The early 1900’s started with celebrities being roped in to endorse brands from cigarettes and cigars, clothing, liquor, medicines and the list is endless. The brands rode on the fact that the celebrities had a certain social status and a fan following which they could influence. Marketers hoped that the positive public persona that a celebrity like uy Amitabh Bachchan enjoyed would rub off on the brand that they endorsed as well. This would, in turn, make the customers try whatever brand their favorite personalities were promoting. From sports stars, film celebrities to comedians anyone who made a mark in his/her own profession was picked up for endorsements. These celebrities were the influencers. Essentially, if you had a following, brands approached you.
Influencers – Celebrities and others
With the advent of social media, everyone began competing for that extra edge in this medium as well. Social Media created celebrities and influencers out of people who had no connection with films. Have you heard of a singer and composer Bhuvan? His YouTube channel, “Bibi ki Vines” has almost 5.3 Lakh followers. He also uploads various comedy videos on youtube. He is a rage amongst youngsters as his channel touches all the topics that the youth connects to. Such people are spread all over the internet across all social media platforms who enjoy a massive following in terms of views, likes, followers or whatever is the measure of popularity on those platforms. Brands have started making use of this popularity and their online presence to market their products. Depending on the kind of audience the brand is looking to target, someone who enjoys that kind of following is approached. Like celebrities, people believe in these influencers and tend to consume the products they endorse. Here is a snapshot of the top indian influencers on twitter belonging to various industries.Film personalities still form a major chunk on influencers, but as we can see in the graph below, people belonging to other industries have also started carving their own place in this area.
Video Platforms – Their growth and the role that Influencers play
Video content is the most consumed content by internet users. The internet has been dominated by video content since the past few years. Videos are the best and quickest way to captivate audiences. They offer a way to connect with the audience while giving them valuable and helpful content. Videos that connect with the audiences emotionally, most often tend to become viral. In 2016, Cisco’s Visual Networking Index stated that videos amount to 73% of the internet traffic. This is anticipated to increase to 82 percent by 2021. With these statistics, there is no doubt that brands will prefer this medium to market their products.
With the ever increasing reach of the internet an array of platforms are entering the video uploading/sharing space. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter all of which started as social networking, photo sharing or news and networking sites have all become video platforms.Vimeo, DailyMotion,Break, Vine, Vube, LiveLeak are all video uploading and sharing sites that are slowly gaining a market in India. Every platform now has its own set of influencers. These platforms provide a way for people to express themselves. They get an audience that provides instant feedback which helps them improve on their content.
But how do they reach this set of audiences? This is where influencers come in. Influencers come with their own set of dedicated audience. If they create content for a brand or endorse a brand in their content, this content is viewed by all the people that follow them. This audience may even choose to share this content which works even better for the brand. To add to that, if the video becomes viral then there is no end to the kind of reach the brand will enjoy. To tap onto an influencers outreach has become a crucial part of tackling competition for brands.
Today a brand’s online presence is everything. Even the basic decision of going for or ditching a particular brand is made online. The consumers are connected like never before. One scathing post can result in a visible decline in the sales of a product. This makes influencers the most crucial part of achieving marketing success online.
Influencers must find a niche. This will help them cater to all the brands related to that niche. The brands will also find it easier to get hold of influencers for their products.
This image rightfully depicts what a few influencers can do for a brand.
Increase in Vernacular Platforms
Influencers should go vernacular. They should try and expand to as many languages possible. The ever-increasing market of platforms that offer vernacular content like Sharechat, Hipster cannot be ignored. To reach the mass, the next billion users (NBU), the influencers from these platforms can also step into the world of influencer marketing.
Being everywhere is the key. The advantage that these influencers have on one platform can be usedby them on another similar platform. This can be achieved by for example a popular influencer on Sharechat taking an interview of an influencer from Hipster and both sharing the video on their pages. This makes each popular on the other platform thus increasing their respective fan base and presence on multiple platforms.
In this way, they can increase their reach which in turn will make them even better at influencer marketing. Influencers have also become celebrities in their own way. And like celebrities, even they need to keep updating and posting to continue enjoying their online support.