What Is Influencer Marketing? How Does It Work?

Influence is a common concept. As children, we have known it in the form of this classic rhetorical question, “If all of your friends jumped off a cliff, would you jump too?” which implies the social influence of our circle. Cut to 2020, now we see it in the form of, “I have recently got my hands on this product and you should definitely check it out. Use my code for a discount” which implies influencer marketing.  

What is influencer marketing? 

Influencer Marketing is a part of social media marketing wherein brands partner with online influencers, professionals, or otherwise known as public figures to promote their product or service to their audience. Before social media, we had word of mouth for the promotion of business and now we have its hybrid version called influencer marketing. However, word of mouth still exists and they both work hand-in-hand.

We are familiar with TV advertisements, brand endorsements, and brand ambassadors. Influencer marketing takes it up a notch by giving a bigger reach, wider opportunities, and a progressive approach. It offers an upside of connecting straight to your target audience, unlike traditional marketing methods where the ads were exposed to all and the chances of reaching it to the right audience were fairly dicey. By reaching out to these influencers, you are reaching out to your target audience which makes the communication direct and clear. That’s a huge time and money saver. But wait.

Who are these influencers?

You would think if someone is famous with a pretty feed on Instagram then they are influencers. They aren’t but that could be a start of it. A social media influencer is someone who has the power to influence the purchasing decisions of their followers. Just merely marketing the product through an individual on social media with large followers will not make a good influencer. There has to be a relationship between influencers and their followers that is built over a period of time. It is necessary to gain trust and hence to drive the purchasing behavior of the followers. 

What are the types of influencers?

“Types! What do you mean by types? There are more than one?” Well yes, there are. And after you finish with this segment you will realize that you too have been following more than one type of influencer. 

By follower numbers, there are 3 types of influencers– mega, macro, and micro.

Mega-Influencers: These people are the ones with more than 500k of followership. Earlier, only actors, singers, and people from the same fraternity had that amount of followers. But now since the digital scene is booming, rags to riches have really happened for a lot of these influencers. 

Macro-Influencers: These people have approximately more than 150k followers who have a lesser reach than mega-influencers but an equal amount of influence. There are more macro-influencers than mega influencers. 

Micro-Influencers: These influencers can have a following of somewhere between 1k to 100k. They generally charge less than the other influencers. Although for brands this may be economically efficient, to target a large audience with micro-influencers, they will have to partner with a lot of them. 

Apart from this classification, the influencers are also categorized on the basis of their platforms. There are bloggers, YouTubers, podcasters, and social media. Despite their choice of platforms, what we can generally see is that they all have social media platforms and they constantly use it for cross-promotions if not just for direct promotions.  

Another category of influencers is celebrities, journalists, advisors, and experts who have taken on the social media world too. And need we get into the bifurcation of styles, streams, and professions that these influencers have? Probably not, because the list is ceaseless. 

But how does influencer marketing work?

Do brands just spot an individual with a good amount of followers and promote their product? That’s it! But a little more complex and well thought out. “Customer is king” and we all agree with it. Everything they say matters, to the brand, about the brand, about the product, everything. And now with the comment section being the new review section, brands are even more careful and polished than before. So it’s necessary to keep it good with everyone. But as a venture, it is not always feasible to do so. And that’s where influencer marketing comes into the picture. 

Influencer niche

Niche is very important in marketing and all brands, as well as the influencers, have their own niche. As mentioned before, a large following is not all that an influencer needs. It’s the process that happens from being a social media user to a social media influencer. It takes time, effort, communication, and trust. They all have their own community built over time where their followers believe them because they have been their digital family for a long time now. As a brand, this is what is essential to market the product. Brands are looking to spread awareness and drive sales by targeting a bunch of audiences. Since the influencers have already built their niche and community, as a brand all they need is to pick the ones that align with their goals and ideology. 

For instance, a vegan brand wants to launch its new collection and it wants the audience to believe in its authenticity and values. They can start from scratch and build a community by themselves but why not just collaborate with an influencer who already follows the same ideology and has an influence over a large number of people who follow them? Content is what builds these communities and these influencers have poured in their heart over the years in it. People follow them for their content and the information they provide. May it be the shade of lipstick they recommend or something as unforeseen as Binod, influence does spread like a wildfire.

