Rise of Influencer Marketing In Public Relations

The rise of influencer marketing represents a new landscape, where brands and influencers are quickly adapting to the changing market demands

A new trend in public relations that many brands and companies have been using is influencer
marketing, which is all about leveraging the human element in marketing - tapping into the power of the recommendation and what you are willing to trust online. In a world where people have seemingly limitless options when it comes to the businesses they can
buy from and the resources they can learn from, communicating trust and authenticity are key. Influencer marketing gives you the power to tap into this potential. Marketers are always on the lookout for innovative and aggressive techniques to strengthen brand
reputation and acquire more customers. They have shifted from intrusive self-promotional tactics to more nuanced inbound strategies such as influencer marketing.

In recent months, brands and retailers have had to adapt to a pandemic that no one saw coming,
and one thing is for certain: engagement on sponsored content is increasing with more people at home and on social media. And while the pros of influencer marketing were prevalent to brands prior to COVID-19 (building trust and credibility, expanding your brand’s
reach, etc), this new landscape requires both brands and influencers to adapt quickly to a market where priorities have shifted, consumers may be more sensitive, and actions may be more highly scrutinized.

This has made consumers extremely skeptical about brands that indulge in self-promotion. That
is why the demand for new, innovative digital marketing strategies has been on the rise. The quest for an alternate approach has compelled brands to appreciate the power of influencers. Influencer marketing is becoming a favorite among digital marketers and
business owners. It’s true, the advertising world took a little while to get its head around influencer marketing. But if the basic idea seemed far-fetched a decade or so ago — that a person at home with a webcam might generate the kind of meaningful audience
a brand would pay good money to be associated with — it is certainly true now, and it’s evolving rapidly in the compressing economy. 

In a 2019 benchmark report by Influencer Marketing Hub, 92% of consumers believed that influencer
marketing was an effective form of marketing. Due in part to features like Checkout on Instagram, which allows consumers to select from various options such as size or color and proceed to payment without leaving Instagram, 83% of consumers surveyed claimed
to purchase items that are advertised by influencers.

The influencer marketing platform market is also growing at incredible scale as brands and agencies
look to foster deeper connections with consumers being “influenced.” With over 300 new influencer marketing-focused platforms and agencies entering the market in 2019, brands can now easily discover potential influencers, develop relationships with influencers,
and run campaigns. And while Instagram continues to dominate influencer marketing, other digital platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn increasingly play a pivotal role in extending a brand’s reach to engaged audiences.

Upon the introduction of COVID-19, the average screen time has increased and consumer habits
have shifted, meaning that brands need to be vigilant about hitting all digital platforms more than ever. During this unprecedented event, trusted social media influencers continue to be a reliable source of information and an effective, authentic way to communicate
with target audiences. It is clear that influencer marketing has reached a critical mass in recent years — one that allows it to share a platform with other tried and tested performance marketing channels without compromising the integrity of its appeal to
consumers.

With demands shifting, and as both brands and influencers need to output the right kind of content
in order to strive in a post-COVID climate, we can expect a lot more storytelling, with influencers showing their followers how they adapt to life at home and how different brands play into their new routines. The
rise of influencer marketing represents the new marketing landscape. Here, brands are attempting to connect with consumers on a more personal and tailored level. What better way to do that than getting people’s idols to recommend products in a way that people
enjoy. As the number of social media users continues to rise, the prevalence of influencer marketing will undoubtedly follow.

The most human brands will continue to come out on top, especially the ones that invest in building
long-lasting connections with their customers and partake in cultural conversations that are considered important to their target demographic. And, as the near-term effects of the coronavirus outbreak continue to be felt across the global economy, businesses
and creators in the influencer marketing industry will continue to adapt to the new “consumer state of mind” by developing strategies with active listening of their consumers’ needs and determining how their brand fits into people’s new routines under #socialdistancing.

The author is Madhvi Chaudhary, a Public Relations Manager

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