Currently, we associate influencer marketing with new technologies and social media; however, the term “influencer” is not new. This marketing technique, aimed at promoting the virtues of brands and influencing consumers through well-known personalities, has been in use for many years. What has changed is the type of person who has influence. Today, we call them influencers, whereas years ago, we considered them opinion leaders—well-known individuals or celebrities who added prestige to brands. Nowadays, influencer marketing is just one more action within the communication strategy.
With the advent of blogs and, especially, social media twenty years ago, content creators became a new medium of communication. They are individuals with a large following, providing brands with visibility on social media that they wouldn’t have otherwise. They are usually segmented by topics, so their audiences identify with them, sharing tastes or interests. This is where their value lies because when the content comes from someone close, it has a greater impact on the consumer.
Therefore, brands are aware that they must adapt to new forms of consuming advertising because this new professional profile can be crucial to the success of their product or service communication. In fact, the influencer marketing industry is estimated to be worth $21.1 billion by 2023. In this regard, communication agencies have also incorporated this trend into their services and communication strategies.
How Influencer Marketing Can Benefit You:
Influencer marketing is not synonymous with quick and guaranteed success; it’s just one action within the brand’s comprehensive communication strategy. Nevertheless, this strategy can be crucial and beneficial to the company in various aspects.
For example, due to the segmentation mentioned earlier, it increases the product’s visibility within its target market, lending greater credibility to the brand by offering relevant and high-quality content.
Furthermore, the company can benefit from the trust relationship that exists between influencers and their communities. Influencers will convey the product or service with their own values, and followers will trust their recommendations.
Choosing the Right Influencer for the Brand:
According to some studies, 70% of consumers have changed their opinions about products based on an influencer’s opinion, highlighting the significant impact influencers can have. Therefore, selecting the right content creator is crucial for the brand.
However, finding the best influencer is not an easy task. It’s not just about paying someone with a large following to talk about the product; it’s about associating the brand with individuals who provide real long-term value and genuinely identify with it. It’s not merely about choosing the one with the most followers, as larger audiences can sometimes lose credibility if seen as “bought.” Smaller profiles with highly engaged audiences may be more useful as they can have a more convincing influence by instilling trust among their followers.
Therefore, the influencer chosen should align with the company’s values. This involves analyzing their messages, the topics they cover, and their personal brand image. The influencer must connect with the brand, and their followers should be the target audience to whom quality content can be offered, ultimately achieving the sought-after virality.
Incorporating Influencer Marketing into the Communication Strategy:
Similar to any traditional marketing action, an influencer marketing strategy should start by establishing the message, understanding what needs to be communicated to the audience, and what the campaign aims to achieve. Clear and measurable objectives should be defined. Then, identify where the audience is, and choose profiles that appeal to them. Once an agreement is reached with the influencer, they will create the content, with the brand providing guidelines and necessary information. Additionally, the brand can amplify the message by sharing the generated content on its own social media channels. After the campaign, return on investment will be measured using metrics provided by different social media platforms. Analyzing what worked best provides valuable insights for future actions.
This emphasizes that, like any marketing strategy, influencer marketing is just one action within a structured communication strategy. It’s not just about sending products or offering free services to anyone who asks.
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Influencer Generated Content (IGC) vs. User Generated Content (UGC):
After nearly a decade of influencer marketing, consumers are increasingly perceiving these actions as paid, raising concerns about sincerity. Consequently, companies have started to gravitate toward the idea of User Generated Content (UGC).
UGC is essentially a gift to a customer. The consumer is satisfied with the product or service and decides to take a photo or create a video, sharing it on their social media without receiving economic compensation. Unfortunately, the quality of this content is not always good, and it often doesn’t align with the brand image as the brand has no control over it.
While Influencer Generated Content (IGC) costs money, brands find it worthwhile because influencers produce carefully crafted content, understand what appeals to their followers, engage with them, and have already earned their trust.
These two strategies have much in common but are entirely different. It’s essential to note that one doesn’t have to choose between them; experimenting with both and determining which yields better results is possible.
In any case, influencer marketing is undoubtedly here to stay. These actions generate high-quality content that forms the foundation for successful marketing. Additionally, these professionals have the trust of their followers, making the influencer-brand association powerful.