Influencer marketing has been a buzz phrase in the marketing industry for a while now and you probably came across classic cases of influencer marketing on your social media feed and never picked it up. Look at your social feed next time you are on Instagram and you’ll find many posts featuring some form of it. Breathtaking lifestyle imagery, the latest fashion, beauty and health products and more. All sandwiched between photos of your friends and family.
According to the State of Influencer marketing report of 2018 by Linqui, 86% of marketers engaged in influencer marketing in 2017, of which 92% reported it being effective. Furthermore, over 65% of marketers planned to increase their influencer budgets in 2019. All this data may make it seem like influencer marketing is going to replace Social or Content Marketing, but not really, because it can’t exist without them. In this article, we break it all down and explain this amazing trend that is changing the face of online marketing.
What is influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is a hybrid of old and new marketing tools, taking the idea of celebrity endorsement and placing it into modern-day content-driven social media marketing. At a fundamental level, it is a type of social media marketing that uses endorsements and product mentions from influencers–individuals who have a dedicated social following and are viewed as experts within their niche. Influencer marketing works because of the high amount of trust that influencers have built up with their following, and recommendations from them serve as a form of social proof to your brand’s potential customers.
Influencers, unlike celebrities, can be anywhere and they can be anyone
What makes them influential is their large followings on the web and social media. An influencer can be a popular fashion photographer on Instagram, or a well-read cybersecurity blogger who tweets, or a respected marketing executive on LinkedIn. Within any industry, there are influential people and they are easily recognized by their hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of followers. Examples of top and upcoming influences in Southern African include:
1. Sergio Ines
Once upon a time, a past girlfriend of Sergio’s loved documenting his outfits and posting them on Instagram. These posts were so popular that he started his own blog, rightly named “What My Boyfriend Wore.” Sergio has 213k followers on Instagram and 22k followers on Facebook
2. Melody Molale
A graduate of the University of Johannesburg with a degree in corporate communication, Melody Molale is one busy fashionista. A lover of everything fashion, she’s taken on many roles within the field, including styling, fashion photography, designing, and representing brands such as Brutal Fruit as one of the Goji Influencers. Melody has 155k followers on Instagram.
3. Trevor Stuurman
With a growing social media following, entrepreneur and multimedia visual artist Trevor Stuurman is making a name for himself as a rising style and fashion influence. Trevor has 152k followers on Instagram.
4. Mihlali Ndamase
This amazing lady is a makeup artist, beauty blogger, and co-founder of Siyasizana Foundation. Check out her beauty and lifestyle vlogs on YouTube for makeup tutorials, shopping hauls, and honest product reviews. Mihlali has 809k followers on Instagram and 126k subscribers on YouTube.
Why the rise in influencer marketing?
Consumer behaviour is shifting away from television and mainstream celebrities — toward social media channels and influencers are driving content within those channels. Interest in influencers has skyrocketed in the past 3 years because:
- Millennials are now the largest consumer demographic and they will have $1.4 trillion in buying power by 2020.
- Younger, cord-cutting demographics aren’t drawn to television and see influencers as more authentic than actors, athletes, and musicians.
- As the world has shifted to social media, consumers look at fellow consumers to inform their purchasing decisions. Instead of looking at companies, as they did in the past, they now look at each other and at their favourite personalities.”
The value of influencer marketing
While Instagram influencer marketing is a well-known strategy, there are many other networks that are growing for influencers. According to Adweek, the industry is set to reach $10 billion in worth by 2020. Other networks like Snapchat, YouTube and TikTok have their own set of influencers with different demographics. Influencer marketing agency Mediakix surveyed marketers at the end of 2018 to see what their feelings on influencers were for the new year and of those surveyed, 89% said ROI from influencer marketing was comparable to or better than other networks.
The future of Influencer marketing
As it stands influencer marketing is on a growth trend. As marketers gain more experience working with influencers and find trusted partners to work with, they are scaling the size of their influencer marketing programs. 63% of marketers are now working with 10 or more influencers per program. Although Influencer marketing began with blogs, and they are still an important part of any influencers’ repertoire, social platforms are what brought the industry to a larger mainstream audience. We have now seen Facebook and Instagram offering brands and influencers the tools to identify and measure sponsored posts, while also providing an opportunity for amplification. So, if you are a marketer and you have not considered influencer marketing as one of your channels, now is the right time to add it to your arsenal for your brands to stay relevant.
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