The essence of marketing is through communicating and interacting with people. Traditionally, marketers want to put their brands out there in face-to-face interactions with people such as tradeshows, pop-up stores, and exhibitions where the marketers and target audiences/potential customers can communicate with each other physically. Now with the revolution of social media and Internet, people can interact with people from all over the world as if they were standing right next to us in online settings. People can also share their work such as their clothes matching techniques and their exercise routines with each other online as well. Naturally, people who have better aesthetic tastings and self-presentation skills receive large and loyal audiences. Those people so-called influencers can wield great influence on their fans and this triggers more and more brands want to sponsor and collaborate with them to market and advertise their brands. However, influencer marketing can be both effective and ineffective.
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Influencer marketing from the micro social media celebrities can be very effective. First, these influencers know how to apply compliance techniques to make their audiences buy what they sell. For example, they establish themselves as authorities in certain areas where they are good at such as keeping fit and doing amazing makeup. According to Social Learning principle, people are constantly observing and learning from other people especially authorities to gain benefits and knowledge. As a female, you see the consistent sexy and fit figure Instagram model Alexis Ren keeps, you are more willing to buy her sportswear line Ren Active to gain the same image as her and also be a part of the “community” based on Social Proof principle.
For another example, social influencers such as bloggers who get sponsored by brands will employ reciprocatory principle by providing their special codes to give his or her fans discount such as 20% off when they purchase items from this brand. With the benefit, their fans tend to comply with their requests and buy the products from the brand they market. Second, these influencers are masters of impression management. They self-present themselves in pictures and videos with beautiful faces, sexy figures, effortless posing, good lighting, and professional quality. Moreover, they post vlogs and Snapchat/Instagram stories recording their daily routine. Fans follow them in their daily life videos as if they were part of their lives and experiencing their lives with them. They also actively engage with their fans. They ask them suggestions of topics for their next videos, they reply their fans’ comments, they also go live as if they and their fans were engaging face-to-face communications. In this way, they apply emotional appeal to build trust among their audiences and their audiences are more inclined to buy the products they sell.
However, there are “influencers” who do not have a real impact on their fans. On one hand, they can purchase fake followers; on the other hand, some female influencers with beautiful faces and sexy figures have a huge male following but not female following. In such cases, if a bikini brand sponsors them, they can show a great sexy figure in their bikini products and their male fans would engage with that post very well. However, most of the male followers will only like and comment on that picture but few of them will actually purchase that bikini for themselves. This kind of influencer marketing is ineffective.
Therefore, influencer marketing can be very effective or not effective at all. The key element when choosing an influencer to market your brand is to have your own judgment about whether they have a real impact on their fans, whether their fans are your target audiences, and whether this influencer suits your brand identity or not.
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