Influencers – when should we use them? - The Social Lamb

The Social Lamb

Influencers – when should we use them?

One of the marketing techniques we’re hearing about more and more often is making use of social media influencers to endorse products and engage with different target audiences.
Using influencers is an attempt by marketers to engage with their audiences in our increasingly hyper-connected digital age to ensure that they remain engaged and keep coming back for more! But what is influence and how can marketers use it to their advantage?

Banking on the trust of an influencer

Social influence is centred predominantly around building trust and using that trust to affect people’s actions and decisions within a particular social environment. It has become a highly valuable product in our modern society due to the way younger generations tend to respond and react to conventional marketing tactics and make purchasing decisions, which is different to the way these things have typically been done in the past.
Influencers, in turn, are those who have already built and established their profile online and are able to sell or leverage the large following they’ve built up over time to brands or businesses who want to access those audiences or expand their network exponentially.
Influencers are often popular figures who have established credibility and authenticity in a specific industry and have the ability to persuade others to act based on their recommendations. But why is influence so important to us as marketers? What effect can it have on businesses and brands? The way marketers are able to influence people is by tapping into some of the basic psychological needs which lead humans to conform to the expectations of others. One of these primary needs is the need to be right, which leads us to accept information from another person (in this case, an influencer) as evidence of reality. For smaller or newer businesses who have not yet been able to build up their own audiences, making use of influencers to endorse their products or services is an effective way of accessing a larger audience very quickly, and there are a number of ways to collaborate with influencers who create particular content that is relevant to your business.

Aim for a good fit when choosing an influencer

These can be in the form of paid ads or editorials, product endorsements or sponsored social media posts. Smaller businesses who don’t necessarily have the budget to employ big-name influencers can get started with customers who are already endorsing their products online; those who typically engage with their content and loyal followers who are in fact already endorsing their business or brand in one way or another. If you’re looking for social media influencers to partner with in your particular industry, there are a number of websites and platforms you can use to do so. What we know about South African markets is that consumers build trust with public figures they recognise and know, which is why we often see well-known local celebrities signing endorsement deals for different products and services. What we recommend is aiming to build relationships with influencers you can walk a journey with, those individuals who resonate with your audience and your product, are a good fit with your brand, who will allow your followers to feel comfortable and confident that choosing your product or service is the right choice.