Influencer Marketing is effectively engaging Millennials and driving them to brand websites
The Millennial generation’s plea to brands, is, “Authenticity, not advertising.” There was a time that manufacturers could say whatever they wished about their product, even if untrue, and customers believed every word. Not anymore. Millennial Matthew Tyson says, “Traditional advertising literally has no effect on me. It doesn’t influence my buying habits whatsoever. In fact, I feel comfortable saying that I’m completely immune to it.”.”
This rejection of conventional advertising is a total contrast to the perceptions of earlier generations who did not know any better. The older generations trusted the words of those who manufactured products. They thought what producers said about their products was true and accepted every word at face value.
On the other hand, it is almost impossible to lure Millennial consumers in this manner as Millennials are the first constantly connected generation in history. A recent survey by the McCarthy Group found the Millennial perspective is that they do not trust advertising or salespeople in general. They are always on their mobile phones and on the Internet, and will check the veracity of what advertisements say. They check websites of brands carefully, and if they find that what is touted as indisputably true is not verified by facts, they will reject the brand completely. What is worse, they will share their findings on social media. Chitika, Inc. the search-targeted advertising company says that the average traffic share of an initial organic search on Google is 32.5%. Leading SEO and content performance marketing platform, BrightEdge says that 51% of all website traffic comes from organic search, 10% from paid search, 5% from social media, and 34% from all other sources.
Even as Millennials check things out for themselves, they share with like-minded individuals on social media platforms. American best-selling author, Seth Godin says, “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.”
On one hand Millennials scour social media platforms for information. On the other, they also focus attention on social media influencers. “Social media influencers,” are experts in a particular industry, and have built credibility and an image on social media as sources of experience and authentic opinion. Such Influencers have tremendous reach on the various platforms, and are able to persuade people to buy because of their accepted superior knowledge in the field and of the product. According to McKinsey, most referrals for products advertised online are given by a small number of social media influencers, who have earned the trust of followers as having expertise or other influence in specific market niches. For example, for products like shoes and clothing, 5% of influencers offering product recommendations, was driving 45% of social influence.
This is why Influencer Marketing has become more important to Millennials than the artful jingle of an ad. For instance, 40% of customers who buy a product online have done so because it was used by an influencer on social media and, 72% of customers trusted a business more after an influencer recommended it.
Therefore, in contemporary marketing, influencers are sought after by brands to drive traffic to a website.
When Influencer Marketing first began, brands sought out celebrities and other well-known personalities with millions of followers. When social media users saw celebrities recommending a brand, they automatically veered toward the product. However, there is also the other side of celebrity influencing. As Markerly, the technology company specializing in influencer identification and tracking, headquartered in Silicon Valley, found by studying Instagram engagement, as a particular Influencer’s number of followers increases, the number of likes and comments from followers decreases.
The point is authencity and credibility. For instance, if a beauty product partnered with a celebrity with millions of followers on Instagram, that celebrity might be able to reach a massive pool of people, but a significant number of them might not be interested in beauty products. On the other hand, if the beauty brand linked up with 100 beauty salons that have about 1000 followers each, the brand would be able to connect with a smaller but a more focused and engaged audience.
According to entrepreneur Andrew Molz, brands should focus on earning referrals and recommendations to convince Millennials of the authenticity of their products. Molz built a Shopify-based website and generated $2.2 million in sales purely through social media-generated traffic. Moltz also says that displaying satisfied-customer testimonials on social media and landing pages, and hiring influential brand ambassadors and sponsoring influencers, also help toward driving up the number of new customers.
Influencer marketing expert, Joe Sinkwitz, observes that “Influencer marketing is the culmination of the promise that social media initially brought us.”