It’s because of the digital world that people know about the brands and their products way before they discover their website. When customers land on a website for purchase, they already know all about the product. Their favorite influencers have already used and reviewed the product and they already like your product. This phenomenon widely shapes their purchasing decisions. Hence, influencer marketing is the right way to promote a product and also to step up the social media game. 

How to get into influencer marketing?

As mentioned earlier, it is a little more complex and well thought out. Here comes that part. Influencer marketing is an entire journey that takes place beginning from research to strategy to execution to analysis. Numbers play a huge role in marketing. Right from the number of followers to the amount of profit, a brand has to consider all of it. 

  1. Goals: First, the goals are set which will make the influencer marketing work and do wonders. Goals can differ like raising awareness, funds, sales, launch, etc. These goals can be long-term, short-term, or seasonal. 
Influencer marketing research
  1. Research: Market research will give you an idea about the current scenarios which will also include looking at the potential influencers. Your criteria for selecting an influencer can be based on anything but a point to note is that they should cater to your domain and target audience. You can save your time by hiring an influencer marketing agency to do this for you.
  1. Strategy: Keeping your influencers in mind you have to build your strategy and campaign to promote your product. This will be your plan of action that will define your goal, communication, visuals, and content. 
  1. Execution: And here comes your final hour when you have to ensure that everything is done smoothly. Your content, your visuals, your timing everything has to be in sync. 
  1.  Analytics: Result time! Once your strategy is successfully executed, its time to see how it has done for you. Your metrics can vary like reach, engagement, sales depending on your set goals. 

Influencer Marketing tells us that technology rules! Data is important. Numbers are important. And it is the key to spike them up. Brands can consider using a reputed influencer marketing platform to save time and simplify the process of Ever since its introduction, the journey of marketing has always been uphill. When the pandemic hit the world, businesses were worried and they still are. But they are all somewhere dependent on the digital platforms and these influencers because we have understood now that although we have come so far, there’s still a lot more of its potential left to unfold. 

#5MinutesOfFame Diwali Edition with Mahhi Vij and Jay Bhanushali

Hey there,

Thanks for stopping by!

Diwali is the perfect time to catch up with people you love, share food and walk down memory lane. And what better person than your spouse to celebrate the festival of happiness.

In today’s #5MinutesOfFame, we have Tinsel Town’s power duo, Mahhi Vij and Jay Bhanushali, the people known for spreading love and kindness on social media. If you’re looking for a cute Instagram couple, here they are! Cute baby pictures, keepers of the #couplegoals title, and inspiration to many are what define who they are. 

We got them to share their Diwali plans with us, and trust us; you’d totally want to know what’s cooking in their festive lives.

What does Diwali mean to you?

Mahhi Vij: Diwali is the time where we all get-together. It means celebrations, positivity, and lots of light without crackers as I am not fond of it.

Jay Bhanushali: Diwali is my favourite festival, except for when people burst crackers and pollute the air. Not a fan! Overall, I enjoy the feeling of visiting people, celebrating with friends and family, playing cards, etc. It’s the perfect time to unwind with people you love.

How do you plan to celebrate Diwali this year? What will be different considering the current situation?

Mahhi Vij: Diwali is going to be different this time because we won’t be going to people’s houses to play cards or even get-together. This year, I don’t think it is advisable to have a lot of friends over too. I am definitely going to avoid meeting friends. But I will have my family over and we’re going to have our own mini-Diwali party at home.

Jay Bhanushali: This Diwali, I am going to play a little smart. Usually, we go out and celebrate with family, but because of the pandemic, it is important that we celebrate at home, safely. I know, we no longer have the patience, but it’s just a matter of time till things go back to normal. Right now, all you have to do is think about the health of your family and yourself. That’s the priority.

When you work with multiple brands during Diwali, do you have any brands that you connect with better than others and why?

Mahhi Vij: Cadbury, because all you need is one look at it and it will instantly remind you of Diwali. Kinder Joy is also another brand that is close to my heart.

Would you like to give any tips to influencers out there, trying to make festive content?

