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Influencer marketing (also known as influence marketing) is a form of social media marketing involving endorsements and product placement from influencers, people and organizations who have a purported expert level of knowledge or social influence in their field.Influencers are someone (or something) with the power to affect the buying habits or quantifiable actions of others by uploading some form of original—often sponsored—content to social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat or other online channels. Influencer marketing is when a brand enrolls influencers who have an established credibility and audience on social media platforms to discuss or mention the brand in a social media post. Influencer content may be framed as testimonial advertising.
Most discussions of social influence focus on social persuasion and compliance.In the context of influencer marketing, influence is less about arguing for a point of view or product than about loose interactions between parties in a community (often with the aim of encouraging purchasing or behavior). Although influence is often equated with advocacy, it may also be negative. The two-step flow of communication model was introduced in The People's Choice (Paul Lazarsfeld, Bernard Berelson, and Hazel Gaudet's 1940 study of voters' decision-making processes), and developed in Personal Influence (Lazarsfeld, Elihu Katz 1955) and The Effects of Mass Communication (Joseph Klapper, 1960).
Influencer marketing is also important through social comparison theory. As psychologist Chae reports, influencers serve as a comparison tool. Consumers may compare influencer lifestyles with their imperfections. Meanwhile, followers may view influencers as people with perfect lifestyles, interests, and dressing style.As such, the promoted products may serve as a shortcut towards a complete lifestyle. Chae's study finds women with low self-esteem compare themselves to the influencers. As such, they elevate the status of influencers above themselves. When using an influencer, a brand may use consumer insecurities to its benefits. For this reason, influencer marketing may lead to faulty advertising.
There is a lack of consensus about what an influencer is. One writer defines them as "a range of third parties who exercise influence over the organization and its potential customers."Another defines an influencer as a "third party who significantly shapes the customer's purchasing decision but may never be accountable for it." According to another, influencers are "well-connected, create an impact, have active minds, and are trendsetters". And just because an individual has many follows does not necessarily mean they have much influence over those individuals, only that they have many followers.
Market-research techniques can be used to identify influencers, using predefined criteria to determine the extent and type of influence.Activists get involved with organizations such as their communities, political movements, and charities. Connected influencers have large social networks. Authoritative influencers are trusted by others. Active minds have a diverse range of interests. Trendsetters are the early adopters (or leavers) of markets. According to Malcolm Gladwell, "The success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts". He has identified three types of influencers who are responsible for the "generation, communication and adoption" of messages:
Influencers are categorized by the number of followers they have on social media. They include celebrities with large followings to niche content creators with a loyal following on social-media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.Their followers range in number from hundreds of millions to 1,000. Influencers may be categorized in tiers (mega-, macro-, micro-, and nano-influencers), based on their number of followers.
Businesses pursue people who aim to lessen their consumption of advertisements, and are willing to pay their influencers more. Targeting influencers is seen as increasing marketing's reach, counteracting a growing tendency by prospective customers to ignore marketing.
Marketing researchers Kapitan and Silvera find that influencer selection extends into product personality. This product and benefit matching is key. For a shampoo, it should use an influencer with good hair. Likewise, a flashy product may use bold colors to convey its brand. If an influencer is not flashy, they will clash with the brand. Matching an influencer with the product's purpose and mood is important.
For most business-to-consumer (B2C) campaigns, influencers may include everyday consumers who have influence over their audience. In high-value business-to-business (B2B) transactions, influencers may be diverse and might include consultants, government-backed regulators, financiers, and user communities.
Forrester Research analyst Michael Speyer notes that for small and medium-sized businesses, "IT sales are influenced by several parties, including peers, consultants, bloggers, and technology resellers." [ This quote needs a citation ] Influencers can play a variety of roles at different times in a decision-making process, an idea developed by Brown and Hayes.According to Speyer, "Vendors need to identify and characterize influencers inside their market. This requires a comprehensive influencer identification program and the establishment of criteria for ranking influencer impact on the decision process."
