The internet has brought so many new professions and business ideas into existence. It has given birth to Social Media, which is probably the biggest game changer of the current times.
The variety and scale of audience it provides is unbelievable and which is why it has become one of the fastest growing business and entrepreneurship platforms too.
Amongst all this, there is an altogether new profession that is highly popular in the young generation, which is ‘Social Media Influencers’. We all know who they are and what they do. But what makes one think is why Influencer Marketing is so hyped and why are all the brands seeking their help rather than following the traditional approaches.
So, let’s understand what Influencer Marketing is.
What is influencer marketing?
First things first, Influencer marketing is a modern-day marketing campaign where brands endorse and promote their products or services with the help of the people who have a fairly large amount of audience on their social media platforms. So, basically, it’s a collaboration between brands and influencers.
So, when you see your favourite YouTuber suggesting you to use a certain face wash or maybe a pair of shoes, it is likely to be a sponsored video where a brand is planning to increase its popularity among a targeted audience through that YouTuber.
Why is social media marketing becoming popular in India?
There are a number of reasons behind this. Let us have a look at some of them:
Choice of Targeted audience:- This is probably the most vital advantage of Social Media Marketing to the brands as they get to choose the Influencer as per the type of audience they are targeting, their age group, interests, gender and so on.
For example, a brand that wants to promote its beauty products will go for a fashion and lifestyle Vlogger whereas a protein supplements brand would like to advertise its products through a health and fitness influencer.
On the other hand, with infamous celebrities it’s difficult to reach the right set of the audience without burning a hole in your pocket.
Cost effectiveness:- Money is and will always be one of the most important factors for any business. As mentioned earlier, this industry is still budding and new influencers are making their way in every day. So, owing to the increasing competition, the cost of collaborating with them is not too expensive.
This Cost effectiveness helps the brands to allocate finances to different influencers on various social media platforms.
You can choose an appropriate format for your product. It can be just a picture or a 10-minute-long video where the influencer explains what the product is all about.
On the contrary, it isn’t possible in traditional marketing concepts where even a 30 second advertisement on TV would cost you loads.
Trust Factor: An essential factor in building and strengthening a customer base that is loyal to a brand. For example, we all know how popular YouTuber Bhuvan Bam, popularly, BB ki Vines is.
If he promotes a particular product on his YouTube channel or his Instagram page, his followers will not question the quality of the product or the brand because he has successfully built a relationship with his audience.
Additionally, to stay credible Bhuvan Bam will not promote any brand which is trying to sell low quality products or is not genuine.
What are some misconceptions about influencer marketing?
Just like any other social media trend, internet users developed quite a few myths. Let’s take a look:
They are basically Ads which look like content.
Well, the main idea of influencer marketing is to promote a product through a content driven campaign and make more people aware of its existence. Unlike Ads, these campaigns are not predominantly focused on boosting sales.
Don’t they decrease the credibility of the influencers by putting up paid posts?
Well, the answer is NO. The consumer now is well aware of the authenticity of both the brand that is being promoted and the influencer who is promoting it. A paid post is just there to reach a wider audience by not just riding on the popularity of an influencer.
Can brands produce content on their own?
Yes, they can. But can they reach the right audience? We don’t know for sure. If someone with whom you resonate and follow will tell you about a certain product, you are likely to be interested in making a purchase.
Brands therefore find someone else who can create content on their behalf and do it in such a way that the consumers get attracted to it with a sense of trust and reliability to back their purchase.
Is the ROI even justifiable?
Hell yeah! Numerous studies tell us that Social Media Marketing has a higher Rate of Investment if compared to traditional digital marketing methods. The best part is that it continues to increase even after the campaign has ended.
This shows that Influencer Marketing is here to stay for a long period of time. As a brand, you just have to take care that the content promoting your product is creative, meaningful and looks authentic at the same time.
Also, the influencer chosen to drive the campaign must be credible and should have a loyal follower base. Moreover, the product placement should be done in such a way that it doesn’t look like a sell-out.
How influencer marketing has evolved in India?
It was in the year 2014 when Branded Content came to surface as a concept to marketers all around the world. In India, brand integration existed but was not strongly enough to attract masses.
The year 2016 can be termed as the golden year when ‘Social Media Influencers‘ became a thing and brands started considering the concept of influencer marketing seriously. Following this, the ideas of ‘niche audience’ and ‘content-driven marketing’ started to formulate.
The importance of credibility of an influencer and authenticity of a product played an important role in the success stories of brands.
2019 also saw a sharp growth in the increasing Influencers on apps like Instagram and YouTube and also the number of brand collaborations happening.
Currently, the situation stands at a place where Social Media Marketing is given the most importance when it comes to the digital aspects of the marketing game.
Brands now prefer marketing their products with various Influencers on the internet rather than going with famous Bollywood celebrities for TV Ads.
Going by the understanding gained from the perspective of influencers and brands, influencer Marketing is clearly one of the most important tools to make a marketing campaign successful. Though it is a very seasoned concept but has become popular and successful in a very short period of time.
Additionally, it is a concept that is open to all irrespective of how well known your brand is. If you have reaped benefits from influencer marketing, do share with us in the comments.