Mahhi Vij: Make videos that promote a cracker-free Diwali. While it is important to have loads of fun, we should also keep in mind that animals get very scared of the sound of crackers, and it adds on to the pollution.

Jay Bhanushali: This Diwali has to be all about #DigitalDiwali

Influencers should create content that talks of new ways to celebrate Diwali with friends and family through the digital medium. That would be the best messaging right now. It is also important to spread positivity through your content. Nowadays, I have realised that there’s too much negative content all around the world. Since Diwali equals happiness, you should share happiness through your content.

What moment inspired you to be where you are today? 

Mahhi Vij: I come from a middle-class family and growing up, I have always wanted to give my family a better life. So, everything that I did was for them. I would put my heart, soul, and sweat in whatever I did so that my family would be happy and proud, at the end of the day. It’s still there in the back of my mind, and that inspires me to do better.

Jay Bhanushali: Ever since I went to school, I knew that a 9-5 job was not my forte. As a child, I had a very creative mind and would do crazy stuff so I knew I was either going to be an actor or a cricketer. And, for some reason, fortunately, things fell into place and I work in a field that I have always wanted to be in. Touchwood, people still love me so it feels nice to have entertained people for so many years now. When you’re in public and you see people rushing towards you with a wide smile on their faces, that happiness keeps me motivated to do more for them. When they appreciate my work, I feel inspired.

We all have idols we look up to. Who was yours growing up, and why?

Mahhi Vij: I look up to my parents, any day. They helped me learn how to handle tough situations, be socially responsible, put in the hard work to achieve anything in life, not cheat and be loyal, and finally, become a better person every passing day.

Jay Bhanushali: Imran Khan and Sanjay Dutt are my all-time favourite actors. Ever since I saw Sanjay Dutt’s Khalnayak for the first time, I have always wanted to play his role in the film’s sequel, if at all it happens. It’s one of my favourite characters in Bollywood movies. 

If you weren’t famous, what would you be up to right now?

Mahhi Vij: I would have been a housewife. All my life, I have been working, and after a point, you just need a break. That’s exactly what I am doing now. But, at the same time, I am grateful that I work side-by-side. It’s almost as though my life is just perfect!

Jay Bhanushali: I would have been in the same line of work as I am in right now, but would have worked as a Creative Director of a show. I have always wanted to explore my creative side. This is the only profession that gives me the liberty of working in my own terms and conditions. There have been days where I have worked 24/7, but there were some days when my creative juices weren’t flowing so I had to take a mental vacation. I wouldn’t have the liberty to do so if I had worked in a different field. This is the only industry that gives me the pleasure of choosing the right time to work.

What is one message you would like to give to an upcoming influencer?

Mahhi Vij: Influencers are killing it on social media. I can see a lot of hard work being put. I am an advocate of ‘work hard, and things will fall into place’, and when I see that in the content these influencers push out, I know that they’re going to achieve greater heights of success. 

Jay Bhanushali:  Enjoy your life. Be real. I see a lot of content where everything is staged. Today’s audience is very smart and intelligent, and they know the difference between real and fake. So keep it real, have fun but never inspire others in a negative way.

What is that one message you would like to give to brands looking for an influencer collaboration?

Jay Bhanushali:  Rather than hard-selling, I wish brands would consider seamless integration of their offerings in the influencer’s content as that would be more impactful. 

How would you like to be remembered? 

Mahhi Vij:  A good human being.

Jay Bhanushali:  My passion in life is to be known for all my good things. I always say this – If you have the money, it’s always better to do something meaningful with it rather than spend it on useless things that won’t give you happiness. I would be happy if people remembered me as the actor who was humble in life and who did his part in whatever way he could.

What’s the Psychology Behind the Influencing Industry?

A successful marketing strategy lies in cracking the human behaviour code. Marketing has always been a psychological process of understanding human perceptions, conducts, and practices. One of the spellbinding aspects of human behaviour is that it constantly changes with new-fashioned divulgences. While keeping up with these constant changes is the backbone of marketing, it has wheeled in a new line of thinking in the form of influencer marketing, where human behaviour practically drives its success. 

