Influencer marketing has existed in many forms over many centuries. For me, a favourite childhood memory is the Spice Girls. Despite advertising their own products, they made every product they produced very appealing and instilled the desire to own it. My desire to own their products was the lifestyle associated with it and the perceived social status I would have by owning them. This was done during a time when social media was a distant thought.
Word of mouth has always been a powerful tool, more so the first hand referral/testimonial element. Through the decades, the channel through which this type of message was conveyed has evolved, but the principle of endorsement has remained unchanged. The birth of social media in the past decade has given rise to the type of influencers we know today.
Between 2010 and 2019, influencer marketing seemed to be on an upward trajectory. During this time the number of influencers grew, brands started acknowledging the power of their influence, which ultimately saw the inclusion of influencer marketing in marketing strategies.
Throughout the last decade, many fake partnerships, bot technologies and fake followers made waves in the industry which questioned the value of influencers and their perceived power. I am of the opinion that this industry ‘shake up’ gave birth to the micro (10 000 – 50 000 followers) and nano (10 000 followers or less) influencers.
Despite the following of the aforementioned influencers, they were able to identify with niche consumer segments – across smaller areas and connect with them in a way larger influences could not. This type of influencer was able to connect with their followers more personally, resulting in more real connections.
I definitely believe that influencers and influencer marketing is and will remain relevant in 2022 and into the foreseeable future. As an avid social media consumer, I do believe that certain influencers need to adapt their approach in order to maximise their platform, specifically when connecting with me by namely;
- Be more relatable: Make me feel like I am part of your world, share your experiences by taking me on your journey.
- Be bold: Speak up on issues/challenges you and your community face. Use your influence to not only sell products and gain social clout but to create change, big or small.
- Be transparent: Give me honest and truthful reviews/experiences. I rely on you when considering products and brands. I don’t expect everything you review to be amazing.
- Be authentic: Stay true to yourself, it is very easy to spot the lack of passion and creative fatigue. Your followers are following you for a reason, give them the content you both enjoy.
- Be relevant: In an ever changing world, stay relevant, be tone sensitive and most importantly appropriate.
Bianca Petersen is a strategic media planner at Meta Media.
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