To understand the rise of influencer marketing, it’s first important to have a grasp on what “influencer” means. Social media influencers are celebrities or simply those online users who have amassed a large following. Typically followed by at least 100,000 users, these individuals use their reach to promote the brands and products they care about and can often make a career out of this type of marketing.
Influencers are on the rise
Although they have been around as long as social media itself, influencers are really just starting to gain attention for what they can provide. Big corporations and even small business owners are partnering with influencers to help market their products or services. By way of an example, Cristiano Ronaldo partnered with Nike and helped the company generate almost $500 million in revenue.
How does Nike know it was Ronaldo and not just the popularity of their brand that generated that revenue? They tracked Cristiano’s activities and the responses he garnered. In 2016, he posted a total of 1,703 times. Those posts generated 2.25 billion responses in the form of likes, comments, and shares. Looking closer at those posts, Ronaldo mentioned Nike in 347 of them and those posts alone resulted in 447 million interactions. This means Cristiano provided Nike with $499.6 million in media marketing.
Every business can afford an influencer
While the partnership between Cristiano Ronaldo and Nike might be an exceptional example, there’s a social media influencer to fit every budget. From micro and medium-sized influencers to top name celebrities, everyone is getting in on this game. Since it benefits both sides of the partnership, it’s easy to see why it’s taking the place of more traditional methods of marketing and advertising.
An influencer is approachable, too. In traditional marketing, consumers get little more than a hard sell. In influencer marketing, however, the celebrity can interact with other users. He or she can explain why the brand they’re representing is their top choice and what they like about it.
The reason this works so well is because people emulate their idols and want to be just like them. If Ronaldo Cristiano wears Nike, so will his fans. Combined with greater accessibility, the ability to share a love for a product drives consumers to that influencer’s brand of choice. Even where they may not realize it, consumers are drawn to products promoted by people they admire. Compared to a system of pay per click advertising, it’s easy to see the big draw of contracting with influencers to sell your products.