Most influencers are paid before the start of a marketing campaign, and others are paid after it ends.Consensus exists about how much an influencer should be paid. Compensation may vary by how many people an influencer can reach, the extent to which they will endorse the product (a deliverable), and the success of their past endorsements have performed. Top-tier influencers and celebrities may receive a six- or seven-figure fee for a single social-media post. In addition to (or in lieu of) a fee, payment may include free products or services. For influencers with smaller followings, free products or services may be the only form of compensation.
Online activity can play a central role in offline decision-making, allowing consumers to research products.Social media have created new opportunities for marketers to expand their strategy beyond traditional mass-media channels. Many use influencers to increase the reach of their marketing messages. Online influencers who curate personal brands have become marketing assets because of their relationship with their followers. Social-media influencers establish themselves as opinion-leaders with their followers and may have persuasive strengths such as attractiveness, likeability, niche expertise, and perceived good taste. The interactive and personal nature of social media allows parasocial relationships to form between influencers and their followers, which impacts purchase behavior. Influencer marketing on social media reaches consumers who use ad-blockers.
Critics of an online-intensive approach say that by researching exclusively online, consumers can overlook input from other influential individuals.Early-2000s research suggested that 80 to 92 percent of influential consumer exchanges occurred face-to-face with word-of-mouth (WOM), compared to seven to 10 percent in an online environment. Scholars and marketers distinguish WOM from electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM).
YouTuber PewDiePie's antisemitic and racist comments led to cancelled deals with the Walt Disney Company and a "widespread backlash".Celebrity influencer Kendall Jenner and other media personalities failed to disclose their paid endorsements of the fraudulent Fyre Festival, as required by the Federal Trade Commission. YouTuber Logan Paul posted a video containing a dead body in Japan's Suicide Forest, sparking a backlash and accusations of insensitivity.
A wide range of global population, particularly generation Z, has been relying on social media influencers for all sorts of information. With millions of followers on their accounts, including Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and others, influencers have not just been working with brands, but also governments. Countries like Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have been using these influencers to spread a positive image of them and cover the bad press over human rights.In Dubai, many such influencers have been working to promote the city’s tourism by acquiring an expensive license or through agencies. It has become a full-time business in Dubai’s post-oil economy. The Emirati authorities follow rigid plans and strategies to hit the correct spots. A strict check is maintained over the content of the influencers to make sure that everything is being depicted in a positive light. Dubai authorities also restrict these influencers from speaking anything against the regime, religion, or politics.
Marketers use influencer marketing to establish credibility in a market, to create social conversations about brands, and to focus on driving online or in-store sales. Marketers leverage credibility gained over time to promote a variety of products or services. Success in influencer marketing is measured through earned media value, impressions,and cost per action.
A social media influencer's personal brand and product relation with marketers are important concepts. As social learning theory suggests, influencers serve as informed consumers, and authenticity matters. When credible influencers match up with the product, consumers will consider the promoted recommendations.A study found that respondents see influencers as a neutral authority pitch for a product. Compared to CEO spokespeople, influencers are more approachable and trustworthy. Consumers are more likely to respond to influencers if both parties share certain characteristics and beliefs.
A 2015 article depicts that attributions drive endorsers and that globally 77% of shoppers would or may take action following what family, friends, and online reviews endorse. It shows that word of mouth marketing and digital media have changed the impact and reach of endorsements.
In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) treats influencer marketing as a form of paid endorsement. It is governed by the rules for native advertising, which include compliance with established truth-in-advertising standards and disclosure by endorsers (influencers) and is known as the Endorsement Guides.The FTC compiled an easy-to-read guide on disclosure for influencers, specifying rules and tips on how to make good disclosures on social media. The guidelines include reminders of disclosing sponsored products in easily visible places so it is hard to miss, using easy-to-understand language, and giving honest reviews about sponsored products.
