The Overwhelming Importance of Influencer Marketing In a Post Covid Era
As we transcend much further into the "new normal", find out everything you need to know about the importance of influencer marketing, latest strategies and updates that are relevant now more than ever.
Over the last few years, it has become somewhat difficult for brands to get attention on the internet. But before you jump to any conclusions, we need you to hold your horses. Since a lot of things are going on simultaneously on the internet – not to forget the fact that millennials and Gen Z have an attention span of that of a Goldfish, brands really have to struggle to get noticed!
Meanwhile, customers have become skeptical, as they easily get influenced by social media influencers who have a foothold in the industry. Brands, on the other hand, have begun to realize the importance of influencer marketing to innovate their strategies lately.
Not only are companies investing a lot of time and money into scaling their marketing operations, but given the overall importance of influencer marketing, the concept needs to be explored to get an idea of what you need to do as a startup business owner.
In this post, we’ll take a look at the importance of influencer marketing with an emphasis on why it potentially carries value for your business in 2022.
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is a marketing vertical that involves collaboration between one company and a relevant influencer to promote work towards a mutually beneficial relationship. This relationship entails brand popularity for the company, while the influencer gets paid for endorsing the said company’s products via his/her social media profile.
Now, here’s an interesting question: are celebrities social media influencers?
In a way, yes, they are, but influencers, on the other hand, share a strong rapport with their fan communities. Also, when we talk about a social media influencer’s audience, it’s very niche-specific.
For instance, Marques Brownlee has a boatload of followers who like tech products. For that reason, these followers have subscribed to Marques’s social media pages to get the latest tech product reviews and stay in touch with whatever’s going on in the tech community.
Likewise, influencers have in-depth knowledge about certain subjects, which gives them leverage over celebrities.
Depending on your social media influencer strategy, you can work with influencers to create engaging content, scale your brand, and get a fat chunk of ROI in terms of solid conversions. The point is that when it comes to the importance of influencer marketing and all there is to it, there are tons of ways to expand your outreach across different online communities.
Quick Gist On The Importance of Influencer Marketing
Just to give you an idea on the importance of influencer marketing, Google conducted a survey in 2018. The tech giant reported that there are over 60,000 searches for the term: “influencer marketing.”
In this study, Google experts also reported that 92% of the respondents take an influencer’s opinion into account before buying any products.
Such statistics are a strong indicator of the overall importance of influencer marketing, and why companies have been heavily investing in this special form of marketing strategy.
If you are still not convinced of the importance of influencer marketing, let’s take a look at some recent anomalies that caused a massive shift in the online business communities.
The State of Influencer Marketing Post Covid-19
Ever since the pandemic happened in 2020, a lot of businesses went into crisis. Influencers were also prone to such changes, but they shifted their focus on extensive online marketing tactics. As a result, many influencer marketers not only navigated through the Covid situation but also enabled other businesses to sustain without any major fallback.
In a post-Covid world, here are a few ways that helped influencer marketing experts to propel brands, businesses, and different companies. These reasons are exactly why the importance of influencer marketing has gained so much leverage over the last two years.
1. Live Streaming to Continue and Generate High Engagement
As most of the industries shut down during the pandemic situation, there was an increase in the number of people using social media pages, YouTube, and other platforms – so much so that 45% of users were reportedly engaged in getting updates from different influencer channels throughout a normal day.
It didn’t take too long for brands to notice a shift in average user behavior. Different companies amped up their collaboration efforts to get in touch with influencers to gain leverage on their respective social media pages.
2. Consumers Are Smarter Than We Think!
Due to the Covid-19 situation, consumers have had more time to thoroughly research different products through social media pages, influencer reviews, and blog posts. People became savvier towards disavowing companies that either looked shady or didn’t get a lot of positive traction from social media influencers.
On the other hand, companies had to amp-up their collaboration game with high-profile social media influencers to get the brand message across. Relying on adding updates to the company’s social media pages, or newsfeed was no longer an option because customers were looking up to authentic “storytellers’” opinions to get started on buying things.
3. E-Commerce Become More of a Social Commerce Thing During the Lockdown
Social commerce is the metamorphosis of your typical online e-commerce experience.
Companies were smart enough to realize the importance of influencer marketing, and how to convert traffic through social commerce plugins. Tellingly, the social commerce functionality enabled users to purchase stuff directly from brand pages on Instagram and vice versa.
As a result, customer experiences not only changed but also caused online businesses to realize the importance of influencer marketing from a buyer’s perspective. With the smart integration of the social commerce system, your average online user can directly purchase the product without switching to the Google Search bar to look up a brand’s official webpage.
In a nutshell, it’s all about banking on micro influencers’ increased engagement rates. Even though Mega Influencers have millions of followers, micro-influencers boast guaranteed conversions up to 4%. Mega influencers take full benefit of their authenticity factor, but as a new business owner, working with small-scale social media influencers is much better.
Importance of Influencer Marketing | Why Is It Beneficial to Businesses?
If you are a brand new, or a small business owner contemplating the importance of influencer marketing in 2021, here are some of the top reasons for you:
1. Increased Brand Awareness
All thanks to the massive reach factor, influencer marketers have the audacity to increase brand exposure within a very short duration. Especially those influencers, who have a clean-slate track record for recommending products without any biases, endorse something, people notice it instantly.
Moreover, when endorsements come from trusted influencers, people take those recommendations as authentic. However, the influencer needs to be genuinely convincing as buyers can detect fluff very quickly these days.
On the other hand, collaborating with social media influencers will enable you to cut through the noise and get more traffic to your website. A major chunk of this traffic will convert, but from a long term retention perspective, focus on email marketing strategies on the side.
Build a relationship with all your incoming new customers, and you will see the positive results of the importance of influencer marketing tenfold.
2. Laser Focused Targeting
Collaborating with influencers is much better than running your own social media ads. Since influencers have audiences specific to different niches, countries, and demographics, you can get better results that way.
In a way, the hard work required to weed out a targeted audience has already been done by online influencers. You only need to get in touch with the “right social media influencer” to push the envelope and get things moving.
If you are selling clothes, get in touch with influencers from the apparel sphere. If you have recently launched a new makeup product, it’s the right time to collaborate with social media influencers from the fashion and makeup industry; so on and so forth.
Working with influencers results in creating engaging content for followers on both sides of the equation – i.e. you, as a brand owner, and the influencer as well.
We call it the renewed content strategy; something more creative and targeted to attract people in a given niche. Influencer content is like a gust of fresh air in the middle of the old-usual-boring promotional content that many brands churn out from time to time.
Also, whenever you are working with a social media influencer, do not pressure them to create a content strategy that aligns 100% with yours. Veteran influencers are way more creative; they have been in the game for a long time, and they know what they’re doing. Restricting an influencer to a sales script that someone from your company gave you is as good a guideline as any other.
Brands use different content strategies to influence people’s buying decisions. As a result, it nets these companies better conversions. Gen.Video experts recently conducted a survey, where 30% of respondents said that they believe influencers to be the most trusted sources for shopping recommendations.
Summing It All Up
According to the experts, influencer marketing can deliver a higher ROI (*up to 11%) as compared to traditional marketing strategies.
However, we cannot deny that this much higher ROI percentage will match or fit your business model. There are a lot of different constraints that need to be analyzed by a team of professionals before continuing with any marketing strategy in 2021.