Importance of social media influencers to your brand

The role of branding in modern business is evolving. Whether you like it or not, the role of the influencer is more powerful than ever. While traditional advertising was once considered the best marketing strategy, social influence now seems to be one of the most effective ways to push products and services – and gain trust – around your brand. But exactly how important are influencers to your business? And will they always generate a positive buzz around your brand?

These findings may help answer that question:

1. Online friends and family members are our biggest influencers

The power of the influencer all started with the power of social media. Back in 2009, digital agency Razorfish published their Fluent report which claimed that the only story about your brand that matters, is the story your customers tell online.

It was then the excitement around ‘Social Influence Marketing’ really began. Companies realised that buying behaviour and the affinity to your brand was hugely influenced by what a potential customer’s peers said about you online. In fact, when it comes to brand affinity and purchasing decisions, 79 per cent of us will be heavily influenced by content shared by family and friends.

What’s more, market research company Nielsen found that 92 per cent of consumers trust online recommendations from friends and family over other forms of advertising because it leads to the ‘Halo Effect’ of a brand.

2. Influencers have become consumers’ new best friends

Relying on peer groups to grow your brand affinity is important. But how much are customers influenced by bloggers, instagrammers and influencers they’ve never met in the flesh?

Deborah Weinswig’s article in Forbes claims that influencers are the ‘golden children of marketing strategies right now’. Despite not knowing them in the real world, 92 per cent of consumers trust an influencer more than a traditional advert or celebrity endorsement. Are influencers becoming the new celebrities?

3. 47 per cent of millennials say their purchase decisions are influenced by social media

If Millennials fall into the target audience for your brand, there’s an even bigger reason to start investing in your social media strategy. That’s because a report by Deloitte found that just under half of customers from the Millennial generation will be influenced by social media when they spend their cash. However just 23 per cent of non-Millennials are influenced in this way.

4. Online influence depends on the type of brand you’re promoting

The way in which digital content affects our buying behaviour is a little more complex than you might think. How much the online world influences a customer’s spending depends on the type of brand you’re promoting.

For example, many shoppers are influenced by the internet when shopping for electronic brands. But when it comes to food and drink, only few customers are influenced by online content. So, if you’re a personal electronics or home appliances company, perhaps it’s time to get those tech bloggers on board.

5. Product-focused influencer marketing may damage your overall brand

Another interesting factor to think about is whether you invest your influencer marketing on an individual product or your overall brand. Focusing on a product may have a detrimental effect on your brand. if you’re looking to promote your overall brand, sending influencers an individual product may not be the way forward.

6. 70 per cent of teenage YouTube subscribers trust influencer opinions over celebrities

Tom Ward once reported that teenagers are far more likely to trust a brand if they are being endorsed by a YouTube influencer that they can relate to, over a celebrity influencer. Does this mean that micro-influencers will start to charge brands more, or that companies are going to save a lot of money if they ditch the celebrity endorsements?

7. Video cross-promotion could be the future of social media influencer marketing

So, what is the future of social media influencer marketing and how can you make it work for your business or brand? Some people claim the relationship between brands and SMIs is going to fizzle out. But it’s more likely it’s going to evolve.One of the most effective ways to boost brand credibility, is not to just invite influencers to post about you. It’s doubly effective if they participate in content on your own brand’s social media platforms too. And if it’s video content, even better. Is it time for your brand to think about cross-promotion?

So, influencer marketing is here to stay – for now. The question is, will you be embracing it?

Author:  Olayinka Ahmed (@GalacticoHD)