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The Era of Influencer Marketing

by M&Co. Staff

The rise of influencers continues to have a tremendous impact on the evolution of the marketing industry. We see an increasing number of influencers across audiences and channels, and while arguably, most people think of influencers as consumer and product oriented, this could not be further from the truth.

Businesses are paying more attention to both social media and influencers regardless of whether they are B2C or B2B-oriented. For a consumer brand, an influencer strategy may involve a celebrity posting an Instagram reel about a product, while a B2B influencer strategy may involve seeking an endorsement from a stakeholder.

We explore influencer marketing and its impact through these lenses:

  • Influencer strategies can be both paid and earned.
  • Influencers can be individuals or organizations.
  • An influencer is anyone who has a larger audience than the average person and can shape perception and motivate people to act.

What’s all the craze, you may ask? Here’s the scoop on why brands and businesses are jumping on the social media influencer bandwagon and are projected to spend a total of $35.09bn on influencer advertising in 2024 alone.

Unique Connection to Target Audience

One of the greatest benefits of using influencers as part of a marketing strategy is their one-of-a-kind direct link with a particular audience segment. Well-established influencers have a niche following of supporters, who largely trust their advice and opinion.

According to HubSpot’s April 2023 State of Consumer Trends survey, 30% of consumers say influencer recommendations are one of the most important factors in their purchasing decisions, compared to 27% of those from friends or family. We suspect the same is the case with businesses, although B2B influencer engagements have much less data and are often not made public.

Undivided Attention

Social media has a tremendous impact in bringing the impact of influencer strategies to life. If you are not telling all of your audiences about an endorsement or support you received from a particular stakeholder on social media or through a press release, then you are not fully exploring the depths of your strategy.

Forbes’ 2023 social media data shows an estimated 4.9 billion social media users are active every day across the globe. With the average person spending a significant amount of time in their day on social media, businesses are investing much more in reaching their target audience via social media platforms and investing in social media content that amplifies the impact of their work.

That being said, channels for showcasing influencer engagement are constantly evolving.

With one of the most recent innovations in short-form videos known as reels, influencers can capture the attention of their audience and deliver information in less than a minute. According to Forbes’ study, these short videos are grabbing the attention of 66% of people on the platform, on any given day, and are 2.5 times more engaging than longer videos.

Credibility and Reputation Building

Partnering with influencers, businesses feel assured they are reaching the specific group of people they are trying to target, not to mention that brands and businesses will be building awareness, credibility, and authenticity.

That being said, with the increasing number of influencers, it is becoming more difficult for businesses to identify who they should engage with, when, and how. When it comes to earned influencer strategies, this is even more difficult. How will a business show that it is worthy of the attention of an organization or individual that is considered a prominent influencer? With paid influencer engagement, there is a different challenge – how can businesses ensure that they are getting the most out of their investment?

The key consideration with both paid and earned influencer engagements is whether the strategy is advancing the business’ reputation and credibility.

Influencer marketing offers businesses a powerful avenue to enhance brand visibility, engage target audiences, and drive growth. Strategic collaborations with influencers can amplify their brand message and foster meaningful connections. As businesses navigate the dynamic realm of social media, influencer strategy becomes not just a marketing communications and public relations strategy, but a pivotal element in building and advancing one’s position in the industry.