In 2017, the FTC sent more than 90 educational letters to celebrity and athlete influencers with the reminder of the obligation to clearly disclose business relationships while sponsoring and promoting products.The same year, in response to YouTubers Trevor Martin and Thomas Cassell deceptively endorsing an online gambling site they owned, the FTC took three separate actions to catch the attention of influencers. By using law enforcement, warning letters, and updating the Endorsement Guidelines, the FTC provided influencers with endorsement questions or involved in misleading endorsements and disclosures with clear procedures of how to follow the laws.
Media-regulating bodies in other countries – such as Australia – followed the FTC in creating influencer-marketing guidelines.The United Kingdom's Competition and Markets Authority adopted similar laws and tips for influencers to follow.
Facebook and Instagram have a set of brand content policies for influencer marketing and endorsements. Branded content may only be posted through Instagram and Facebook, and require the business relationships between influencers and endorsers to be tagged when promoting branded content. The branded tool provided in the business layout of Facebook and Instagram is to be used whenever promoting products and endorsers.
As of August 2020, YouTube has updated the branded content policies. YouTube and Google's ad policies require influencers to check a box titled paid promotion when publishing sponsored videos and provides instructions on how to set it up. The policies require disclosure messages for the viewers to indicate that the content is promoted.
Fake influencers have been around for as long as their genuine counterparts, and all criteria used to determine the veracity of an influencer account can be fabricated. Third-party sites and apps sell services to individual accounts which include falsely increasing followers, likes, and comments.Instagram has failed to shut down all such websites. One marketing agency tested whether fake accounts could be profitable. The company created two fictitious accounts, built their online presence through paid followers and engagement (likes and comments), and applied for work in marketing campaigns on popular influencer-marketing platforms. They published their results, an explanation of how the false accounts were created, and which brands had sponsored them.
An analysis of over 7,000 influencers in the UK indicated that about half of their followers have up to 20,000 "low-quality" followers themselves, consisting of internet bots and other suspicious accounts. Over four in 10 engagements with this group of influencers are considered "non-authentic".A study of UK influencers which looked at almost 700,000 posts from the first half of 2018 found that 12 percent of UK influencers had bought fake followers. Twenty-four percent of influencers were found to have abnormal growth patterns in another study, indicating that they had manipulated their likes or followers.
Influencer fraud (including fake followers) was estimated to cost businesses up to $1.3 billion, about 15 percent of global influencer–marketing spending. Research in 2019 accounted only for the calculable cost of fake followers.
Virtual influencers are also sometimes considered fake. However, virtual-influencer profiles do not correspond to real individuals and are not automated bots which generate fake likes, comments, or followers. They are virtual characters, intentionally designed by 3D artists to look like real people in real situations.Although most of the characters can be easily identified as computer graphics, some are very realistic and can fool users. The characters are usually identified as models, singers, or other celebrities. Their creators write their biographies, conduct interviews on their behalf, and act like the characters themselves. Lil Miquela was a realistic virtual influencer which prompted curiosity and speculation until it was learned that she was created by advertisers.
Astroturfing is the practice of masking the sponsors of a message or organization to make it appear as though it originates from and is supported by grassroots participants. It is a practice intended to give the statements or organizations credibility by withholding information about the source's financial connection. The term astroturfing is derived from AstroTurf, a brand of synthetic carpeting designed to resemble natural grass, as a play on the word "grassroots". The implication behind the use of the term is that instead of a "true" or "natural" grassroots effort behind the activity in question, there is a "fake" or "artificial" appearance of support.
In promotion and advertising, a testimonial or show consists of a person's written or spoken statement extolling the virtue of a product. The term "testimonial" most commonly applies to the sales-pitches attributed to ordinary citizens, whereas the word "endorsement" usually applies to pitches by celebrities. Testimonials can be part of communal marketing. Sometimes, the cartoon character can be a testimonial in a commercial.
