Social media influencer marketing is less than a decade old and it’s evolving at a breakneck pace. In earlier times, influencer marketing was seen as something of an online offshoot of celebrity endorsements
No one’s breaking the internet anymore. Over the past few years, we’ve seen a major realignment in the influencer marketing space. Businesses will need to realign their strategy and approach towards influencer marketing if they want these campaigns to succeed going forward. One key development is in terms of celebrities: celebrity influencers are in decline right now, offering a lower ROI and less authenticity. Why has this happened? And what do businesses need to do in order to succeed?
Social media influencer marketing is less than a decade old and it’s evolving at a breakneck pace. In earlier times (by which we mean literally just a few years ago), influencer marketing was seen as something of an online offshoot of celebrity endorsements. Celebrity influencers on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, all had pride of place in any influencer marketing campaign. Buy-in costs were immense - often several times the current influencer marketing budget at many firms. However, exposure, too, was likewise immense: top-tier celebrity influencers would have tens of millions of followers, offering brands an unprecedented degree of visibility and the prestige of a celebrity endorsement.
There were obvious drawbacks to this model, even early on. Kim Kardashian has nearly 200 million Instagram followers (a sizeable percentage of all accounts on Instagram). But this meant that businesses had next to no control over audience targeting: a major celebrity endorsement would mean visibility, but to whom? What use is brand visibility if nine out of ten users aren’t in your target demographic?
The cost was the other key drawback. Conventional celebrity endorsements were never cheap. Top firms paid top dollar to get these endorsements because of broad-based celebrity appeal. This trend carried over to the social media influencer marketing space. Celebrity endorsements on social media could cost thousands of dollars - or more. This limited small and medium-sized firms from engaging with celebrity influencers at all. What has led to the actual decline in celebrity influencers over the past few years, though? The short answer is, micro-influencers.
The rise of micro-influencers and targeted influence
Micro-influencers have fan followings between 10,000 to 50,000 users. This is a fraction of the audience followings of most celebrities. However, it’s still several times higher than the average user. The small community is actually beneficial when it comes to influencer marketing. Micro-influencers have very tight control over how their message goes out and who receives it, leading to a far more personalized experience. Micro-influencers directly connect with followers and often respond to messages and comments, creating a level of trust and personal engagement that celebrity influencers simply cannot manage. And because of the fact that they aren’t celebrities, micro-influencers garner an additional layer of trust, because they’re regular people.
The rise of micro-influencers has had a significant impact on how businesses make decisions with regards to their influencer marketing strategies.
How micro-influencers have reshaped influencer marketing
Cost and micro-targeting have turned into critical advantages as businesses look to make the best possible use of their influencer marketing budgets. The cost factor has allowed a far wider range of businesses to leverage influencer marketing: small businesses and startups can allocate money without exhausting constrained social media budgets. Larger businesses can build stables of micro-influencers to push their message across geographies and demographics. This is where targeting comes into the picture.
As we’ve already mentioned, celebrity influencer marketing gives brands very little control over the target audience in terms of demographics or preferences: it’s a massive investment for what’s essentially a gamble. Micro-influencers, on the other hand, are respected within their followings for being experts in specific niches like photography, fashion, or tech. Unlike celebrities, micro-influencers are for the most part experts in or least well aware of the kind of products and services they promote. Because of this knowledge, micro-influencers can also tailor their content to specifically cater to your target audience. By leveraging unique, targeted content and micro-influencers in the right niches, businesses can generate tremendous ROI, reach the right audiences, with minimal investment.
Celebrity influencers have had their day, and with good reason: from a business perspective, micro-influencers offer greater ROI, the chance to reach more targeted audiences, better control over their message, and far lower buy-in costs. As the world becomes increasingly connected, people are set to turn towards the micro-influencers they trust to make purchase decisions, instead of relying on celebrity endorsements. Businesses need to tap into this opportunity by building and implementing effective micro-influencer marketing strategies.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.
Your e-mail information will not be shared with anyone else. And it will be used only to send out our latest news.
BW Communities is an array of business news websites targeted towards niche communities and readers across various industries