Before buying a product, customers are faced with many choices and decisions. Some examples that might sound familiar to you are: ‘Is this right for me?’ ‘Are there any side effects?’ ‘Is this as good as advertised?’ Advertisements from companies are often unsuccessful in persuading consumers; they prefer personal reviews and recommendations from people similar to themselves — other consumers.
Social media has allowed its users to freely and publicly express their opinions, even with people they have no contact with in the outside world. Consumers believe these realistic and relatable online reviews from other consumers much more than facts and figures or structured advertisements from companies. The credibility of posts increases if the reviews come from individuals whom consumers “follow,” also known as influencers.
Influencers and their followers have a special relationship. Most of the followers have seen their influencers grow, either on Instagram, YouTube, Blog, or Facebook. They give their influencers feedback, which the influencers reply to, building their own communication platform. Unlike celebrities, influencers have a relatable ‘girl-or-boy-next-door’ vibe, allowing their followers to easily relate to and connect to their influencer idols.
When these influencers give their opinions of products, their expertise grabs their followers’ attention because they are considered to be honest and trustworthy. The followers are therefore more likely to have less doubts and to purchase the products that their influencers have spoken about. In several cases, sales of certain products has increased immensely after the influencers’ reviews. A joint study by Twitter and Annalect has shown that roughly 40 percent of respondents have purchased an item online after seeing it in a post by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, Vine, or YouTube. 49 percent said they rely on influencers when making purchasing decisions.
A similar case of strategic usage of influencer marketing was done by Lord & Taylor, a retailer brand. When Lord & Taylor partnered with 50 influencers on Instagram and had the influencers wear an identical dress, the dress sold-out the following weekend.
Influencers are more than just online stars; they are the bridge that connects companies and consumers. With the help of the influencers, companies can successfully promote their products to their consumers.