There has been a huge influx of influencer marketing campaigns. Here we break down what is influencer marketing and how it can help your business.
Influencer Marketing is Being Replaced, Here's Why
It is time for the new era of influencer marketing. What's taking over and how can you adjust? We have the details right here.
As a company that's built its platform around helping brands and influencers work together more efficiently, we're all too familiar with the highs and lows of the influencer marketing industry. And here's the thing the term "influencer marketing" is about to be replaced. This is because the term and the industry have morphed.
An "influencer" was originally defined as anyone that could influence the actions of others, on a smaller big scale. Trusted individuals that are authentic and honest. But now the term "influencer" makes most people think the opposite.
As the marketing landscape changes, it is important that brands focus their campaigns on what matters. Which is building relationships and trust with real people that truly influence buying decisions, not "influencers."
Because of that, we are breaking up with the term "influencer marketing" and redefining what we believe will be the future of marketing in the next decade.
Why is Influencer Marketing Falling Out of Favor?
In looking at the history of influencer marketing, there are a few key reasons why it’s being edged out:
1. It’s Gotten a Bad Rap
When most everyday people think of influencer marketing, it’s hard not to conjure up images of the Kardashian’s caption blunders, or a mega-influencer promoting products that don’t align with their interests, personal brand or values just for a quick buck.
While these situations may not be the norm, they’ve happened enough with celebrity and mega-influencers to tarnish influencer marketing’s reputation. And when they do happen, the content created fails to do the one thing it was meant to do: drive influence.
How influencers are perceived has a big impact on how their recommendations are received. If the influencer behind the post isn't credible, how can we expect their content to do any influencing?
In today’s day and age, consumers are already skeptical and can tell when someone's heart isn't in the content they've created. While some influencers may post for the paycheck, consumer trust can’t be bought. And once an influencer has promoted a product they don’t believe in, their audience will begin to question their future recommendations.
2. The Term has Lost its Meaning
These days, brands are redefining what it means to work with influencers – partnering with people who have wide and varying ranges of followers, forming long-term partnerships, running always-on campaigns, requesting various types of content, and more.
Because of this, the term has lost its meaning in a lot of ways. What one person thinks of when they hear the term “influencer marketing” may be vastly different from what the next person thinks, leading to misunderstandings of the type of campaign being discussed.
3. The Social Media Landscape has Changed
The social media landscape has changed, even right down to social media platforms’ algorithms. Newer apps like TikTok are prioritizing discovery more and more, leading to numerous cases of brand new TikTokkers going viral overnight and even contributing to products selling out rapidly.
The fact of the matter is, people are consuming more content than ever, and anyone with a platform has influence, regardless of follower count. The word “influencer” hardly means anything anymore as a result of this shift, and we feel it doesn’t accurately represent how product discovery works, anyway. People want product recommendations from other people — it rarely matters if those people have large followings or are merely posting for their immediate friends and family.
This entire ideology helps consumers picture themselves with the product: they don’t want to see polished, picture-perfect shots of celebrities holding a product, they want authentic, user-generated content and genuine reviews that they can trust. This is what helps them make decisions in a saturated social media landscape.
But is Influencer Marketing Dying?
Influencer marketing isn’t all bad, of course. It just needs a new term that actually represents the value that it brings. The key is getting your brand in the conversations where buying decisions are happening. Here’s what still works:
Micro-Influencers and Everyday Consumers
We’ve been team micro-influencer from day one, since we saw better results compared to the macro-influencers.
Definitions of what a micro-influencer actually is may vary; in general, anyone with 2,500 - 25,000 followers might qualify as a micro-influencer. These creators have smaller, often niche, audiences with whom they’ve created a stronger bond of trust, so recommendations from them carry more weight.
Like we mentioned above, anyone with a platform has the ability to drive influence, so micro-influencers who are creating authentic, valuable content are included in that – as would everyday consumers.
Genuine Product Recommendations
People will always rely on product recommendations to inform their purchase decisions, whether online or off, so any authentic product recommendation is still valuable for your brand.
However, consumers have a way of sensing when a creator isn’t being entirely genuine in their review, so it's the real, authentic content that will never go out of style. These sincere reviews, testimonials and recommendations from peers actually carry significant weight: 92% of consumers trust recommendations from other people over brands, even if they don’t know the person in question, so authentic product reviews can make a world of difference in your sales funnel.
Even though influencer marketing is retiring, product recommendations will still play a big role in the buyer's journey.
User-generated content remains a critical upside of running an influencer marketing campaign. UGC is highly effective as a marketing tool — in fact, only 15% of people prefer branded visuals over UGC, so sprinkling it into your marketing funnel can help ensure you're creating marketing content your target audience actually wants to see.
User-generated content can also save you tons in terms of resources, from time, money and energy, provided you've received permission to reuse that content in your other marketing efforts. Any UGC that you repost to your social media profiles (or your website, or your marketing emails, etc.) saves you from having to create that content in-house, meaning more dollars in your pocket and more time for your team to focus on bigger and better projects. Not to mention the social proof it adds.
What's Taking its Place?
Clearly, people learning about products from each other isn’t going away, but the method in which this happens is. Consumer-to-consumer marketing (aka C2C marketing) fills in the gaps between what brands want from the influencer marketing process and what consumers look for when discovering new products. C2C marketing turns consumers into a marketing channel, allowing them to discover brands they love from people they trust (other consumers like them) instead of from the brands themselves or from influencers they don't relate to.
Here’s a deep dive into what C2C marketing is and how it’s applied.
Above and beyond replacing influencer marketing, consumer-to-consumer marketing encompasses all of the ways people learn about products from one another online and how brands can leverage that process to make their entire marketing funnel more effective.
From getting everyday consumers with a genuine interest in your products to try them and post about them, to bringing on brand ambassadors, to adding the content they create throughout your marketing funnel, consumer-to-consumer marketing is everything we’ve always wanted from influencer marketing, without the baggage.
C2C marketing might be a lot to take in, but don’t panic. Statusphere is here to help. As the first-of-its-kind platform dedicated to helping you scale your consumer-to-consumer marketing efforts, we can take the work of running a new marketing campaign off of your plate and help you save time, energy and resources while getting the right people posting about your products.
Ready to get started? Chat with our C2C marketing experts to find out how you can make the shift from influencer marketing to consumer-to-consumer marketing.