Influencer Marketing is a marketing strategy used in social networks and on the social web to spread advertising messages with greater reach. This is accomplished with the assistance of an influencer, who is a person who is highly respected in social networks, is particularly well networked in the blogosphere, or is already perceived as a competent expert in a particular niche. The influencer acts as a multiplier for the advertising message in this type of marketing.
Influencer Marketing is largely based on word of mouth marketing and referral marketing. If a person recommends a product, the probability of the recipient believing and acquiring the product is high. If the person receives incentives or benefits, the advertising effect and identification with the company may be even greater. The difference with influencer marketing is that the advertising message is multiplied by the reach of the influencer. In the best case, viral dynamics will be created.
The psychologist and economist Robert Cialdini coined the term “influencer” in his book “Influence: Science and Practice,” which was published in the US in 2001. The book’s key concept is that people are relatively easy to influence. Actions can be controlled to some extent by the click-whirr effect, because we follow certain patterns. According to Cialdini, the principles of this influence can be described as follows:
* Reciprocation: Free goods generate a sense of obligation in the recipient. He, on the other hand, will respond to this behavior in order not to owe anything. Example: Incentives and registrations for newsletters.
* Consistency: The recipient commits himself because he wants to be consistent in words and deeds. He therefore commits himself to a certain behavior, which is expected subsequently.
* Social proof: When other recipients show similar behavioral patterns, they appear all the more attractive. A person who is unsure about a purchase will base their purchase decision on that of others.
* Liking: Many decisions are made on the basis of sympathy. People tend to be convinced when they find their counterparts sympathetic and attractive.
* Authority: A certain degree of authority leads to obedience. People are quick to follow a concept based on knowledge, experience or competence. Decision-making is supported and easier. People therefore react more strongly to symbols of authority such as expensive clothing or luxury items.
* Scarcity: The scarcity of a product creates demand because people perceive things, products or information as particularly important when they are not immediately accessible. The term coined by Cialdini has acquired a different meaning with regard to the social web. It no longer relates just to psychological influence, but also to the largest possible sphere of effects. Influencers are powerful in that they have a sufficiently large network. Reach is a resource that can result in higher sales.
The types of influencer marketing can be distinguished according to the context in which the activities are to be implemented. Both types of communication are generally one-to-many communication, whereby the influencer as an intermediary is of particular importance. In the B2C sector, influencer marketing is strongly dependent on the person who is supposed to spread the advertising message as broad a range as possible. In B2B communication, expertise and technical know-how are the most important factors. Personal relationships and a network for disseminating content are required in both contexts. An understanding of how this knowledge can be conveyed is likewise needed. In the case of editorial articles in specialist magazines, the range can be smaller in favor of better content orientation and specialized knowledge.
There are specialists, specialist journalists, and stakeholders in almost every industry who are eligible as influencers. Sponsorship and collaborations are a good way to do influencer marketing. Finding the right contact, whether a blogger, specialist journalist or sports icon is paramount. Tools can be used to evaluate profiles in social networks with regard to their reach, for example. The content and the personal contact with the influencer can be decisive for the success of a campaign.
Contact with influencers needs to be established and then maintained. The initial contact can be facilitated by specific requests. For example, companies can ask an already identified influencer about their opinion on a product. Free test products are a popular means to make contact. It is important to give the influencer the impression that their expertise and good reputation are in demand. Successful influencer marketing is highly dependent on skillful communication. Similar to customer empowerment, the commitment of the influencer and possible users can be increased specifically.
Influencer marketing can be a strategy in the marketing mix. The branding effect should be emphasized in addition to the objective of the greatest possible reach. The image of a company may be influenced by an influencer.
A key advantage of influencer marketing is the role the company plays. It disseminates the advertising messages only in the first instance to the influencer, who then turns to a wider group of recipients. The company remains in the background. The probability of the recipients of the advertising message giving it more credibility than would be the case for direct marketing or dialog marketing is correspondingly high.
The effectiveness of influencer marketing also depends on the type of industry or niche. Not all products or services are equally suitable for this marketing method. Moreover, monitoring should be used to evaluate the actual ROI.