Can I trust this? Do I believe in this solution? These are the primary questions a customer asks when discovering a product. And a brand’s ability to answer those questions has been one of the biggest casualties of the ever-increasing shift to eCommerce. Product reviews on both Amazon and direct-to-consumer sites help persuade consumers, but fake reviews can quickly muddy those waters. There is something to be said about a real person, whom you trust, vouching for a product so you can feel confident buying it.
Enter influencer marketing.
Influencers Create Social Proof and Consumer Trust
Psychologically, social proof is the idea that people assume the same actions as others in a given situation as a means to fit in. As a marketing concept, social proof refers to the idea that consumers look for product recommendations from others who have already used it. It’s something everyone is motivated by, even if subconsciously. People want to be persuaded.
In today’s world, influencer marketing is an essential part of any marketer’s toolkit. Fohr.co’s 2021 Holiday Report states that 82% of consumers said they trust influencers. Long gone are the days of generic TV ads passively swaying minds. Instead, people want to see someone they can relate to provide reasons they should buy something. An influencer bridges that gap between curiosity and purchasing intent as they authentically advocate for a product. This, at its core, is influencer marketing -- using a creator whose content and profile resonates with your brand’s target demographic to connect that group of people to your product.
Content Creates Hype
Influencers can have anywhere from a few thousand followers to millions of them. In that respect, an influencer is a gateway to the audience you’re trying to reach.
While the follower count behind an influencer is important, what’s been proven to be more powerful is a community that deeply trusts the influencer. With every post and recommendation from a quality influencer comes an influx of engagement from their followers, i.e. likes, shares, saves, or reposts of that content. The more trusted an influencer, the higher the engagement. And posts with more engagement are favored because they are identified as “trending” posts. A platform like Instagram picks up on high-performing posts through its algorithm and boosts it to other viewers who it thinks will similarly interact with the content.
This lifecycle of content can powerfully influence purchase decisions. When a particular product gains traction from the initial attention it receives on social media, it shows up and gains popularity, providing a sense of validity for your brand. Being top-of-mind is imperative in maintaining your market share. And influencers can be an ideal vessel for placing your brand in a position to attain that level of viewership.
This brand hype solidifies consumer trust, which in turn leads to conversion.
Hiring the Right Influencer For Your Brand
The word influencer itself has connotations of grandeur -- mini-celebrities with a bunch of followers flaunting their flashy lives and documenting their every move. But the reality is that an effective influencer has a strategy and can become the spokesperson for your product. This can be a much more cost-effective alternative to other forms of traditional media. Nano- and micro-influencers (definitions differ, but generally 1K-50K followers) can often display a higher rate of engagement at a lower price. Some influencers at this level may even agree to a post-for-product agreement with no monetary transaction involved. For lesser known brands, hiring even just a handful of micro-influencers and one mid-tier influencer (around 100K-500K followers) could create an audience of a million or more, leading to a halo effect that could propel your brand into more profitability and brand awareness in the long run.
As the world moves deeper into the virtual space, features like Instagram Live and Amazon Live, led by creators, are gaining traction as prominent shopping channels, expected to reach $25 billion by 2023 in the US alone. Driven primarily by Millennials and Gen Z, the live-streaming industry combines the influence of creators with the convenience of real-time shopping.
Having Your Ducks In A Row Before Driving Traffic Through Influencers
An influencer’s entire business model is built on credibility and authenticity. These two components also make an influencer a desirable marketing channel. As influencers promote your product, most frequently through Instagram, they will drive traffic to a specific store or product listing. Quality influencers won’t burn their credibility to hawk a flawed product or something they don’t believe in. They know their audience best and will do their best to protect it.
Therefore, it’s on the brand to have its ducks in a row before launching influencer campaigns. This means making sure all consumer-facing content is finalized and inventory is robust enough to avoid selling through. Once you tap the right influencer to highlight a product’s best features, be ready to fulfill sales of that product. Sourcing and hiring the right influencer requires a lot of research and legwork leading up to a campaign; don’t undo all that by being overwhelmed by the success of the campaign.
Boosted’s Influencer Program
Where TV, print, and digital used to be the first destinations of branded content, influencer content now leads the way. While it’s true that influencer campaigns have historically been most attributed to contributing to a halo effect (and, as a result, more difficult to track from a metric perspective), a campaign can still include customized coupon codes that act as a nudge to hit “add to cart” for those indecisive shoppers.
We, at Boosted, find this, as well as affiliate methods of influencer marketing, particularly useful. But we understand that it’s an entirely new marketing channel and can be daunting. There’s already so much to manage, and adding independent contractors with creative freedom doesn’t make things any simpler. If you’d like your brand to benefit from influencer marketing but aren’t sure you can do it on your own, reach out to us today.