By Deepti Karthik
How often have we purchased a shampoo because our favourite beauty influencer recommended it? Or visited a new restaurant in town because a popular food critic called it an almost Michelin star? Over 50% of consumers in a poll by McKinsey state that word-of-mouth and social media are their preferred ways to discover new brands.
When a brand partners with an influencer, the brand is essentially sanctioning – even supporting – the influencer’s persona, message, and content.
As a result, over 80% of influencer marketers consider a creator’s content quality to be the biggest factor when negotiating rates. Because you as a brand do not want to associate with what can be perceived as low-quality or objectionable content. The lower a content creator’s output quality looks, the more of a risk you’re taking with the image of your brand.
Marketers using influencer marketing increased by 17% between 2019 and 2022
The pandemic did more favours to the influencer marketing industry where with no option to actually step out and try a product physically, consumers have turned rapidly to online venues for shopping, entertainment, and conversation. This has had the effect of increasing the reach and engagement of influencers, and thus magnifying the effectiveness of brand partnerships with these trusted, online voices. In fact, according to a 2021 report, roughly 56% of consumers between 18 and 24 years old and 47.5% of 14- to 17-year olds have made at least one purchase on a social platform.
As per a survey by emarketer, there has been a steady and significant predicted growth in the percentage of marketers that use influencer marketing.
55.4% of marketers leveraged influencer marketing in 2019, which grew to 72.5% in 2022, for a total increase of 17.1%. This number includes both paid and unpaid partnerships between brands and influencers.
Capturing new audiences
In the case of new age D2C brands, and specifically fashion brands, it is all the more important to create the right quality of content to build the right imagery you want people to associate with the brand.
The influencers importantly are not always those with only a huge number of followers. They bring
with them the ability to influence others through trust, authenticity and relevance. When it comes to
making an influence, reliability and credibility are the most significant factors. People of colour, gender-nonconforming people, immigrants, people with disabilities, and/or creators promoting body positivity exist and come with their own set of loyal audience. Their content is often a huge factor impacting buying decisions, and therefore cannot be put on less priority.
When calculating ROI on content marketing, it is important to divide the cost between production
and brand awareness media spends, knowing fully well that content marketing adds to brand equity
and other brand health scores. It’s a long term strategy, and not a short term tactic.
The economics of influencers
This is where brands are using micro-influencers as an effective option since they are able to reach bespoke audiences through more relatable storytelling. Besides keeping consumers informed about
the latest trends, these influencers are also reducing the need for them to check fashion magazines
periodically. Brands have in fact observed much higher conversion rates by partnering with micro-
influencers – if they are chosen well.
To summarise, creators are becoming brands in their own right, and marketers should treat them as
such. Think of creators as publishers: Focus on finding relevant audiences and building relationships;
not simply followers and reach.
The author is senior vice president, DaMENSCH