So, the second part of the question is answered by understanding the impact that social media has had on word of mouth and that is to create the space for word of mouth to happen at scale. Word of mouth and its Siamese twin, influence, are no longer limited by having to be in the physical proximity of others to be effective, and that – i.e. the addition of the internet and social media – is what accounts for the rapid adoption of influencer marketing into the marketing mix.
The budgets being spent by marketers on influencer marketing are almost incredible, but not surprising. This is partly due to the realisation that digital touchpoints are fast becoming dominant aspects of all media plans, but it is more aligned to understanding that people are less and less enamoured by brands attempting to seduce them by talking at them, and more and more reliant on each other when it comes to making purchasing decisions. Indeed, it is the perceived lack of pure motive of the brands that make the trust and authenticity of others (=influence) so appealing.
But, the impetus behind influencer marketing’s rocketing adoption, is also premised on the increased understanding by marketers of the multiple options available within the singular term. Notable amongst these is the rise of micro and nano influencers as a powerful option available to marketers and the utilisation of this subset to allow smaller budgets to effectively get in on the action. And, the ever-increasing utilisation of employee influencers as part of the communication set (see www.theIntern-ship.co.za
) highlights how fast influencer marketing in all its multiple permutations is being adopted by marketers.
Take a look at this graphic, produced by theSALT on what is correctly and cleverly titled the democratisation of influence.