Viral marketing or viral advertising is a business strategy that uses existing social networks to promote a product mainly on various social media platforms. Its name refers to how consumers spread information about a product with other people, much in the same way that a virus spreads from one person to another. It can be delivered by word of mouth, or enhanced by the network effects of the Internet and mobile networks.
Marketing communications refers to the use of different marketing channels and tools in combination. Marketing communication channels focus on any way a business communicates a message to its desired market, or the market in general. A marketing communication tool can be anything from: advertising, personal selling, direct marketing, sponsorship, communication, social media and promotion to public relations.
Reputation management refers to the influencing and controlling or concealing of an individual's or group's reputation. Originally a public relations term, the growth of the internet and social media, led to growth of reputation management companies, made search results can make core part of an individual's or group's reputation. Online reputation management, sometimes abbreviated as ORM, focuses on the management of product and service search website results. Ethical grey areas include mug shot removal sites, astroturfing customer review sites, censoring negative complaints, and using search engine optimization tactics to influence results. In other cases, the ethical lines are clear; some reputation management companies are closely connected to websites that publish unverified and libelous statements about people. The reputation management companies charge thousands of dollars to remove these posts – temporarily – from their websites.
In marketing, promotion refers to any type of marketing communication used to inform target audiences of the relative merits of a product, service, brand or issue, most of the time persuasive in nature. It helps marketers to create a distinctive place in customers' mind, it can be either a cognitive or emotional route. The aim of promotion is to increase awareness, create interest, generate sales or create brand loyalty. It is one of the basic elements of the market mix, which includes the four Ps, i.e., product, price, place, and promotion.
Celebrity branding or celebrity endorsement is a form of advertising campaign or marketing strategy which uses a celebrity's fame or social status to promote a product, brand or service, or to raise awareness about an issue. Marketers use celebrity endorsers in hopes that the positive image of the celebrity endorser will be passed on to the product's or brand's image. Celebrity endorsement i. Non-profit organizations also use celebrities since a celebrity's frequent mass media coverage reaches a wider audience, thus making celebrities an effective ingredient in fundraising.
Parasocial interaction (PSI) refers to a kind of psychological relationship experienced by an audience in their mediated encounters with performers in the mass media, particularly on television. Viewers or listeners come to consider media personalities as friends, despite having limited interactions with them. PSI is described as an illusionary experience, such that media audiences interact with personas as if they are engaged in a reciprocal relationship with them. The term was coined by Donald Horton and Richard Wohl in 1956.
Digital marketing is the component of marketing that utilizes internet and online based digital technologies such as desktop computers, mobile phones and other digital media and platforms to promote products and services. Its development during the 1990s and 2000s, changed the way brands and businesses use technology for marketing. As digital platforms became increasingly incorporated into marketing plans and everyday life, and as people increasingly use digital devices instead of visiting physical shops, digital marketing campaigns have become prevalent, employing combinations of search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), content marketing, influencer marketing, content automation, campaign marketing, data-driven marketing, e-commerce marketing, social media marketing, social media optimization, e-mail direct marketing, display advertising, e–books, and optical disks and games have become commonplace. Digital marketing extends to non-Internet channels that provide digital media, such as television, mobile phones, callback, and on-hold mobile ring tones. The extension to non-Internet channels differentiates digital marketing from online marketing.
A touchpoint can be defined as any way a consumer can interact with a business, whether it be person-to-person, through a website, an app or any form of communication. When consumers come in contact with these touchpoints it gives them the opportunity to compare their prior perceptions of the business and form an opinion.
Social network advertising, also social media targeting, is a group of terms that are used to describe forms of online advertising that focus on social networking services. One of the major benefits of this type of advertising is that advertisers can take advantage of the users' demographic information and target their ads appropriately.
Marketing buzz or simply buzz—a term used in viral marketing—is the interaction of consumers and users of a product or service which amplifies or alters the original marketing message. This emotion, energy, excitement, or anticipation about a product or service can be positive or negative. Buzz can be generated by intentional marketing activities by the brand owner or it can be the result of an independent event that enters public awareness through social or traditional media such as newspapers. Marketing buzz originally referred to oral communication but in the age of Web 2.0, social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube are now the dominant communication channels for marketing buzz.
