Opinion – Influencer marketing in the digital era

Traditional marketing methods such as TV or print do not work well anymore as opposed to social media because as technology evolves, people are becoming more comfortable with consuming information digitally. Abundant time is now spent on social media as it is regarded as trustworthy, credible, likeable and authentic.  

Influencer marketing falls under the different types of digital marketing strategies that businesses can use to market products and services. Today, influencer marketing has become a major marketing tool for brands all over the world. Economic data shows that there is a rapid increase in the use of influencers by businesses and companies around the world, which clearly shows that the influencer industry has grown significantly. 

The power that lies in influencer marketing to affect the purchasing decisions of customers has prompted businesses and companies to invest in it. 

This is highly driven by the fact that consumers are more likely to trust recommendations from a third party compared to the brand itself. In addition, influencers do not only influence their networks but also their followers’

Companies can enjoy the following benefits when investing in this type of marketing. Firstly, influencer marketing has the potential of improving brand awareness by expanding audience reach and online positioning. As a result, social users will get to know the business better in terms of the products and services being offered. 

Secondly, by using the right influencers, your content will be placed in the eyes of social users that are already interested in your niche because the influencer has already fostered these audiences on their social media platforms. Remember the secret lies in choosing the relevant and appropriate influencer that can talk to the business needs. 

In addition, when organisations find themselves in situations where they have run out of content or simply just need some good quality content to publish on social pages, influencers come in to fill this gap. Furthermore, influencer marketing increases sales as they have a significant impact on the purchase decision-making process of consumers. 

In contrast to the foregoing, there are still grey lines on the effectiveness of this type of marketing. 

Many companies and businesses are still reluctant to the use of influencers because the industry of influencers is not regulated and this results in many challenges associated with this type of marketing. 

Data from activities conducted on social media platforms by influencers cannot be verified as there are no verification methods in place. Another challenge lies in the difficulty of identifying the right influencers that can talk to the business needs.  

 As a result, a dream come true for most businesses and companies is when these challenges are addressed because this could greatly increase the trust of businesses and companies in influencer marketing. 

It is believed that these types of endorsements greatly offer companies an opportunity to develop and cultivate good reputations and in many instances, these endorsements are considered effective and cost-efficient for businesses.

*Albertina Kashuupulwa is a PhD candidate and a communication and digital marketing professional. She writes in her personal capacity.

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