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A Heads Up on How Influencer Marketing Has Changed Over the Years
When I first wrote about influencer marketing on social media, it was new and a real game-changer. But is it still a thing in 2023?
In a word, yes! But there are shifts in who the influencers are and how they are wielding that influence. Back in 2015, I described influencer marketing like this:
Basically, brands take their products and team up with an “influencer” to demonstrate/sample/review their product. For instance, a monthly subscription box of makeup samples might team up with a YouTuber. That YouTuber would receive a free box, make a video where they use and try the products, and all of their followers would see the video.
YouTube is still around, of course, but influencers who are pitching products to those younger than thirty are all on TikTok now. Consumers are spending more time than ever on digital media, making all kinds of purchases from the comfort of their living rooms. Watching someone else make a video showing me whether or not a curling iron works the way it’s supposed to is a big time-saver for people like me and avoids a lot of the guess work. I don’t have to personally buy it, use it, and return it. Instead, I listen to the opinion of someone I trust.
Influencers are hardly new to marketing. Celebrities have long shown up on television, in radio spots, in print ads – probably people even wanted to buy the same powdered wig Louis XV was wearing. The most believable recommendations come from people that we “know” and that includes the people that we like to follow on social media.
Influencer marketing has only become more popular with advertisers, and it looks like it will continue for quite a while. That means the relationships between advertisers and influencers has become more formal and small businesses may find it difficult to afford a big-name celebrity.
But don’t worry! There’s another trend that’s happening in 2023 and that’s micro and nano influencers. People aren’t blind to the fact that big celebrities can’t possibly really know and use all the products associated with their name. A popular influencer may have a long follower list, but their engagement rate is way down from the early days. Research shows that influencers with fewer followers tend to engage better with those followers which leads to more sales.
Who the micro or nano influencer is important, too. When you’re talking about finding someone followers can “like, know, and trust” for boosting conversions, the average generic celebrity can’t hold a candle to someone who is an expert in the industry that you are working with. Whose opinion on a product would you find most compelling – a random famous person’s or a leader in the field?
Specialized influencers, people who can be your long-term partners, are going to trend for the foreseeable future. To find these kinds of influencers, you have to really know your audience inside and out. Your chosen influencer will need to prove to this audience that their opinion is worth hearing and believing. On the plus side, a micro influencer should fit into a small business owner’s marketing budget!
Personalization and authenticity are more important than ever in marketing. The platforms where influencers connect with followers keep changing, but the importance of engaging in a genuine way never changes. Influencers, of course, are only one way to get in front of your perfect audience. Social media advertising, content marketing, and other options are available to you as well. If you’re wondering what would work best for your business, give us a call and let’s talk it over!
Photo by Aviz
This article is an update to “Influencer Marketing: The Next Big Thing” dated 7/16/2015.
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Breanne is a Content Writer, Social Media Marketeer, and Sales Associate for Sprocket Websites. Other posts by Breanne Bannon