New-age audiences are more online than offline, like never before. Tapping into their online influence has been the greatest boon for influencer marketing. If you think about it, influencer marketing has always been a part of the digital market, but in the past few years, it has grown to become much more powerful because of people’s changing behaviour. An integral part of human psychology is that we always seek connections and similarities in the world we live in. It’s reflected in our online interactions and the way we consume information. Our cognitive biases make decisions for us every single second of the day and influencer marketing has made use of this. 

Our influence is, in a way, based on our cognitive biases. When we share the influence, we make connections around us. It’s common for people to aspire and like the influence they come across, which is how leading influencers in the digital ecosystem manages to garner a lot of response and engagements through their content.

The psychology of influence has paved the way for influencer marketing to become one of the greatest marketing tools the digital world has ever witnessed. If you’re interested to know more, here’s how influencer marketing works wonders, psychologically.

The More You Desire, The More Influenced You Are

We all follow prominent names in the influencer industry because we aspire to become like them. It’s as simple as wanting to become an actress because of Aishwarya Rai’s evergreen fandom and celebrity status. When we follow influencers, we gradually tend to look up to them as trusted sources or experts in their field. The decisions they make impact the decisions their followers will make.

person showing brown gift box

In general, people do tend to follow influencers way of living because of the authenticity they promise. Brands have understood the power of their influence. By making influencers their brand ambassadors, brands have found a single-shot way of talking directly to their customers – through influencer marketing. 

Halo Effect

Our impression about influencers directly (or indirectly) affects our perception about them. For instance, when we’re constantly consuming the content and the lives of a particular influencer, we subconsciously end up perceiving their behaviour as trustworthy. Very often, influencers change into role models. The followers of influencers legitimately change their behaviours and choices according to the influencer so as be part of their club. 

woman using brown phone

Marketers bank on this outpouring of positive emotions and behavioural patterns from audiences to spread their brand message. It’s a great tool to create brand awareness and earn their loyalty.

Closer The Better

A decade ago, we all looked up to celebrities for all kinds of inspiration. However, there was one thing that lacked – a proximal emotional connect. While celebrities have earned a great follower base, people are of the belief that they feel more connected with influencers because of the social distance.

man sitting on wheelchair taking selfie with woman and two men

Put differently, they don’t look up to influencers the way they look up to celebrities. Influencers ooze a very ‘people next door’ vibe. They make their followers feel comfortable and welcome by opening up their lives to them. Followers, therefore, are more engaging and want to know more of their influencer’s private lives.

Influencers have mastered the art of personalising and that caught on to become the cornerstone of influencer marketing. 

Social Proof

The difference between traditional marketing and new-age marketing is social proof. Traditional forms of advertising never really revealed an end-to-end utilization of their products or services. New-age marketing, on the other hand, has connected the dots of influence by employing people to promote products and services through product placements and usage videos. When influential voices promote brands, they’re contingently pledging for them. Their followers watch them utilize branded products and services, which they eventually try out. To see them in action makes them more believable. The social proof promised by influencers helps brands grow their business online and gain new audiences. 

woman in white long sleeve shirt holding magnifying glass

In people’s minds, influencers are connoisseurs in their field, highly knowledgeable of the content they share. This itself is a determining factor that affects consumer choices. Brands capitalize on their social influence and expertise to sell their story.

The business of influence is more about creating effortless connections and prioritizing people’s needs over anything else. Building relationships through stories have now become the best form of marketing and it all came down to people’s behavioural patterns. Influencer marketing has helped nurture it into a great form of communicating messages across people.

#5MinutesOfFame With Aakriti Rana

Hey there!

Thanks for stopping by!

Today on #5MinutesOfFame, we have the happy-to-go-lucky blogger, Aakriti Rana. This ‘chota packet bada dhamaka’ woman has tried her hand at everything –  fashion and beauty blogging, styling, graphic designing, modelling, photography, with travelling being her ultimate love! Aakriti’s claim to fame has been nothing short of incredible. 

Having worked with well-known fashion, luxury houses in the country and collaborated with international jewellery and beauty retailers, she has carved her niche in the fashion and beauty space. Moreover, her stylised form of photography makes her one of the most brilliant influencers in the industry today.

