The Evolution of Influencer Marketing
“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is- it is what consumers tell each other it is” Scott Cook CEO de Intuit y director de eBay y Procter & Gamble.
The origins of Influencer Marketing
When you hear about influencer marketing, you assume that it’s a relatively recent phenomenon that started with social media, right? Well, actually, that’s not true. Its origins can actually be traced back to the late 1800s when celebrities began to serve as brand ambassadors. They acted as the brand’s image and recommended their products. In a nutshell, they were using their influence and recognition in the medium to convey your message.
This trend has fueled brands and given us some of the most iconic characters of the times. Remember the “Marlboro Man”? A symbol of masculinity in the 1950s. Or how about Santa Claus advertising Coca-Cola since 1920?
This theme has evolved over time, with experts dedicating their lives to understanding how human beings interact and create relationships of influence. Among the most prominent are Stanley Milgram, who in 1967 created the theory of the six degrees of separation, establishing that we are connected to any other person through five intermediaries, and in this way, both people are connected through six links. This theory would be analyzed and proven years later, when in 2011 Facebook carried out a study with all its users called “Anatomy of Facebook” (except for celebrities), and it was found that 99.6% of users are connected by fix degrees of separation.
Then, we can look at Malcolm Gladwell’s 2000 book, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. The book compares the influence of a person with a virus, serving as the basis for the expression “went viral.” The book describes how a certain situation or detail that would be insignificant when combined with other aspects, its importance can increase. For example, fleeting fashions of some products, artists, places, or foods, thus creating social epidemics. That is to say, something that goes viral is not an isolated factor, but the interconnection between them that gives importance and turns trends into trends.
Around 2004, the blogging boom began, mainly political use. It wasn’t until 2006 when the social media trend began with Twitter’s surge, Facebook becoming public, and Google buying YouTube. These changes led to the birth of what that we know today as Influencer Marketing.
What is the first video that you remember going viral? In my case, I remember seeing makeup tutorials of a young Michelle Phan filmed in the corners of her house without much production. Or, for those of us in Mexico, “Edgar fall in the river” was an instant classic. A simple video recorded from a cell phone led to more than 50 million views, appearances on TV shows, and even a commercial with a brand of cookies.
Influencer marketing today
Now that we talked about the foundation Influencer Marketing, there are certain important points to highlight:
- When analyzing the evolution, it’s clear we’re going from a stage of knowing and identifying what and who your influencers are to what to do with them as a brand. The next step, and one that should be considered a goal by any brand interested in influencer marketing, is to build lasting relationships with their influencers.
A high number of reach is no longer enough. True influence is based on how closely the profiles represent your brand, that they “match” the essence and message of the campaign, that they share objectives and collaborate to grow up together.
- According to studies by the The Influencer Marketing Hub, micro and nano influencers accounts have the highest engagement rates.
- The influencer relationship is based on trust, we follow people because we are interested in their content. It is your brand’s responsibility to nurture relationships with your influencers, to gain the trust of their audiences and promote a process of mutual growth.
- The most important thing to build that trust is to collaborate with creators who have an authentic voice. It doesn’t matter how many followers they have, what matters is whether they are real users, fans, or customers of your brand.
Update your Influencer Marketing Strategy
We are always looking for new trends in influencer marketing and helping brands improve their campaigns. Let VoxFeed help you update your influencer marketing strategy. To learn more, schedule a free call with one of our experts.