Social media has been all the rage and for good reason. It builds brand awareness, targets an audience, builds relationships for lead nurturing, and allows businesses an opportunity to show off their personalities. The team at Roger West loves to show off their personalities, can't you tell? However, if businesses are not properly using social media they might as well not have an account at all.
Social Media Growth
Social media has grown exponentially since 2010, with less than a billion social media users worldwide. Oh, the days when everyone was humble and not taking selfies 24/7. Jump to 2019, and there are 2.9 billion active users. Now everyone is glued to their phones, even grandparents are Snapchatting their daily lives (Grandma please stop posting your cat on your story every 20 minutes).
The largest platforms for social media influencers are Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook. With the rapid growth in social media, businesses were looking for the next sensation to aid in marketing. Influencers were just that.
Misconception of Influencers
Influencers have been on the map for decades, predating the explosion of social media. They are known for being trustworthy and having the ability to persuade their fan base to buy from brands that sponsor them. Years later, this is the exact reason for the decline in influencer reach.
The trust fans once had for influencers has started to decline. People started buying followers and likes on posts so they would appear ‘viral’ to their audience. This is when influencer fraud emerged. Businesses would see someone with a large following and a high number of likes and think they had a real fan base, which led to a downward spiral of misconception. Unilever, one of the world’s largest consumer goods brands, trimmed its budget to limit influencer marketing. Influencer marketing started as a way for customers to trust businesses based on the recommendations of a ‘trusted’ influencer, but now 52% of millennials don’t trust them (no wonder, they are getting paid to say they like a product, and who knows if they’re being sincere).
Almost two-thirds of people have experienced influencer marketing fraud, which is now a brand safety concern for businesses. This brings up the subject of celebrity influencers such as Kylie Jenner, Ariana Grande, The Rock, etc. Do people trust them? Do you like The Rock? He seems like a good guy, right? Well, what would happen if you were to find out that wrestling is completely staged? Is your heart broken? Ours was too...but that’s showbiz. In other words, take influencer recommendations with a grain of salt.
Studies show that people trust the ‘Average Joe’ on Instagram more than typical influencers promoting products or services. Consumers are concerned that celebrities are more focused on the paycheck they will receive (as if they need any more money) from the sponsored post than their genuine opinion of the product or service. Does this mean that influencer marketing for social media is checked out?
Is Influencer Marketing Dead? Not Yet.
With an all-time low level of trust in influencers, will they find a way to regain the faith of their followers? A rising trend in the influencer industry is the emergence of ‘micro-influencers’. Yes, the term or delegation of ‘micro-influencers’ has a different meaning/definition, depending on who you talk to, but they have a smaller following; small but loyal. They have a smaller fan base than prior influencers (typically less than 10,000), but with an abundantly higher engagement rate. Today, marketers don’t care about how many likes or followers influencers have, but instead, care about true engagement (likes with interactions, visits, clicks, comments and so forth). Will this trend of micro-influencers survive in the world of social media? Only time will tell.
One thing is for certain - very much like brand campaigns, influencer strategies give brands the visual boost they need to generate more impressions and stimulate the brand awareness needed to get their message to the market.