The Rs of Influence
To bond with the modern consumer, Brands must adapt to the modern consumer. The most effective way of doing so is through influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is a form of advertisement that involves collaboration between an influencer and a Brand to promote the Brand’s products or services. Brands who invest in influencer marketing see an average revenue of $6.50 per dollar spent and tend to attract consumers who are emotionally invested in the Brand. Influencer marketing is no longer an alternative to traditional marketing modalities—such as print and broadcast—it is a necessity for Brands in the digital age and is expected to reach a value of USD 109.37 Billion by 2028. Influencers provide relevant and relatable content that is more adept at connecting with consumers than cold ads.
Connecting with customers is connecting with people, and influencer marketing is successful because it prioritizes this connection. Here are 10 proven ways to connect with consumers through influencer marketing that boost Brand awareness, catalyze sales, and foster community.
- How to Connect With Influencers
There is inherent value in an influencer’s ability to influence their audience. While this ability may come naturally to some, for most it is the result of cultivating a relationship with their audience on an almost daily basis. Influencers create digital intimacy with their followers through the sociological phenomenon of ambient awareness, or the false sense of closeness to a public figure prompted by repeated exposure to them through social media. These relationships run deeper than a traditional fandom and are the reason 72% of millennials and Generation Z follow influencers online.
Influencers employ empathy to build relationships with social media users. They gain followers because people identify with the content they share. It may not be a human connection forged in the real world, but it is a human connection nonetheless—and one that can afford Brands tremendous exposure. The relationship between an influencer and their audience is so valuable that 29% of Brands make it their principal consideration when choosing an influencer for campaigns.
There is also the relationship between influencers and Brands. 61% of Brands prefer to develop long-term relationships with influencers above one-off collaborations. Brands who choose sustainable partnerships with influencers do so to acquire impactful content and to become a recurring feature on the influencer’s page, stabilizing the Brand’s presence in the community. When an influencer showcases branded content consistently, it builds trust with the consumer at a gradual and organic rate, giving it a more potent pull than sporadic Brand mentions.
Influencers come with an inbuilt audience, granting Brands access to new customers and opportunities for online growth. In addition to reaching a larger audience, influencers can reach niche and dedicated ones. A high level of exposure can be tantalizing to Brands who pursue partnerships with massive influencers, but the beauty of influencer marketing lies within its ability to reach people directly. Shoppers are more or less dubious about ads, often skipping or blocking them altogether. Influencer marketing bypasses ad blockers and “Skip Ad” features because it blurs the line between advertisements and content.
Brands can also reach younger demographics through influencer marketing. With social media being the go-to space for product discovery amongst Generation Z and millennials, there is a marked shift in generational shopping habits. As such, Brands cannot solely rely on the radio, television, and cityscape to gain visibility if they wish to be in the public eye and part of the social dialogue.
Along with the diversity of its reach, influencer marketing can diversify the faces of a Brand. One reason millennials and Gen Zers value shopping on social media is because it allows them to gauge whether or not a Brand’s values align with theirs. The three biggest values named amongst these groups are diversity, inclusion, and equality. Consumers seek out Brands that represent their values, and influencer marketing can produce content that honors these values. Brands that choose to work with influencers of varying cultures, gender identities, and orientations can greatly enrich their reach by supporting an inclusive environment for all.
Unlike traditional media outlets, social media is designed to provoke engagement from the viewer. An influencer produces content that resonates with their followers on an empathetic level and triggers an emotional response within them. This resonance is what generates engagement, conversation, and conversion. 60% of Brand marketers believe influencer content yields substantial engagement amongst consumers, and these results are easily measured.
The appeal here is twofold: Brands receive higher engagement from influencer content and insight into the consumer’s voice. In 2023, the average engagement of a social media influencer is also 2.05%. The larger the influencer’s following, the less engagement you will see. Accounts with over a million followers tend to have engagement rates of 1.97%, but that does not reduce their appeal to Brands as 12% choose mega-influencers as partners.
The smaller the following, the larger the engagement. That is because nano-influencers (1k-10k followers), micro-influencers (10k-100k followers), and macro-influencers (100k-1M followers) are more interactive with their audience. Influencers of this size establish relationships with their followers based on niche interests or shared social traits and create content that resonates with them. Accordingly, 39% of Brands partner with nano-influencers, 30% partner with micro-influencers, and 19% partner with macro-influencers to run specialized campaigns.
Influencer marketing does away with impersonal imagery and words, replacing them with displays of realism. Whether it’s by showcasing their day-to-day lives or sharing their expertise with followers, influencers rely on being genuine to strike a bond. Their use of realism makes them more approachable and more trustworthy, thereby building a loyal following of like-minded individuals. By being who they are, they do away with the artificiality of advertisement, making them a more trusted source amongst consumers who shop online. Brands may find it difficult to access this level of realism on their own as a Brand is larger than any one person. As a result, Brands can leverage influencer marketing to connect with their customers authentically. Influencer marketing is so effective that 82% of Brands have seen a higher caliber of customers emerge from it than any other marketing initiative launched.
