"People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories, and magic."- Seth Godin
The drastic shift in the scenario of digital marketing in today's day and age needs no introduction. But for those living under a rock, here's a quick recap.
It all started in 2012, the year Instagram launched. Initially, it seemed to be another social media platform like Facebook, and it was. Till bloggers and video content creators realized its potential to be something much more.
Bloggers who would regularly type articles and add a picture or two, gradually moved to Instagram to visually appeal to their followers with videos and other graphical content. Video content creators on YouTube also shifted to expand their target audience. They began sharing their content more frequently, thanks to the easy use of the platform. They were called ‘Instagrammers’. They would generally share their lives or their hobbies in the most creative and authentic way possible. It could be lifestyle, travel, cooking, beauty, or anything else one could possibly think of. They also reviewed relevant products they liked and disliked and shared that with their followers.
The entire game of marketing changed when brands realized how Instagrammers could help expand their presence amongst their target audience. They would collaborate with them and these Instagrammers would use their influence to establish the brand online. Soon after, they were called ‘Influencers’.
This strategy helped brands have a better and quicker way to attract potential customers. Before launching its product, influencers managed to expand their target audience and provided more reachability by making them the brand ambassadors of their brand. They would cover all their launch updates and even cover the launch event. It was cheaper to invite an influencer rather than a celebrity and the main purpose - to garner attention - was achieved. It's a total win-win situation.
Even in the case of small business owners or start-ups, they prefer to directly connect with their customers through social media selling, rather than giving newspaper ads and indulging in TVCs brands. Thanks to new features like ‘swipe up’ and ‘shop now’ on social media apps, it is more affordable and effective than the old-school marketing strategies. More recent features like Reels, IGTV, and Carousel posts give them a variety to choose from to make more creative and appealing content to increase their sales.
Today, Influencer Marketing has become so popular that it manages to affect the marketing behavior when they share brand reviews. Popular influencers who have garnered around a million followers have the power to shake the brand image with a single 10-second story, forget a post. Many of their followers look up to these influencers as role models for inspirational content, which is mostly why they will always have an ear to listen to what the influencer has to say. The content just needs to be authentic and creative.
It’s not just the influencer and the brand involved in this strategy. It’s actually the millennials and GenZs who are running the whole show. Thanks to their early understanding of using smartphones from a young age to being open to express themselves, users actively interact with influencer's content and also have the power to swing brand image. They give their honest opinions and share their personal experiences, which help brands decide what works and what doesn't. It’s mainly because of their active communication and resonance with content that makes influencer marketing work.
Overall, the dynamics of digital marketing have drastically changed in a span of a decade. To keep their audience hooked, many influencers are using various other platforms like Clubhouse to curate fresh content. Who knows what the next decade will bring to the world of digital marketing. But as for now, influencer marketing only seems to be going up and forward and isn't slowing down anytime soon.