Love them or hate them, we’re led to believe that they make the marketing world go round.
Is this really true? Or has the influencer hype slowed down?
Is influencer marketing dead already?
Let’s take a look at the current state of internet culture and see if influencers are still a good use for your hard-earned cash!
What is Influencer Marketing?
I think it’s always good to start with the what so – for the purposes of this guide – this is my definition:
Influencer marketing is the activity of using social media creators or “influencers” to promote your business’ products or services to their audience/community through their social media channels.
What is an Influencer?
Let’s get our definition of an influencer down as well.
Simply put, an influencer is a social media content creator who has an audience online who they have some kind of influence with.
Influencers can come in all sizes, from a few hundred followers up to several million.
Over the past few years, especially with the rise of platforms like Instagram, we have seen more and more brands using influencer marketing as a major tool in their market armoury.
Heck, you look at brands like Gymshark who have exploded over the last decade and it has been purely off of the back of influencer marketing.
But has the moment passed? Has that ship sailed? I mean, everyone knows about influencer marketing – it’s not really a secret weapon any more? Is it?
Look to Culture
The key to questions like “is influencer marketing dying?” is to look at culture.
It’s very easy for us to be influenced by what other people in the industry are saying, through leaders online, etc.
Another huge danger is us being influenced by our own feelings, beliefs, and emotions. You might find yourself being influenced by your personal views on influencers, the shallowness of social media, etc.
The key. The real key with these sorts of questions is to look at one thing. Consumer behavior.
If you watch consumer behavior, that’s where you will normally find your answer.
So let’s look at current consumer behavior – especially when it comes to social media.
What’s hot right now and how are consumers using social media platforms, and more importantly, how are they making their buying decisions?
The Explosion of TikTok
It’s no secret that TikTok has seen huge growth in the past few years and that doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
The crazy thing (which people above 25, like me) will find astounding is that younger generations are turning to TikTok for search queries.
Yes…we “Google” stuff – Gen Z “TikTok” stuff.
That’s no joke. It’s well-documented.
So – that’s curious.
What else is curious is the spectacular rise of TikTok shop.
“Social selling” is absolutely booming. We are seeing what has been happening in certain parts of Asia, especially China coming into vogue here.
People get recommended products by their favorite TikTok influencers and are able to buy them, through the platform, seamlessly.
I want you to understand how seismic this shift is.
Previous to this, if you wanted to have an influencer promote your product and sell it, say through Instagram. This would be the user journey:\
- User would see a piece of content on Instagram (perhaps a Reel) featuring a product.
- User would have to click through to the influencer’s “Link in Bio” to find a link to the product.
- User would then have to go off of the Instagram app, and add the product to the cart on a 3rd party website.
- User has to put in all of their shipping details, payment details, etc to complete the purchase.
TikTok shop completely tips this on its head.
TikTok already has the user’s information. As a user you see an influencer promoting a product, you want to buy it, you just tap in app and buy it. It’s pretty much 1-click.
This is a game-changer.
This is the future.
TikTok is investing heavily in this. Heavily in onboarding brands. Heavily in onboarding and incentivising creators.
Rumour has it that they are even aggressively building fulfillment centers.
Yup. Amazon style.
So – is Influencer Marketing Dead?
I find it really hard to be fully aware of the above info and think that influencer marketing is dead.
We are seeing a seismic shift in eCommerce before our very eyes and influencers are front and center.
We are not just talking TikTok either. I use it as the best example because they are industry-leading right now when it comes to innovation in the social media space.
But where exciting innovation is happening, others will follow.
You don’t think that Meta and their platforms will want a piece of this pie?
Look to platforms like Twitter, too.
Elon Musk clearly wants to create a “killer app” which is the west’s answer to WeChat.
That’s something hard to ignore. It’s hard to think that commerce, influence, etc isn’t going to be integral to the success of something like this.
What Should I Do?
Well – if you are a business owner or a marketer for a brand, I can tell you what you shouldn’t do.
Do not ignore influencer marketing.
Get some skin in the game however you can.
“But influencer marketing is expensive”.
Sure. It really can be. To do a traditional paid influencer marketing campaign with a single creator, expect to pay £500-£50k+.
Who said you had to do things the traditional way though?
Heck – you can give influencers products or services and they will share their experience – you just have to find the right influencers (ThingyBridge is a great platform for this!).
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