Influencer marketing is not going to replace social or content marketing any time soon—simply because it cannot exist without them. But there is no denying that influencer marketing is being used by everyone nowadays.
People are talking about it, and brands are taking advantage of it. There has been a huge spike in influencer marketing over the last few years. If you want to keep up with the rest of the competition, you need to use this particular weapon in your arsenal.
So what exactly is it? And what are micro-influencers? Let’s take a closer look.
Influencer Marketing: What is it?
We can say that influencer marketing is like a hybrid of old and new marketing tools. It takes the idea of celebrity endorsement and places it into the modern day realm of content-driven marketing. It’s not about a celebrity endorser trying to team up with a company to pitch a product.
Influencers take a more personal approach. Unlike celebrities, influencers can be anywhere. They can be anyone. Their influence stems from a large following on the web and on social media. An influencer can be anyone with a decent following on these platforms—but specifically, one who has cultivated an image and created their own community of subscribers.
Within any industry, there are influential people. Brands who want to make use of influencer marketing simply need to look for the right people. They are easily recognized by their hundreds of thousands of followers. That serves as your target audience.
What Is a Micro-Influencer?
On the other hand, micro-influencers are those everyday people with a decent following. They have over 3,000 followers on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram—which usually revolves around a particular passion or niche.
It could be pretty much anything: from animals, cars, beauty, business, fashion, fitness, tech, travel, etc. Micro-influencers don’t have that far-reaching influence, but they have other factors that work in their favor. They are relatable, genuine, and trustworthy. These things are very useful when it comes to marketing.
Launching an influencer campaign is effectively a form of word-of-mouth marketing but at an unprecedented scale.
It is also important to note that influencer marketing is not just about finding someone with an audience and then offering them money or exposure to say good things about you or your product. Influencers are people who have spent time building their own brand and cultivating their audience. You can expect them to be naturally protective of their reputation and the people who trust them. Since they are more interested in building their reputation one organic follower at a time, they will not be interested in a quick payout.
Influencer marketing is not about quick payouts. It is a slow and steady approach that isn’t about directly selling your products. It is about demonstrating authority, credibility, and thought-leadership within your industry.
Influencers and Micro-Influencers: Better than Celebrities?
Influencer marketing is growing in popularity, but is it as reliable as celebrity endorsements? The answer is yes—and brands should consider using it, especially in this age of social media. Today, people just want a recommendation they can trust.
Brands now prefer genuine praise from real people. It also makes sense from a commercial standpoint. Hiring a celebrity endorser could take a huge chunk from your budget. But instead of going big, you can spend the same amount of money while casting a much wider net with 10 to 20 influencers who accumulate an even bigger reach with better engagements across a variety of audiences.
Influencer Marketing vs. Digital Marketing
It’s not going to completely wipe out all the other forms of marketing that are tried and tested. But brands should consider influencer and micro-influencer marketing because times are changing and people’s attitudes toward advertisements are also changing. Customers and target audiences now prefer listening to people they trust—influencers who have a closer connection to them. Shop and Shout, a leading Micro influencer platform helps pair brands that are looking for highly engaged audiences with up and coming niche specific influencers. Shop and Shout saw a need in the marketplace for transparency and have been leading the charge for influencer marketing. Frankly, not everyone can afford, nor do they need “The Rock” or Justin Bieber to promote their brand.
Companies should be looking at a few things when they engage in an influencer marketing campaign. Does that influencer fit our budget? Does that influencer have an active and engaged audience? Look at comments, and not just bogus stuff like “nice post” but look at thoughtful comments on the post. Brands need and want influencers to drive key metrics. Whether that be brand awareness or sales or something else.
One great reason to start using influencer marketing is the fact that it goes through ad-blocking. Did you know that 26 percent of desktop users use ad-blocking software? But influencers are not affected by this, as they maintain and nurture their community in straightforward ways.
It is also a well-known fact that consumers generally trust in recommendations from other people more than brand content. Micro-influencers are real people—and they are thought leaders in their chosen fields too. Their endorsements matter.
People are now leaning towards genuine connections and relatable content from other real people. Influencer marketing and its surging popularity show that times are changing and companies must learn to adapt.