Let’s hear it for Aakriti Rana!

Tell us an inspirational moment that made you the person you are today 

There was a point in my life when I was doing a full-time job as a trainee in an advertising firm where they drained a lot of my energy. I was not very happy, but it was around that same that I was building my blog. When they were going to make me a permanent employee, I had to decide whether I wanted to work for someone else or take the risk, be my boss, and do something that I loved.

 To date, I am so grateful and glad that I choose the latter.

We all have idols we look up to. Who was yours growing up, and why? 

My father has been my role model since day one.

He is extremely hard-working, very patient, and surprisingly, very creative, as well. He paints and puts in a lot of his energies into his artwork. I’ve grown up watching him motivate us to bring out the creative best in us. He wasn’t the kind of the father who would only push his children to study. He would encourage us to participate in various co-curricular activities too. 

There are a lot of things that I have learned from him. I have captured that very energetic, and motivating persona and utilised it for building my creativity. So, yes, he will forever be my idol.

 

 

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What did you want to be when you grew up? 

I have always been very creative. So, growing up, I wanted to be a model. But when that vision wore off, I wanted to pursue fashion designing. You won’t believe, I also visioned myself as a graphic designer and working in advertising (which I did, partly).

I wanted to do a whole bunch of things in the creative field. 

Who is your Instagram inspiration, and why? 

There are so many amazing content creators out there who are creating brilliant pieces of content. I keep taking inspiration from everyone I come across because each one of them has their own set of uniqueness. I follow a bunch of people, and I pick my inspiration from the best of the lot.

 

 

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Crazy #hashtags you’re hooked onto at the moment 

My hashtag following craze changes every odd day only because there are so many trends that pop up every day. So, I follow hashtags when they trend because I, too, would love to be a part of it and add a dash of my creative touch to it. 

Being a content creator, you have to stay up to date and create content that people love watching. And, following trending hashtags are the way to go!

2020 has been hard. What has changed in your life, personally and professionally? 

I’ve grown a lot because I thought I wasn’t the kind of person who couldn’t spend time alone. I was always in need of good company, and consistently wanting to travel. But then, I realised that it had all lot to do with my FOMO, and other people having fun. When we all had to stay at home, I realised that I was genuinely happy to spend time with myself and enjoy my own company. My FOMO stemmed from the fact that I was probably looking at how other people were living their life. It’s been an amazing six months, where I was all by myself, loving every moment. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work on myself.

Professionally, I managed to break a lot of creative barriers because of the ample time I had at my perusal. I experimented with my content at home, utilising the little space that I have, creatively. I also started understanding my audience way better because I was spending more time on social media and understanding what they liked watching.

Overall, I think I’ve grown in every aspect.

 

 

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Which is the dream brand you’ve always wanted to work with, and why? 

For me, being in this profession has always been about sharing my creativity. If you’ve noticed my feed, you’ll realise how much I love to experiment with my content. I am only here because it seemed like the perfect platform to showcase my work, to put out something great and add value to people’s lives. I am not here to be a part of the ‘Instagram creator race’.

So, my sole purpose has never been about working with brands. But, if they come to me, I will always be grateful.

Where do you find your creative inspiration from? 

My creative inspiration comes from every place possible. Once you become a content creator, you see a lot more content other people don’t usually come across. I spend a lot of time looking at other people’s content on Instagram and Pinterest, draw inspiration from them, and incorporate it in my way. I have that keen eye to find that secret, creative ingredient everywhere.

 

 

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If not an influencer, which career path would you have chosen? 

If not an influencer, young Aakriti would become a Graphic Designer or a Fashion Designer. Now, I would probably say that I would have become a Psychotherapist because I have this new-found love for understanding human behaviour and how social media affects people. I have been through a lot of things in my life, mainly because I have started to understand myself better. So, I have a keen interest in understanding psychology and would have loved to help people through that.

How would you like to be remembered? 

I would like to be remembered as a person who has added some value to other people’s lives; who was happy and content in every situation she was put through, and who wasn’t perfect because she put her best in whatever she did and helped people by sharing her experience of life.  

 

 

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