Social media influencers are becoming an even more effective way for brands to connect with their audiences, according to a new study. This research, which comes to us from analytics company Annalect and Twitter, shows that our trust in suggestions from the people on social media is similar whether they are friends or just personalities we decided to follow.
Almost half of the respondents (49 percent) in the survey rely on influencers for product recommendations. That’s just a bit less than the percentage that rely on Tweets from their own friends (56 percent) for recommendations. They also act on those recommendations. About 40 percent of survey respondents had purchased something online based on seeing it used a social media influencer on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram or Vine. About half that number also have shared influencer content, driving further exposure and engagement.
On Twitter’s blog, their analyst compared influencer marketing to a bygone era when athletes would be featured on a Wheaties box. While marketers sought celebrities in the past, brands know that the relationship social media influencers build with audiences is stronger than that of traditional media personalities. Today, it is much easier to track the results of these campaigns and marketers are seeing higher engagement by working with influencers, leading to increases in the earned media value of social campaigns. Notably, the report shows that branded Tweets on the platform had a 2.7x lift in purchase intent over users that didn’t see the Tweets. By comparison, a combination of branded and influencer Tweets showed a 5.2x lift.
Influencers More Effective With Millennials and Generation Z
The study also noted that older social media users tended to follow traditional celebrities or household names, while younger (under 45) users followed ‘handheld names’ (social media creators). Younger audiences also assign more credibility from social media statistics. Generation Z respondents were twice as likely to evaluate an influencer specifically by their social presence and follower count.
While the type of influencer that best suits your brand will vary, younger consumers are hard to reach because of the fragmented channels where they can be found. Influencer marketing has proven effective both because the content is created on platforms used by younger consumers and because it shows up in a news feed they selected. With the increase in trust consumers feel towards influencers and the close proximity of their messages and those of a consumer’s friends, it is unsurprising that more than 75 percent of brands are now engaged in influencer marketing as part of their regular marketing mix.