Growth of Social Media has unlocked plenty of opportunities for marketers to connect and engage with its target audience, through regular interactions, updates, games, competitions, videos and so on. However, in this digital era of ad communications, many customers have one unchanged behavior i.e. believing more on the opinions and reviews of the third person, than on the communication from the company itself. As per Nielsen’s report 83% of the respondents trust the opinions and recommendations of their family members or friends, 66% trusts the online opinions and 66% have trust on the editorial content, which is generally shared online by the professional influencer.

Professional Influencer acts as an expert for some specific product category and provides an in-depth review for the newly launched or upcoming products in that product category, with personal opinion and relevant ratings, to suggest its viewers whether or not to buy this newly launched product. Utilization of such professional influencer for the awareness & promotion of the product by an organization is considered as Influencer Marketing. As per the report of Internet & Mobile Association of India (IMAI) & Yaap, during last three years, influencer marketing has witnessed three times growth in the search volume, thus, acceptance rate of this interactive promotion medium has rising at a faster rate.

Considering someone having large number of followers as a good influencer is a myth, as there are few other crucial factors which makes the role of influencer effective enough for the brands.

Ability to win the Trust of the target audience
Ability to develop interesting, engaging & believable content, consistently
Ability to convince the target audience to Act in a certain way

In addition, companies may have their own set of expectations from the influencers, they decide to work with. For instance, in the words of Taj Hotels spokesperson, “We have a stringent vetting process in place which entails analyzing the influencers’ content on Instagram, the style of imagery, the product descriptions, the kind of comments received, engagement levels, age of followers, countries that the followers reside in and other brands that the influencer has worked with in the past.”

Influencer marketing is being used by new and upcoming brands, as well as by big and established brands who also spends big amount on other promotional mediums and celebrity endorsement. E.g. Puma having Virat Kohli as brand ambassador for its mass media advertisements, have also partnered with variety of influencers like fitness coach, tattoo artist, sneakerheads and so on.

Influencer Marketing Vs. Advocate Marketing:

Although the terms sound similar, both have different meaning and application in the marketing. As discussed above, Influencer marketing is concerned with use of professional influencer(s) to share the word; however, Advocate Marketing refers to utilization of existing loyal customers to share their positive brand experience through reviews and references.

How to get started with the Influencer Marketing:

Know & understand Target Audience first, before identifying the influencers
Set the Appropriate Goals, in terms of Reach, Engagement, Product trials, and sales.
Identify suitable and relevant Influencers, based on the parameters discussed above and the budget
Content Planning & Execution, based on the interest of the target audience and the goals defined
Analyze & Control, the performance of the influencer marketing campaign and made necessary modifications, if the results doesn’t match with the goals set.

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