketing is an effective and cost-efficient type of marketing which is ideal for business of all sizes and types.
It is especially useful for those who are new to online commerce space. It is essential to have at least a basic understanding of the way it works to get the best results for your business.
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