An Internet celebrity is a celebrity who has acquired or developed their fame and notability through the Internet. The rise of social media has helped people increase their outreach to a global audience. Influencers can also be typical individuals rather than celebrities, who post their interest and sponsorships with brands. Today the most popular influencers are found on popular platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and TikTok. Within the last decade, studies show that Instagram holds a majority of the influencer population. Sometimes, influencers are known as 'Instagrammers' or 'Instafamous'. Internet celebrities may be recruited by companies for influencer marketing to advertise products to their fans and followers on their platforms. Internet celebrities often function as lifestyle gurus who promote a particular lifestyle or attitude. In this role, they are crucial influencers or multipliers for trends in genres including fashion, beauty, technology, video games, politics, music, sports and entertainment. Other opportunities that the 'intsafamous' user may contribute in are, school ambassadorships. These programs are targeted to people who have over 1,000 followers on their accounts. As stated before, these kinds of users are technically found through Instagram, Youtube and, TikTok.
Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms and websites to promote a product or service. Although the terms e-marketing and digital marketing are still dominant in academia, social media marketing is becoming more popular for both practitioners and researchers. Most social media platforms have built-in data analytics tools, enabling companies to track the progress, success, and engagement of ad campaigns. Companies address a range of stakeholders through social media marketing, including current and potential customers, current and potential employees, journalists, bloggers, and the general public. On a strategic level, social media marketing includes the management of a marketing campaign, governance, setting the scope and the establishment of a firm's desired social media "culture" and "tone."
A sponsored post, also known as a promoted post, is a post to any community-driven notification-oriented website which is explicitly sponsored as an advertisement by a particular company in order to draw a large amount of popularity through user promotion and moderation to the most active or most viewed page on the website. The model has become adopted by various ad-supported but community-driven websites as an addition, substitute or replacement of other pay-per-click advertisement formats, such as web banners, text and rich media. Sites and services which utilize sponsored posts include Digg, Reddit, Twitter and Instagram.
Social media use in the fashion industry has enabled average consumers and regular people to have much more interaction with fashion designers and high-end clothing, shoes and accessory firms. Unlike traditional advertising platforms, such as billboard ads, magazine ads and television commercials, which the fashion company and their advertising agency had complete control over, when fashion companies do a social media marketing campaign in the 2010s, average consumers and regular people can post online comments immediately below the fashion company's social media advertisement. This accessibility is due to the increased usage of social media since 2009. Social media is a real time platform that reaches across the globe; this has had a great impact on how consumers interact with the fashion industry. Social media has brought about new channels of advertising for fashion houses to reach their target markets.
Word-of-mouth marketing differs from naturally occurring word of mouth, in that it is actively influenced or encouraged by organizations. While it is difficult to truly control WOM, research has shown that there are three generic avenues to 'manage' WOM for the purpose of WOMM: 1.) Build a strong WOM foundation, 2.) Indirect WOMM management which implies that managers only have a moderate amount of control, 3.) Direct WOMM management, which has higher levels of control.
Native advertising is a type of advertising that matches the form and function of the platform upon which it appears. In many cases it functions like an advertorial, and manifests as a video, article or editorial. The word "native" refers to this coherence of the content with the other media that appear on the platform.
A fashion influencer is a personality that has a large number of followers on social media, creates mainly fashion content and has the power to influence the opinion and purchase behavior of others with their recommendations. Brands endorse them to attend fashion shows, parties, designer dinners and exclusive trips and to wear their clothes on social media. If a salary has been involved, the influencer has to label such posts as paid or sponsored content. Before social media "they would have been called 'It girls'".
Livestream Shopping is a trend that brands can take advantage of to promote and sell products through livestreams on digital platforms. in collaboration with influencers.