“To be an influencer, you have to love people before you can try to lead them.”    

                                                                                                               – John Maxwell 

If you have one follower, you have influence. If you get one like on your post, you’re generating engagement. It’s an influencers’ market out there. But first, let’s get familiar with the term. An influencer can be a popular event photographer on Instagram or a well-read AI blogger who tweets or a respected marketing executive on LinkedIn. Unlike celebrities, influencers can be anyone from anywhere. Just the ordinary soul out there, managing extraordinary tasks!  
Influencer Marketing, an amalgam of traditional and new marketing tools, is quite lucrative and has transformed celebrity endorsements, placing them into a modern-day context. The market has grown from $1.7 billion in 2016 to $13.8 billion in 2021, indicating steady rise and is projected to expand to a whopping $16.4 billion in the times to come, according to Benchmark Report 2022.  

Social media is an integral part of our lives now, so influencer marketing has exploded. It’s a game of tactics now, than ever before. Influencers operate independently and create content from scratch. For other businesses, they incorporate advertising specifications into the strategy. This gives the influencer unprecedented control over the brand’s message and promotes authenticity. 

Influencers are now verily approached for content-driven marketing campaigns because of the high amount of trust they have built over netizens. Their followers are the bulwark, ensuring prosperity and oneness. Their recommendations matter, and become a social proof of the brand’s potential customers. Influencer marketing is similar to referrals, but the spectrum is much wider.

Growth Trends

According to a survey by Digital Marketing Institute, 70% of teens trust influencers, more than traditional celebrities. So much so, that 4 in 10 millennial subscribers say their favorite influencer understands them better than even close friends. Influencers become trustworthy experts in their niche, so their importance can hardly be over-emphasized. 

Consumers nowadays are critical of brands and their marketing strategies, unlike the past, which makes it imperative to build trust. Advertising through influencers allows brands to promote through someone they regularly watch and engage with. After signing up famous footballer Neymar Jr, cotton undergarment brand Superdry, within the first few weeks of the partnership, achieved a record 2 million plus engagements. Influencers surely create magic! 

According to the Influencer Marketing Hub 2021, 90 percent of brands consider it an effective tool. Working with influencers can be cheap, as compared to paid advertising. The results are better and there for everyone to see. After all, loyal and often huge following does make a difference. For every dollar spent on influencer marketing, brands generate over five times the amount in terms of impressions and engagements, according to a poll by Viral Nation and Neo Reach. 

Given that influencer marketing is still in its nascent phase, and the growth over the years has been impressive. There is a long way to go yet, but the signs are promising. Expect it to get costlier soon!

Road Ahead

Influencers sign lawful contracts with business-owners and caring for the brand’s reputation is essentially their responsibility. But brand-owners should be sure the influencer’s image aligns with the company’s message before investing. A few questions are warranted, Is the influencer already posting about similar things on social media? Is the influencer legit (naturally grown)? 

One thing is clear, businesses must adapt to this new form of marketing soon! Research, set a budget, determine goals, find the right influencers; review and revise. Once you’ve gotten it right, dabble with social commerce, which is expected to account for 17% of all e-commerce spending by 2025.