The lockdown, the global pandemic and the shift to telecommuting have contributed to the acceleration of the digital economy. This acceleration, along with increased use of social media, has also led to an increase in influencer marketing.
In 2014, Mark Schaefer, author of The content code Y Return of influence, warned us that the supply of free content produced by brands was far exceeding the ability of humans to process it. He coined the term ‘content impact’ and warned that we would soon reach a point where more content would be produced each day than people in the world.
Marketers took a nosedive: content marketing and digital marketing had become the solution to all the challenges marketing teams faced. But, if more content was being produced than people, how could a brand eliminate clutter? Then 2020 came around and he said, ‘hold my (homemade) pineapple beer.’
So why, within all this content chaos, have influencers become central to marketing strategies? The answer is simple. From macro-influencers to nano-influencers, influencer marketing relies on real people, and that’s something everyone is interested in today, much more than brand messaging that takes place behind closed doors without the participation of the people for whom they were created.
The rise of the fiat economy
From Hugh Jackman to George Clooney, we are all familiar with the celebrities who endorse watch brands, but when you choose your next watch, do you browse a glossy magazine or ask your friends, family, and social media for recommendations?
Chances are, you’ll read a bit of research online, and if you’re also looking for a watch that supports your sport or hobby, you’ll be interested in seeing which watch the swimmer, runner, cyclist, or sailor picks up on Instagram. .
Influencer marketing captures everyone from Charlize Theron to a weekend warrior with a niche of followers who loves his trail running tips.
Big names give big brands recognition, so our celebrities and macro influencers aren’t going anywhere. However, as trust becomes a commodity and we make more and more purchasing decisions based on direct referrals, social media has opened up new categories for micro and nano influencers who can connect online with groups who share the same passions. and they are interested in your outlook on life. .
The shift from macro influencers to nano influencers
A macro-influencer is a well-known influencer who has hundreds of thousands to more than a million followers. They are not Jay-Z or Beyonce, but their name has influence. Micro-influencers have between 1,000 and a million followers, but instead of being celebrities known for their movies or their music, they are experts in their respective niches. This generally includes food bloggers, travelers, fitness gurus, and fashionistas.
A nano-influencer is defined as an influencer with between 1,000 and 10,000 followers. This may seem small, but it’s important to remember that these audiences are niche and highly engaged, which means they take recommendations seriously.
If we consider a typical marketing funnel, macro influencers affect the top of the funnel, and micro and nano influencers influence actual purchasing decisions.
Social media has been the great democratizer when it comes to influencers. Not just because someone with a 1,000 following can have a real impact on their niche audience, but because smaller brands that previously couldn’t compete with their large corporate counterparts can now run highly effective marketing campaigns with micro and nano influencers. .
It’s a whole new world and brands are making the most of it. Influencer marketing was worth $ 1.5 billion in 2015. It was dominated by macro influencers and celebrities with a large following. We expect the market to grow to $ 20 billion in the next few years and will be dominated by nano influencers.
Putting your money where your mouth is
For many years, organic reach was considered superior to paid online reach. The theory was that under the trust economy, consumers were more likely to respond favorably to organic posts than to sponsored or paid posts.
This has changed. Once trust is built between an influencer and their followers, sponsored posts are just as easily accepted as organic posts. Even more importantly, a sponsored post can reach new audiences that follow the influencer’s demographics and, in many cases, will even serve to increase the number of the influencer’s followers.
The algorithms have also changed. A macro-influencer can have five million followers, but only 500,000 of them will see a post.
The solution is to seed organic content, see what content works best with consumers, and then sponsor that post to reach more target audiences. As we’ve seen, because influencers don’t sell products, but instead display them within their own lives, trust remains the same and brands expand their reach.
The power of authentic content
Influencer marketing has remained relevant, even through the extreme content impact of accelerated screen time and the exponential rise of digital content, because it is authentic.
Influencing content beats brand content, every time. Think about your own social media habits. Are you responding only to elegant, production-quality content, or the content that interests you most? Usually we are not on social media to buy. We are there because we find the people we follow and the content they generate educational, interesting or entertaining. Exceptional content ticks all three boxes.
There are many ways that brands can take advantage of this. The first is to simply ask your customers to film or photograph themselves using your product. Encourage them to tag you in the post. User-generated content comes with incredible trust signals because we know someone has chosen to spend their money on your brand.
The second is partnering with micro and nano influencers whose lifestyle fits a product. For example, a brand that makes running shoes connects with someone who posts regularly about their runs, workouts, and competition days. Most likely, they will also share their favorite tracks and products with their followers.
However, the key to success with any influencer marketing is that the influencers are themselves, which means that brands must build trust with the influencers they work with. It’s about your brand, your followers, and how specific products or services enrich their lives.