“Best way to sell something—don’t sell anything. Earn the awareness, respect, & trust of those who might buy.”
—Rand Fishkin @randfish via Twitter
Traditional Sales Tactics are Dead.
Media consumption has changed dramatically as well in the recent years, and social media has changed the way we do everything.
Viewers now decide when, where, and how they will interact with programs, and the producers of media have shifted decidedly away from the big networks.
With this change, there is more segmentation and fragmentation of who watches what—and where or when they will watch it.
That makes it even more difficult for advertisers to reach their core demographic.
It’s also led to a new age of advertising, where the device in our pocket can show us advertisements in nearly any form—be it video, images, or audio.
Consumers simply tune out, or never see them at all. If you’ve spent hundreds of thousands on a TV campaign, but your target market only watches the programs on Hulu and never sees the commercials, you just wasted your money.
Blunt-force ads on social media are no less problematic.
The more consumers are marketed to, the more they become adverse to the marketing they are bombarded with. Nevermind skipping through commercials.
Millenials, who were raised on the internet, don’t even see the images or videos marked as “Ads,” no matter how inconspicuous.
This is where the social influencers step in.
The Rise of Influencer Marketing
With the advent of the radio came a need for programming; and a way to pay for it all. In 1922 the first paid radio ads were aired.
By 1930, nearly 90% of all radio stations used advertising to support their operating costs. Radio changed the media landscape, but forward-thinking producers convinced companies to take a risk—and those who did reap the reward.
The internet has changed the world, and marketing along with it. It’s not a barrage of ads that generate sales—it’s influence.
Social Influencers have created their own following, in their own way. They might have millions of Twitter followers, or hundreds of thousands of YouTube subscribers.
What they’ve done is unique to themselves, but universal in its appeal.
They have an audience that listens to them.
Consider the following…
Seventy percent of consumers trust brand recommendations from friends, but only ten percent trust advertising, according to Forrester Research.
That means even if you can get your potential customer to see your ad, they still won’t trust it.
No trust = no sale.
“Selling is the transfer of trust.” –Jack Daly
However 70% of consumers trust a friend.
As a brand, you can’t reach one person that everybody in your target demographic knows, likes, and trusts.
But you can find somebody that is the closest facsimile we have today: the Social Influencer.
Just like radio personalities, they have an audience—and that audience is listening to what they have to say.
Maybe they’re not an actual friend, but they probably look and act like a friend, or at least like a “friend.” Their audience has chosen them for a reason, and—just like celebrities—they know, care for, and identify with who they follow.
Social Influencers have built their following organically, one at a time, and it may have taken them years to build it.
They are also highly sensitive to the wants and needs of their audience, so they’re very careful about what they promote—it’s their reputation that they need to protect, so they should be trusted with how the message is conveyed.
They know their (your) audience better than anyone else—after all, they built it. So listening to their input is key.
Impact of the Influencer
From a brand perspective, Social Influencers can have a wide-ranging impact on awareness, appeal, and dedication coming from their audience.
They spread the word digitally, making it easy for their followers to reTweet, repost, or replay your message over and over again, with the touch of a finger or button.
They have the power of reach. When everyone is looking away from ads, they can make people take notice.
And their followers have all chosen to follow. They want to know what the influencer thinks, buys, likes, or even loves.
When it’s a well-chosen match between company and influencer, it benefits everyone.
The influencer increases their media presence, the brand increases sales, and the customer experiences something they otherwise wouldn’t have.
Influence IS marketing
It’s a new age, but just like those pioneering companies that paid for radio programs in exchange for some well-timed promotional sentences, marketing isn’t dead.
The landscape has changed, but opportunities abound for those who look in the right places.
Influencer Marketing has shown its power, and for any company that wants to increase its reach (and sales), Social Influencers should certainly be one of their key strategies.
What are your thoughts? Comment below and join the discussion!