Influencer marketing is one of the most misunderstood marketing terms of 2021 and 2022. According to the Oxford Dictionary, “influence” implies to have an effect on someone’s behaviour or thought process, particularly by providing a model for them to imitate.
According to my understanding, an influencer is a person who is an expert or who has a certain talent that sets them apart from a group of people who may possess the same skill.
Influencer marketing can thus be described as collaboration between well-known brands and personalities in order to increase consumer knowledge and interest in goods and services.
According to what I have learned and seen, there are two different kinds of influencers: (1) social media influencers and (2) professional influencers.
A social media influencer is a person who produces content on a certain topic or form of art, is well known for it, and has built up a sizeable social media fan base.
Joan Richardson is one example. She produces content about food and event lifestyle. She is well-known for this, which explains why people consume her content: they find delicious recipes and learn about the hottest hangout spots.
She generates a lot of visibility, interaction and prospective leads for brands whose goods and services complement her content and personal brand. The connection that already exists between the brand principles and her own personal brand values, rather than just her social media following is what makes her a good fit.
Brand alignment is something that most local brands overlook. A social media influencer shouldn’t be chosen only based on their following; their content and the goods or services of the brand should work together. Even for the audience, there is no other way for it to make sense.
However, brands erroneously believe that numbers will translate into leads, conversions and revenues.
On the other hand, an expert influencer is a person who is recognised for having a certain knowledge, skill, aptitude or social status such as both Mphoeng Mphoeng and Modiri Mogende, who are well-known in their fields and are proponents of them, including politicians and corporate leaders.
Both have one thing in common, which is the ability to influence potential buyers.
But there is a big distinction between influencer marketing and celebrity endorsements (referring to both social media influencers and expert influencers).
A celebrity is an individual who is well-known for talents like music, acting, sports and other things. Brands work with influencers for the same reason they work with celebrities, but a social media influencer doesn’t need to be an actor, comedian or musician. They just need to have built up a sizeable fan base through their content.
Most organisations and individuals are unaware of what influencer marketing actually is, and many brands are unaware of its potential as a potent strategic marketing tool.
Many of them mix up influencers and celebrities but the two are on entirely different ends of the spectrum. For instance, Cristiano Ronaldo is celebrated for his football skills and his fan base is based on that very fact. He is considered a celebrity for that reason.
A celebrity does not necessary need to be an expert in anything but simply advocates the brand mostly for financial gain. Brands use celebrities whenever they want to push hard for sales.
Cristiano Ronaldo is not a dermatologist but he can promote a skin care line. However, when a real expert in a field endorses a product, they stand to lose more than celebrities do. For example, being a well-known local doctor, Doctor Gure will have no trouble getting the market to accept any medical products or services that he promotes.
So you see that celebrity endorsements and influencer marketing are two completely different things, but brands don’t understand that and confuse popularity for influencing and celebrity endorsements for influencer marketing.
It is crucial that brands define a criterion for selecting the appropriate influencer for a certain campaign as part of their influencer marketing strategy. The one thing that organisations just need to recognise whenever they identify themselves with particular celebrities to sell a product is that the market is quite intelligent – they know that celebrities only endorse goods for financial objectives. Ba kgona go lemoga ga go sa influensege.
Consumers can also discern when content creators are producing curated material to support companies as opposed to their usual content. Just as in hip-hop, rappers who abandon the culture and commercialise are called sellouts and lose their street cred.
Dear local marketers, influencer marketing is a fantastic strategic tool that when applied properly, might ensure ROI. Let’s not choose individuals based on our preferences. Marketing is all about the customer, what they need and desire and finding the best channel and spokesperson to represent the brands we work for.
But not all campaigns require influencers, and not everyone who is well-liked has influence. It is up to us to reframe the phrase and take the initiative by sharing genuine brand narratives with individuals who share our values.