People become emotionally invested in the life of an influencer as they are let in on it repeatedly. Unlike celebrities who give fans brief glimpses into their lives or reality TV stars who are vulnerable with the backing of Hollywood studios, influencers often share moments straight from their phones and their perspectives. The level of success they can achieve on their own wins them the respect and admiration of their audience. What is more, the content an influencer creates is impressive and inspirational to those who consume it, reinforcing these feelings of respect and admiration. Because their followers respect them, they also respect their product referrals. Brands who work with influencers must be mindful of this respect and careful to not disrupt it with overt branding. Brands must be able to trust the influencer they are working with to showcase their product or service in the way the influencer does best—by being themselves. This mutual respect leads to mutual success.
Influencers have fashioned careers around being relatable. It is this relatability that bolsters their appeal and sways their followers. An influencer does not have to be a model or an athlete—an influencer can be anyone with influence. Moreover, many influencers are multi-hyphenates, expanding beyond their original categories to include neighboring ones. For example, a beauty influencer may choose to become a parent and inadvertently step into a new, yet relatable category of content that highlights motherhood. Although Brands may find it hard to relate to mass audiences in ways that don’t feel manufactured, they can do so authentically through influencers. The influencer is an excellent conduit to deliver the Brand message in a relatable manner.
Influencers provide their audience with relevant information that enhances the quality of their followers’ lives, whether that be through entertainment, education, or inspiration. If an influencer markets a product or service they care about, the likelihood of their audience also caring about it is astronomically high. Furthermore, users rely on social media to obtain culturally relevant information, trending topics, and the latest fads. Brands can position themselves as relevant to the moment and the community by choosing the right-fit influencers to promote their product online.
In many instances, influencer marketing comes with audience insights, affording Brands a detailed overview of the community they are targeting by partnering with an influencer. This helps guarantee Brands are working with the influencer whose audience honors the Brand’s target market. To glean the most out of influencer partnerships, Brands must select relevant influencers—ones who hold similar values, aesthetics, and interests—to ensure the content shared aligns with their audience and the audience of the influencer. Rather than cast a wide net and hope the right eyes are caught, Brands can depend on influencers to reach relevant audiences in culturally relevant ways.
Influencer recommendations fuel social commerce, with 69% of consumers having purchased something recommended to them on social media. Many influencers have led to products going viral simply by using them without any overt promotion. Product placements of this nature are woven into the fabric of an influencer’s content so seamlessly that it persuades people to purchase, brings awareness to a Brand, and creates a sense of closeness between an influencer and their followers. 88% of social media users trust recommendations from influencers as they would recommendations from a family member or friend. Because they are a credible source in their communities, influencers produce branded content that has a high customer conversion rate. Live-stream shopping is another outlet in which influencers provide product recommendations to their followers. Growing in popularity, live-stream shopping gives Brands a new entry point into the market, with 52% of Brands expected to prioritize it in the months to come.
Influencer marketing supplies Brands with an ongoing and engaging stream of content that is as versatile as it is effective. Top-performing influencer content can and should be repurposed by Brands due to its proven fruitfulness. So long as a Brand owns the rights to a piece of influencer content, it can be repurposed anywhere a Brand may choose. By converting content into new formats and repurposing it across a variety of marketing channels, Brands can reach consumers in more than one place using a single piece of content. Content can be repurposed in near-infinite ways, whether that be as part of a Brand’s social media, marketing, or paid media strategy. This can include content used on websites, social feeds, in stores, and online as digital ads. Whitelisting is one such method that has gained popularity in recent years and involves a Brand paying an influencer to run successful content as an ad from their account.
Influencers can fast-track the customer journey and move their followers from awareness to advocacy at an accelerated rate. Influencer marketing campaigns drive 11 times more return on investment than traditional advertising and cost less to produce. Brands who work with influencers gain representation in spaces they may not otherwise be able to access. Because Brand advocates and ambassadors are pitching products to a familiar and already warm audience, there is little need in the realm of persuasion on the influencer’s part. What happens next is a testament to the fruitful nature of influencer marketing: Consumers who convert based on an influencer’s recommendation become unofficial Brand advocates themselves, pitching the Brand to their immediate circle online and offline. Influencer marketing sparks a chain of word-of-mouth marketing that, if gone viral, can trigger infinite buzz.
How to Connect With Influencers
67% of consumers expect Brands to supply them with a personalized shopping experience and, as demonstrated throughout this guide, there is no better way to do so than by working with influencers. 60.3% of Brands use a third-party platform to partner with relevant influencers. As the fastest-growing influencer marketing platform, Glewee is the leading space for Brands to connect, collaborate, and execute campaigns with pre-vetted influencers. Glewee provides an all-in-one application for Brands and Agencies, enabling them to navigate the influencer space with ease, efficiency, and technology. Brands can launch end-to-end campaigns with influencers in every industry and any niche on Glewee. If you’re a Brand or Agency, book a demo today and learn how Glewee can help scale your Brand through authentic influencer marketing.