Welcome to the Age of Influencers

By Hanna Hecht, WeFind

November 3, 2017

Just a few days ago I was watching a new vlog by model and holistic nutritionist, Valeria Lipovetsky, in which she was promoting her favorite lipbalm company, EOS. As soon as the video was over, I headed straight to EOS’s website to check out the company and some of its products for myself… 

Welcome to the Age of Influencers.

As the use of social media seems to be ever-growing and consumers are demanding more personalized relationships with their favorite companies, it is no surprise that brands are moving away from traditional advertising and tapping into influencer marketing. With the help of influencers, brands are now able to connect with consumers in a much more direct and organic way. Even more, with micro and niche influencers, such as “mommy bloggers” and health food vloggers, these brands can actually reach more targeted audiences rather than aimlessly trying to appeal to the ‘masses’, as the followings of these influencers are typically narrower in scope. 

So, brands are loving their influencers and influencers appear to be loving their brands. Sounds like a win-win right? Not so fast… What about the third party in this love triangle? What does the consumer think about all of this? How are these influencers really impacting their relationships with brands? 

This week I decided to meet up with my friend Michaela, another fellow BC undergrad, to explore this topic a bit more and get an inside look at this world of influencers from a consumer’s point of view… 

So, what does the consumer think about influencer marketing? From my brief interview with Michaela, it appears that influencer marketing has not only been a positive experience for the brands and influencers, but also for the consumers. Today, as consumers can pick and choose which influencers they want to follow on social media, such as aforementioned food blogger Maria Baum, they now, in a way, have a say in which “advertisements” are shown to them, rather than being continuously and unwillingly bombarded with depersonalized internet ads. This ability to choose who they want to follow, combined with the fact that consumers often trust and look to these well-known figures for inspiration, greatly increases the chance that the consumers will follow an influencer’s recommendation to try a brand. In fact, in a study done by Experticity, it was found that 82% of consumers are “highly likely” to follow the recommendation of an influencer. This strong impact that influencers have on a customer’s relationship with a brand was demonstrated in my interview with Michaela: She explains how when she sees her favorite celebrities or social media public figures trying and enjoying a certain brand, she feels “more prone” to trying that brand or product for herself.    

However, before you go and get your favorite public figure or the celebrity with the largest following to promote your brand, I think you should know that influencer marketing isn’t quite as simple as “Brand + Influencer = Stronger Customer Relationships.” Rather, there is a crucial element in this strategy that is much too often overlooked by businesses. Authenticity-- the key to success. With the overwhelming amount of paid endorsements in today’s market, consumers have become hypersensitive to inauthentic support. Therefore, whenever they sense a lack of authenticity in an influencer’s promotion, consumers will often run in the opposite direction and lose trust in that brand. Pretty counterproductive, right? While we have seen countless failed attempts at influencer marketing due to this lack of authenticity, there have also been several notable success stories, one of which is that of Under Armour. This sportswear brand has succeeded in creating an extremely strong social networking presence, especially on Instagram-- a success that can be greatly attributed to their use of authentic influencers. Under Armour has not only connected with public figures who are passionate about their brand, but they have also found influencers who support the same causes and share similar values. Moreover, aside from the many celebrity athletes that promote their brand, Under Armour also partners with a plethora of micro-influencers, such as professional runner, Rachel Schneider, which enables them to connect even more organically and directly with their target market. Overall, this strong sense of authenticity radiating from their influencers has greatly helped Under Armour gain the loyalty of their target market and thus strengthen their customer relationships. 

At WeFind, success stories like this are made possible. Why go through the trouble of scouting out pricey and unenthusiastic ‘top-notch’ influencers when the solution is right at your fingertips? With the tools that we have built at WeFind, we can help you uncover and connect with hidden influencers right from within your user base. By using an influencer who is already a loyal customer to your brand, the authenticity will flow naturally and the increased trust and engagement of your other users is sure to follow. 

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