Gone are the days of “Intrusive Marketing” as customers are tired of being inundated with digital advertisements as proven by the growing use of ad-blockers. The medium of advertisements is becoming more and more relevant as customers are trusting and using their digital networks more.
Customers are becoming increasingly aware of their privacy and demand autonomy in their purchasing decisions. Furthermore, according to research conducted by MDG Advertising 70% of internet users prefer learning about a product through content instead of a direct advertisement. As a result, brands are turning to social media influencers. These influencers lure their audiences with the illusion of choice while influencing their every decision.
Another great advantage of social media influencers is that their branded content is easy to track and yields large amounts of data about the target audience. Customer feedback is also a lot more forthcoming on branded content as opposed to traditional advertisements. Brands can monitor the customer feedback and accordingly alter their products.
Especially for brands that cater to a niche market social media influencers are a great way to attract just the right audience and developing brand loyalty. A quick survey of the office also showed that due to the direct channels that these social media influencers have developed with their audiences, they have increased credibility over celebrities.
So now that it has been established that social influencers are a valuable resource when it comes to marketing how can marketers effectively use them?
Firstly, audiences realise that quality is more important that quantity and it is about time that marketers do too. It is not only cheaper but also perhaps more effective to work with influencers with smaller but more engaged audiences. In fact, Digiday found that influencers with the most interactive audiences generally have between 10,000 and 100,000 followers.
Secondly, brands should use the customer feedback that posts from such influencers bring in to provide more customer-centric offerings. A prime example is Target responding positively to Stephanie Giese’s blog post about inappropriate children’s clothes being sold by Target. On seeing that this concern is shared by multiple parents (in the form of shares and comments) Target reached out to Mrs Giese to gain constructive feedback and make the required changes. So the next time you have feedback on a product feel free to share it in the knowledge that your voice is important.
Moreover, the latest advancement in this space is micro-influencers wherein super fans are recruited to advertise a product and are incentivized by discounts and even monetary payments. Recruiting multiple such micro influencers guarantees widespread impact and can help brands become well known within a short while. The most interesting aspect of this is that anyone can be an influencer. So, it is time to change our approach to social media and recognise it for the marketing platform it has become. After all, we too are just marketing ourselves to our followers.