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Why Does Influencer Marketing Work (And How To Make It Work For You)?

Influencer marketing is everywhere around us. Today, 80% of marketeers admit that influencer marketing is an effective marketing tool. But why does it work and how to harness it to work for your organization?

Influence over a specific target group

As its simplest, influencer marketing works because the influencers have power over the desired target audience.

Influencers are masters of engaging with their own audience and over the years, they have created a community of sorts where their followers take their word and trust them. Perhaps for this reason, influencer marketing is typically used for increasing brand awareness, reaching new audiences, and generating sales and conversions.

More trustworthy than the brand itself

When thinking of why influencers hold such a special power over their audience, trust is the most important aspect. The widely known secret is that influencers have a special relationship with their followers.

The numbers from the survey of Matter Communications state that 61% of people are likely to trust recommendations from influencers, placing them in the same group with friends and family members, while only 38% trust recommendations from a brand. To back the numbers up, the Edelman Trust Barometer 2021 states that the trust in companies is relatively low. In fact, more than 56% of people believe that business leaders feed people with false information in order to mislead them.

Moreover, according to Hubspot, 71% of purchase decisions are made based on social media referrals rather than based on the communication of the brand itself.

Influencers are trusted because they are seen like the rest of us. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer 2021, people tend to have a higher trust in the people within the same local community; a category under which especially smaller influencers easily fall. They are openly giving a piece of themselves and sharing their personal life with their followers, just like a friend or a family member would. Through daily communication and engagement, they have earned the trust of their followers, and when they decide to give their face to recommend a product, they are to be trusted – just like a friend who just so happens to have a follower count of thousands.

From a nano-influencer to mega celebrities

In our minds, influencers are often connected with fashion bloggers, young Instagram celebrities, and YouTubers with millions of subscribers. In reality, the scene of influencers is much wider, and they can be split into four categories based on the follower count.

Mega-influencers are probably the most commonly known type of influencers; the social media superstars with more than a million followers.

Macro-influencers are influencers with a follower count between 100,000 and 1 million.

Micro-influencers are people with a follower count between 1,000 and 100,000. Despite the smaller number of followers, they have a high authenticity.

Nano-influencers are the people with less than 1,000 followers who have immense influence with a comparatively narrow niche.

Just like the follower count of different types of influencers, also the channels they use vary. While Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok come to mind when thinking of influencers, it is important to acknowledge that more business-related channels such as LinkedIn have their own influencer scene. Don’t skip over the influencer marketing simply because your organization operates in B2B – just change the point of view!

Tips for starting effective influencer marketing
  • Design the influencer work into your marketing strategy and set KPIs for it. Influencer marketing strategies focused on branding or engagements generate eight times more ROI. Always communicate the goals out to the influencer you work with.
  • Book budget. Many influencers get their monthly paycheck from their work, and they won’t work for free samples.
  • Choose the right influencer. Don’t get blinded by the follower count; sometimes micro or macro influencers reach your audience better than the ones with a large follower count. In fact, data says that micro-influencers have better engagement rates than mega-influencers.
  • Find an influencer who shares your values, represents your brand well, and shares the same audience you aim to communicate with. It is important to find an influencer you are comfortable working with and see eye to eye.
  • Remember that influencers are the top professionals when it comes to communicating your message to their audience. Don’t try to handcuff them. Instead, give them the freedom to communicate with their audience in their preferred way. They are the ones who know their audience the best, after all.
  • Use local agencies. Influencers are no different from other media personalities and especially the one with a larger follower count are often listed into an agency. Contact a local agency to find the most suitable influencer to work with.

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