What is influencer marketing? – A simple explanation
Wikipedia defines Influencer marketing as “a form of social media marketing involving endorsements from influencers, people and organizations who have expert knowledge and social influence in a respective field”. While the definition may sound simple, this method of marketing has a lot of depth to it. But for now, let’s cover all the basics.
Let’s take an example in layman terms: Jim is an absolutely notorious child. He would not listen to his parents or his teachers, he would not finish his homework and would always also complain about the food served to him. The only thing that ever caught his interest was tennis – and he worshipped “Roger Federer”. The parents tried multiple methods to discipline him – playing the good cop, bad cop, and even tried getting his teachers to counsel him. Nothing ever seemed to work with the boy and the disappointed parents chose a different method. The parents wanted to connect with him on his level, talk to him in a language that he would resonate with.
The parents knew their child’s love for Roger Federer and realized that the kid was trying to be just like him. The parents then used the age-old trick of using Federer’s influence on the kid. They would say, “If you want to be like Federer then you will have to do your homework.” or “Do you think Federer would like that you are so naughty?”. This method showed a remarkable change in Jim’s behavior and the parents were delighted.
Applying Influencer Marketing for Consumers
Now let us compare Jim to a group of customers who are too obstinate to try your new brand. You desperately need them as these are your niche audience. If the consumer doesn’t pay attention to what you are saying, then how do you get them to value your brand?
For eg, let’s say your brand has a beauty product focussed towards for teenage girls to have the good skin they have all desired. The brand has done the essentials. Product research, launching a good quality product and even a television advertisement. Still only a few buyers?
Understanding why – Unfortunately, teenagers do not read newspapers or watch television. Their world revolves around their mobile phones. Brands have already started to leverage this and started advertising on social media like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok and more. These are the biggest platforms and the reach is immense.
So, how does one advertise on a social media platform which sounds different from conventional advertising? First – Find an influencer who is relevant to your brand image and shares the same ideals. The kind of audience that follows the influencer is also important. It doesn’t make sense for a teenage-specific beauty brand to collaborate with an influencer who has followers mainly in their 20’s or 30’s.
An influencer can be a celebrity or someone on social media with a huge number of following due to their special skill set (beauty, travel, fitness, etc). When your targeted customers recognize that their idols are using your product, then they are going to be successfully influenced to purchase your product. This is the gist of Influencer marketing.
Implementing an influencer marketing campaign
How do you stand out amidst hundreds of campaigns that run everyday? It all comes to the basics. In order to catch the eye of your customers, you can try something unique, market differently. Run a campaign with a catchy hashtag or a challenge that has more capacity to reach success.
An exciting challenge which involves using your product so when more people perform the challenge they purchase your product. Involve your audience in the campaign and gain engagement out of it. While marketing on social media can be simple, getting the desired results can be complex. Here are a few brands that ran successful campaigns.
Just before the Cricket World Cup 2019 commenced, Puma India launched one of the biggest campaigns -#SOCKTHEM staring Indian cricket team captain and Puma’s brand ambassador Virat Kohli. They launched a music video in support of the Indian cricket team which starred Virat Kohli, Mary Kom & Shushma Verma. The presence of these stars definitely raised the bar. They used the sports sensations to reach out to all sports enthusiasts. Puma gained a lot of traction and noted an increase in brand visibility due to this campaign and it has definitely jumped.
Mountain Dew with its famous tagline, “Dar ke aage jeet hai”, came up with an innovative campaign using the tagline “Naam bante hain risk se”. The brand used real heroes like Padmashri Arunima Sinha, Padmashri Shital Mahajan, Ghost Ryders group, Shubreet Kaur and many more. The brand’ successfully targeted its young audience by creating a vibe of enthusiasm, fearlessness, thrill, and adventure. The usage of realistic examples rather than creating unrealistic stunts and scenarios was a great method of sending out the message.
This oil hair brand initiated a campaign to bring about the ancient art of hair oiling of our country. The campaign included beauty bloggers who were given training about the hair oiling techniques and finally they had to participate in a live demonstration. Each of these bloggers also recorded their experiences and shared tips on their social media platforms about how simple and easy these techniques were which can also be performed on your own.
This helped them target all age groups of women. The idea of the Indian ancient art of hair oiling drove an older group of women to purchase the product as it brought out some of their old memories, it also worked well on the younger group by instigating them to try something new.
Influencer marketing is unquestionably one of the most effective marketing tools that can be used by a brand. While the idea of it looks simple, there is a lot of detailed and precise work that happens behind it. The most important detail would be finding the perfect brand-influencer fit. As a brand, you must also recognize which segment of the market and what kind of campaigns fit perfectly for you.
It is vitally important to understand what kind of brands can collaborate with which type of influencers to avoid a case of a terrible misfit. To reach out to a specific group, you must reach out to the influencers who are experts. So if your company sells shoes, reach out to sports enthusiasts who have followers with a keen interest in sports. If you aspire to launch a special category of shoes which cater to the needs of trekkers, then it would be ideal to start a campaign or reaching out to travel communities, bloggers or sports influencers.
It is the difference between getting a 20% response from a disinterested audience and 70% response from an interested bunch.
The customer is the king – he always knows what he needs. Needs pre-exist and they cannot be created, all you have to do is to bring out these pre-existing needs. In modern times, advertising is not only about creating innovative content, but it has also skewed further towards data. Attributes like loyalty have been a constant factor in consumer purchase trends. The era of explaining what is right and what is wrong is over, people believe in what they see and whom they see, they believe in statistics, logic and are victims to ease and convenience.