The growth of social media platforms over the last few years has given rise to a group of users who use these platforms to make posts about specific topics or industries. A lot of these people, popularly know as ‘influencers‘, have amassed large followings on their preferred social media platforms and often leverage their follower base to market products and services to them. In today’s digital world, a lot of brands love working with influencers because they can create targeted content and trends in order to market, promote or even sell products to their followers. This is called ‘influencer marketing‘ which has turned into a multi-billion dollar industry in just the last decade.
Who is an ‘Influencer’?
Traditionally, an influencer is defined as a person or thing that influences another. Today, the word ‘influencer‘ is used to refer to a person who has the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media.
Primarily, there are two ways of categorizing influencers i.e. by reach and by niche.
This refers to the categorization of influencers by follower count. Brands can use influencers with larger followers on social media to target specific products in a cost-effectiveness manner. Engagement to the posts of such influencers is also generally higher.
This refers to the categorization of influencers by topic, industry, geographical location or type of content. Brands can leverage niche influencers in order to target specific type of audiences.
What is ‘Influencer Marketing’?
Influencer marketing is basically a type of social media marketing that uses brand endorsements and product mentions from influencers in order to encourage their followers to buy the products that they promote. Influencer marketing has become a multi-billion dollar industry mainly because of the trust and impact that social influencers have built up with their followers. As a result, recommendations from them serve as a form of approval for a brand or product thereby creating potential customers for them.
How big is the influencer marketing industry?
According to Business Insider, the influencer marketing industry is on track to be worth up to $15 billion by 2022 – an increase from $8 billion in 2019. Google trends also show a steady increase in interest for influencer marketing over the past 5 years.
Influencer marketing agency Mediakix surveyed marketers for their 2019 Influencer Marketing Survey and it was noted that 80% of the marketers surveyed found influencer marketing to be effective whereas 89% of the marketers surveyed said that influencer marketing ROI is as good or better than other marketing channels.
Every social platform is home to influencers of some type or the other, however, Instagram seems to have set the pace for influencer marketing. According to Business Insider, nearly four in five brands (79%) predominantly use Instagram for influencer campaigns, compared with Facebook (46%), YouTube (36%), Twitter (24%), and LinkedIn (12%).
The Future of Marketing
According to Avocado Social, there are an estimated 4.20 billion social media users worldwide. That is nearly 54% of the world’s total population. Social media usage is up 13% since the start of 2020 and nearly all users access social media on their mobile phones.
These statistics make it evident that brands and businesses need to focus on their influencer marketing strategies in order to tap this industry and target online audiences through social media influencers who have taken years to build their followings. Brands should find influencers in their relevant industries, work with them and set aside a budget to pay them for their services.