“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.” – Seth Godin.
Social media’ influencing’ has become a recognized and popular form of online marketing. Likewise, referring to someone as an ‘influencer’ is now a commonplace label. The mainstream media regularly refers to people as such, but what exactly does it entail? What is influencer marketing, and how does it work? Influencer marketing relies on Instagram as a central platform. Now nearly a 2-billion-dollar industry, Instagram influencer marketing is all the rage. Some influencers are able to make a living from paid posts and collaborative marketing campaigns.
The marketing strategy relies on a slow-and-steady approach to advertising. Like social media in general, efforts are not aimed at selling products directly. The strategy is built on demonstrating authority, credibility, and ethos within a given industry. Specific social media campaigns allow individuals to build a reputation in their field and become strongly associated with whatever they are offering.
2021 brought global uncertainty and many political, environmental, and economic unknowns. This uncertainty raised questions about the social media climate for brands and influencers. Keeping audiences engaged and maintaining a sense of integrity throughout has become pivotal in today’s environment. It is more important than ever for social media influencers to get these strategies right.
We are seeing more engagement now than ever before on social media platforms, likely due to a pandemic-induced reliance on digital communication. As a result, influencers are constantly creating new engagement methods to keep followers during these unfamiliar times. Brands are realizing that marketing through social media influencers could be a wildly effective business model when commercial advertisement shoots are inaccessible, and DIY content (filmed at home) is still within reach. Influencer marketing strategies combine old and innovative marketing tools, using the power of celebrity endorsement but putting it into the hands of modern-day content-driven marketing campaigns. An influencer has the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of their authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with their audience. These individuals are rooted within a distinct niche with whom they actively engage. The size of the following depends on the size and reach of their niche.
The power of influencing is only gaining traction. Instagram influencers are key opinion leaders, and advertisers are leveraging their reach to create a positive impact. The focus is shifting towards creating content that is informative and impactful. The name of the game is to build dialogue, generate and share ideas, and drive actual change in social, ecological, or political spheres.
The global pandemic led us down an unprecedented path, and many influencers have stopped taking regular branded content to promote social initiatives. The aim is to produce an original piece of content that will, in some way, contribute to and benefit a social cause or climate. Of course, not all influencers are working with an ethical agenda. Many influencers still use their online following for advertising for brands and companies to capitalize on capitalism simply. And it’s pretty darn effective.
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