Influencer Marketing In The Digital Age
Updated: Mar 19
The following is an article “Influencer Marketing In The Digital Age” by Marc Primo.
The term “influencer” is a relatively new one, primarily created during the social media boom in the late 2000s. While influencers might seem no different from product endorsers, the subtle difference between the two is that the former generates word-of-mouth via personalities who are highly respected in their fields, while the latter leverages on the image of famous people through celebrity brand association.
What are influencers made of?
To be considered an influencer, one must have a large following on various social media networks—with the most popular choice being Instagram. The minimum number of followers one must have in order to be considered an influencer varies, from a bare minimum of 2,000, with other sources quoting at least 10,000 followers and up to reach legit influencer status.
Influencers are not necessarily celebrities or well-known personalities. Most of the time, they are ordinary citizens who use their expertise on a particular subject matter to create a strong online presence, typically through Instagram posts and blogs, wherein they gain followers by regularly posting content on their respective niches that resonate with netizens.
How to use influencer marketing effectively
The following are tips for digital marketers to get the most out of influencers, and telltale signs of poorly executed influencer marketing campaigns that its target audience should look out for:
Tell a story — It’s easy for digital marketers to forget that there’s a lot more to influencers than simply asking them to mention your product or service in one of their posts. Even if the mere presence of your brand name will reach their 10,000 or more followers, failing to do so in a way that is engaging and relevant simply defeats the purpose if no connection between the brand and the influencer is established. Learn as much as you can about the lifestyle and habits of the influencer, then find a way to link those to what you are selling for best results.
Explore other channels — Just because most influencers are on Instagram doesn’t mean you have to limit your influencer marketing efforts to that platform alone. In fact, one good way to stand out from the growing clutter of influencers is to step out of the IG comfort zone and establish a presence in other popular social media sites where your target market would least expect it. Never underestimate the power and reach of YouTube as a channel that isn’t about videos alone, or Pinterest which is dedicated to every interest under the sun, making it an ideal venue for influencers to tell your story.
Abide by FTC guidelines — In some countries, culture dictates that food critics who are served free meals by dining establishments are obligated to write positive reviews, regardless of its quality, as it would be considered an insult to the chef to criticize his culinary expertise, especially if the dish was on the house. The problem with that is the reader will assume the food critic’s review is sincere, even when it is not. In the digital realm, the FTC has created guidelines for influencers that address the similar problem faced by food critics. To let the target audience distinguish between a personal post and paid post, influencers are now required to indicate within their posting that they are being compensated for it, to avoid misleading their followers.