A decade ago, social media was predominantly used for sharing your thoughts, opinions and photos on an online platform to your friends, but it has now rapidly changed into a huge marketing tool for brands and products.
In this blog I explore what influencer marketing is and the challenges facing this type of marketing.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Did you know that nearly 81% of brands have found using influencer marketing effective?
As one of the fastest growing marketing tools to date, influencer marketing is a process where a celebrity or a social media user with a high following can target and drive products or brands to their large audience – ‘influencing’ them to purchase a product.
Whether it’s on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube or Twitter, ‘influencers’ can market products using a range of different tools, including photos, videos or even blogs posts.
Did you know there are more than 500,000 active influencers on Instagram alone? Social media itself has rapidly grown in the past decade, so it’s certainly no surprise that it is now becoming an effective marketing platform.
Brands and Influencer Marketing
Even some of the biggest brands are using Influencer Marketing, including Gucci, Nike, online clothes stores Missguided, Boohoo and food chains, JustEat and Mcdonalds.
However, you don’t have to be a big established brand, even the smallest of brands are using this form of marketing and it’s certainly no surprise why. 75% of users take action after looking at a brand’s post, it’s probably the most effective marketing tool out there!
Influencer marketing is absolutely everywhere, probably more than you think. From personal experience, I know I can scroll through my Instagram for around 20 seconds, and there will be at least two or three enticing brand posts, but who are the people or ‘influencers’ marketing these products?
Whether it’s fashion, beauty, gaming or sport, influencers don’t necessarily have to be a celebrity. What makes them an influencer, is their large social media following and the influence they have on their followers in that industry.
‘The Pyramid of Influence’ shows the different types of influencers, some already well-known celebrities and some that are ‘everyday influencers’.
The Challenges Facing Influencer Marketing
If you want to build up your brand online, gain an online presence and engage with potential buyers, Influencer Marketing is an easy way into the hearts and minds of followers, but currently, there are various problems facing Influencer Marketing.
Fake Followers and Fake Likes
Even though this is legal to do so, influencers with fake followers and likes are eligibly charging a brand for more exposure to a following that is non existent. Not only is this unethical, but influencers who have built up their following over the years are now competing with accounts with a fake following.
Instagram Removing Likes
It is no surprise that Instagram has become the most important influencer marketing channel, but there has been recent concern over the social media platform for rolling out the removal of likes.
Instagram want people to worry less about how many likes we get on Instagram and more about the content. In a bid to tackle mental health and self-esteem issues, I think this is a great idea as no one will be comparing likes and feeling doubtful over their posts.
However, this causes great concern for influencer marketing. With the removal of likes, brands won’t be able to see an influencers following and engagement. We have discussed this further in a previous blog www.firstdigitalmedia.co.uk/instagram-removes-likes.
Social Media Algorithms Changes
If you haven’t noticed yourself, over the past couple of years, the way social media algorithms work has changed and these can cause major problems for brands and influencers.
Facebook now favour individual accounts rather than publisher content. This makes it difficult for brands and businesses to overshadow all of your Facebook friends whom you engage with.
Instagram have now changed from showing everything in chronological order to now prioritizing posts that you engage with more. So if you don’t interact with a certain brand or influencer, these will now be placed further down your Instagram’s feed.
The same goes for YouTube. More than 70 percent of time spent on YouTube is spent watching what the algorithm recommends. So instead of showing you videos chronologically, YouTube displays users subscribed channels based on their engagement and popularity.
The Future of Influencer Marketing
As an avid social media user myself, I follow a range of celebrities and social media influencers that do advertise brands and products regularly.
Have I been influenced to buy a product from them in the past? Most definitely yes.
Take a second and think, can you honestly remember the last time you went on a social media platform and DIDN’T see a product or brand being marketed by an ‘influencer’ or celebrity? Probably not. This in itself is a reason why influencer marketing is now one of the biggest marketing tools and I’m pretty sure it’s just going to get even bigger.
Even though there are various problems facing influencer marketing, people are so glued to scrolling through their social media feeds, there is certainly still even more room for it to grow. There’s no better time to start using influencer marketing than now.