By Brianna Beitzel
About 1 in 2 consumers will believe anything an influencer says online. According to a Nielsen’s Global Trust report, a total of 46% of consumers are more likely to trust the opinion of their peers rather than that of any brand.1 Influencer marketing has a huge impact on the way companies and brands approach brand building. The trusted voice of an influencer is powerful and sets the stage for the creation of brand advocates, resulting in a slew of companies using influencers to communicate their brand message.
First of all, what are influencers?
According to Influencer Marketing Hub, influencers are those who have the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of their authority, knowledge or relationship with their audience through social media and, in return, are compensated for their efforts. Influencers often have a loyal following and a trusted voice, making them effective in persuading consumers to buy a product.
Why are they beneficial?
It is important to be strategic and understand the audiences of influencers when considering this type of program. But once your homework is done, opportunity knocks. When it comes to getting a big bang for your buck, influencers generate a great return on investment. Their robust following builds awareness and interest in your brand. Plus, it gives a brand direct access to its target market, drives website and online store traffic, and converts interest into paying customers at the click of a button.2 Not only are a brand’s existing followers being reached, but the additional followers of an influencer are engaging with a specific brand message.
The way in which you measure success of a program like this is through the amount of engagement with the influencer’s social media post and brand. This aspect of influencer marketing is unique, helping any brand break through the clutter with organic content that allows direct access to its target market. In return, a brand’s social following and awareness can slowly grow with more collaborations and, eventually, create brand advocacy within an audience.
How can influencers create brand advocacy?
Influencers are actually paid to promote a certain product. But, the ultimate goal for a brand is to make Influencers true brand lovers, not promoting a brand just because they are paid. Engagement plays a huge role in creating brand advocacy, which is initiated through influencers. A study conducted by the Internet Advertising Bureau found that social media can drive ROI by encouraging consumer engagement, increasing brand loyalty and brand sentiment. In addition, it found that about 90% of consumers would recommend a brand to others after interacting with it on social media.3
Creating Brand Love
Anyone can be a brand ambassador; the person doesn’t necessarily even have to be a paid influencer. The everyday consumers who talk about brands online, who share their opinions and thoughts on specific products, are in fact brand ambassadors. This is free exposure for a brand and is the purest form of advocacy. The true end goal for a brand is to create brand lovers who preach their love for a brand, not because they have to, but because they truly love it. The combination of brand ambassadors and influencers can create strong influencer programs and, as a result, create brand love among others.
In summary, influencers are brand advocates, and they can create brand advocacy through their content, voice and opinion. Influencer marketing has evolved over the years and, with its vast influence, has evolved brand building in the modern era. The power of brand advocacy cannot be underestimated, as peer opinion is most influential and creates lifelong brand lovers.