Covering disruptive stories
Millennials trust the qualities of products when Micro-Influencers recommend them
Millennials have overturned all existing perceptions of daily life. For instance, mobile phones should be mainly for calling, because the telephone is essentially voice-centered communication. With 96% of Americans owning cell phones, and, with 77% of them being smartphones, there should be a lot of talking going on. But there isn’t. Even though the number of mobile phones in use has risen significantly, Millennials are habitually disinclined to speak on the phone. They will text, scour the Internet, and engage in social media, but they do not like to speak on the phone as earlier generations did.
So when a marketer tries to use cold calling tactics to sell his product, there is only 1% chance that a cold call will convert to a sale. As Digital Analyst, Brian Solis, said, “Welcome to a new era of marketing and service in which our brand is defined by those who experience it.”
Millennials, therefore, are changing the entire face of marketing. In the vanished golden era of advertising, consumers believed all that advertisements said about attributes of products and services. However, with Millennials being able to access information at the touch of a button, and research extensively on any subject under the sun, they are less inclined to believe traditional advertising.
As 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.” It is a fact that Millennials are irritated by the one-way communication of messages and content that do not provide the answers they seek.
When Millennials search for information, they don’t just research, they check and confirm the information with their network of friends and like-minded individuals on social media platforms. According to Forbes, a survey done by social media tech firm Council and Lithium found 80% of respondents “tried new things based on friends’ suggestions”.
Having grown up in this culture of shared information, about 84% of Millennials refuse to be compelled by traditional advertising the way earlier generations got hooked. American best-selling author, Seth Godin says, “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.” Furthermore, contemporary marketing is about being present where potential demand is, and that takes speed and spokespeople.
These spokespeople, called “Influencers,” were initially celebrities who vouched for the quality of a product. Studies show that 40% of customers who buy a product online do so because an influencer used it and recommended it on social media, and, 72% of customers trusted a business more after an influencer recommended it.
The concept of Influencer Marketing slowly caught on from 2006. 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. Brands often paid influencers to post content publicizing their products or to sponsor their events, thus effortlessly engaging the massive following of the influencers.
However, doubt began to creep in gradually, when these influencers with millions of social media followers, were recommending all types of products across the spectrum of human needs. Millennials began to feel the influencers were doing it purely for money, and not because they believe in the product itself.
In this evolving digital marketing situation, the focus shifted from traditional celebrities to regular people called “micro-influencers” - bloggers, vloggers, and social media superstars that customers know, love, follow, and can relate to.
An award-winning influencer marketing company, Markerly, uses statistics to show why brands benefit more by engaging micro-influencers, rather than celebrities – for they have more targeted audiences as followers more than celebrities. Markerly says that brands should engage micro-influencers with Instagram followings in the 1,000-10,000 range.
For instance, if an apparel brand collaborated with a celebrity who has millions of followers on Instagram, chances are that a significant number of followers may not be interested in fashion. On the other hand, if the apparel company teamed up with 100 fashion bloggers, who each have 1000 followers, the apparel brand would connect with a smaller but definitely more targeted and engaged audience.
With the growth of micro-influencers, the Instagram Influencer Marketing appears to have exploded, having expanded to over 1 billion users, with no signs of slowing down. On the other hand, Instagram Stories overtook Snapchat Stories in 2017 and now thrives with over 500 million daily users.
The reason micro-influencers have become more popular than influencers, is that they are more trustworthy and more empathetic than celebrities. Many of them come from humble backgrounds, and having lived less-than-privileged lives, they understand the trials and tribulations of the regular person.
People feel micro-influencers are genuine, because they are unafraid to speak of their pain and suffering. Potential customers of a product consider these individuals as experts, when they recommend the product, for they feel they have proved their integrity.
As expert in the field, Joe Sinkwitz, said, “Influencer marketing is the culmination of the promise that social media initially brought us.” And it is the integrity of micro-influencers that make Millennials trust their word over the artful jingle of an ad.