Dr Somdutta Singh, Serial Entrepreneur | MD, Assiduus Global | Investor | Bestselling Author | Advisor – Govt of India.
There are three prongs in the very subject of this article: who can be an influencer, the importance of influencer marketing in e-commerce and whether or not the former adds value to the latter’s ecosystem. Let me begin with the most crucial bit.
What does it mean to be an influencer?
Is it the blue tick validating an account? Is it the number of followers on their social channels? Is the larger the number of followers directly proportionate to a stimulus, and finally, a transaction, which is the solitary objective for any business, isn’t it? I would say that none of the above stands true.
In short, a person’s eminence and affluence are in conflict with their reliability and conviction when marketing a product. Having a blue tick and an enormous volley of followers are mere secondary elements to an influencer’s overall function.
Today, it is a matter of authenticity, dependability and being sincere. This brings me to another question: Who is an influencer? A person can be a true influencer and play an active role in business decision-making that ultimately leads to purchase when his/her circle of trust is indestructible. To be able to influence someone is to be able to create a circle of trust that someone can have faith in.
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Here, I’d like to elucidate with an example. Model Gigi Hadid was roped in by McDonald’s to promote their wares. Let’s get one thing straight. Customers aren’t unintelligent followers. Why would someone chow down on burgers and fries from a fast-food company only because their favorite model is doing so while knowing full well that the model will never consume them? The unlikely combination of a supermodel and fast food stirred up huge arguments. It was an influencer campaign that backfired theatrically.
On that note, I am an Amazon Influencer, but why would someone buy from me if they do not have faith in me and trust what I am advertising? Marketing is driven by trust, not the number of followers a person has on Instagram or Facebook. At the very core, my small or large circle of trust — my family, friends, business networks and close associates — knows that when something is coming from me, they can trust me instinctively.
That’s the power a true influencer wields. Because purchase decisions include a lot of dynamics — economic, political, market fluctuations — the concept of the circle of trust expands into and expedites the customer’s acquisition.
How is influencer marketing used in e-commerce?
Former business executive and author Seth Godin has said, “People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.”
When I’d founded my current e-commerce company, I knew that everything we did for our client brands and proprietary brands — from creating ideas to building strategies, from conception to execution — would have to be magical. This is simply because we function in a world where demand for responsiveness across the prevalent tons of marketplaces is skyrocketing and there are infinite possibilities in the product playfield. Of course, customers are exhausting themselves to understand who they can trust and who are counterfeit.
That’s where influencer marketing comes into play. Here are some stats that can prove my point on why influencer marketing in e-commerce is such a rage:
• According to an Elite Study, only 1% of millennials trust advertisements, whereas 33% of them trust blog reviews when making a purchase.
• Adweek reports (registration required) that, in 2016, 40% of people made a purchase seeing an influencer use a product on YouTube, Instagram or Twitter.
• Tomoson has found that influencer marketing has been able to proffer yields $6.50 ROI for every dollar that has been spent.
Interesting, isn’t it? Like I mentioned earlier, influencer marketing is all about making a genuine connection. When we make people feel connected with the influencer, they often make a purchase, which in turn multiplies sales because they spread the word, also bourgeoning word-of-mouth marketing.
Does influencer marketing impact businesses’ bottom lines?
I would say, absolutely. The future of influencer marketing looks encouraging on account of the expansion of internet services across the world, penetration of smartphones universally, intensifying acceptance of social media and the way influencers have been able to alter people’s sentiments substantially.
A trusted influencer can make or break your brand, advance sales rapidly, recover marketing ROI and, finally, intensify brand awareness. Needless to add, since influencer marketing leverages the trust and authenticity of one person who commands a certain degree of conviction and confidence to influence people to go all the way to finally make a purchase, social media marketing and content marketing go in tandem.
As long as we have the pursuance of social media and good content to influence us, influencers will continually be leveraged by e-commerce brands, both large and small, to sculpt consumers’ sentiments and outlook in the direction of a certain product or service. Influencer marketing is not going anywhere.