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A few perspectives on influencers

These days some marketing campaigns include (or sometimes completely rely upon) influencers in the promotion blend. Influencers are one of the fastest growing forms of media. Influencers allow for highly targeted messaging and lend a brand an air of authenticity, and (sometimes, depending on the influencer) credibility. There are also risks, including that an influencer’s reputation can become tainted and/or misaligned with a brand and the ROI of influencers varies wildly. Still, it remains a viable strategy for many products and often its relatively low cost make it appealing to small, lesser known brands trying to build awareness and trial. Here are a few recent articles on different aspects of influencers. [Note: the summaries that follow were initially generated by ChatGPT and later edited by the author.]

Influencers in B2B

I don’t often think about influencers in B2B, but this article from MarTech, “Why influencer marketing is critical in B2B” (April 2, 2024) discusses the significance of influencer marketing in B2B markets. It highlights benefits, such as increased brand credibility, lead generation, and sales. B2B marketers increasingly look to influencers to create authentic connections and share industry insights, with LinkedIn being the primary social media platform for these activities. The article advises selecting influencers based on content quality, engagement rates, value alignment, and industry expertise to ensure effective campaigns. Additionally, it stresses the importance of leveraging user-generated content to enhance authenticity and engagement.

Some data and reminders about influencers

Writing for Forbes, Howard Homonoff reflects on the pervasive role of influencers in modern media, highlighting a report from the Influencer Marketing Hub (which, don’t forget, is an organization that’s main purpose is to to promote influencers). The article notes the growing market value of influencer marketing, projected to reach $24 billion by 2024. There appears to be a preference for “nano” (fewer than 10,000 followers) and “micro” (10,000 to 100,000 followers) influencers over celebrities due to greater cost-effectiveness. The article also reminds us that influencers have been around for a long time (we call them “opinion leaders” and “reference groups” in Chapter 5). The broader concept of influence through personal anecdotes about musical influences from family, friends, and educators, illustrating that significant influencers often come from one’s immediate environment rather than just professional spheres.

The dark side of influencers

Finally, this article in the New York Times (top half of the article is relevant) reminds us that most influencers are “paid to sell” and can have little incentive to promote only worthy products. The author of this article is a deputy editor at Wirecutter, which is the Times version of Consumer Reports. The author also provides some tips for assessing product quality before you buy.

An influencer success story

Another New York Times article offers a case study on how TikTok influencers The Pink Stuff go viral. This might be a good example to reference when you cover new products (Chapter 9) or social media and virality (Chapter 16)

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