I have always found the advertising industry fascinating – the way companies market their products, the campaigns that are run, the success or failure of the marketing campaigns, and the public response.

Not that I’m in the marketing industry. I just enjoy reading about them.

One of the aspects of marketing that I have always found fascinating was the use of celebrities for product endorsements. It amazed me that you can plaster the face of a celebrity giving a thumbs-up to a particular product, and their fans would be scrambling to buy them. Even more so if the celebrity lends his/her name to the product. Take for instance, Justin Bieber, who was wildly popular among teen girls – when he launched the fragrance Someday in 2011, sales records were smashed within two weeks, raking up US$3 million in sales.

Celebrities are definitely popular influencers, although I must admit, I always wondered why. I suppose never being a diehard fan of any particular celebrity, I wasn’t ready to part with my hard-earned money to buy something just because a celebrity said so. Especially when said product cost a pretty penny, and yes I am cheapskate budget-conscious that way.

Influencer (source: Google)

a person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media

Ah, but then how many of us have often bought stuff that doesn’t quite work for us? I, too, have fallen victim, especially when I let price be the determinant. And after that I have to pay more to get better products, or worse – get products to fix the problems created by the initial products that don’t work.

Don’t be afraid to admit it – you’ve been guilty of the same!

So how do I find products that can actually work? By checking reviews or by asking around. And based on honest reviews, I would then try those products. This applies for services as well. More often than not, it would always be a better, more rewarding experience. Then I’ll remind myself – next time just ask for recommendations!

While you're here, read my reviews! Because... you know... I wrote them.

So when we think about it, the people who gave those referrals or recommendations are actually influencers, because they influenced us to try those products or services.

Influencer Marketing as a Win-Win

Celebrities are of course still the most powerful influencers, but the everyday mortals have also started becoming influencers. By sharing reviews of products and services – especially honest reviews – people started trusting and trying out those products and services. With Internet becoming so accessible, everyone was able to start sharing their experiences. It started first with blogs, and quickly transitioned to various social media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.

It was especially beneficial to small business owners who did not have the budget for advertising and marketing campaigns. So they engaged with social media influencers who had a significant following, and it was a win-win situation for both parties. Businesses got more exposure, while the social media influencers got free products/services.

It especially works when the influencers have a niche that businesses can tap into. For instance, Jaytee Taquiso, a musician based in Philippines, has a social media following based on ukuleles, including product reviews and tutorials.

It helps to have a niche because businesses know that their products and services will be marketed to the preferred target audience which will definitely help boost their exposure and credibility, leading to better leads and sales; as opposed to a general audience which may not be interested in what the businesses are offering.

Case in point – if anyone wants to know what is a good ukulele for a beginner, or what a beginner needs to look for, and pick up some ukulele lessons, they know that Jaytee would be a reliable source.

Jaytee Taquiso – musician and social media influencer based in Philippines who focuses on ukuleles

Influencer marketing has really grown in the past few years, and even more so in the past year during the pandemic when many regions were forced into lockdown. Not being able to go to the office or the mall, or to even leave home, how else could one sell? … Through the Internet, of course!

Due to Covid-19, advertisers were forced to refocus their marketing strategies to reach the public, and started focusing more on branded content and influencer marketing.

So, yes, influencer marketing is definitely here to stay; and in fact, is the way forward. We wouldn’t spend our money on something just because the manufacturer told us it is good, right? We choose what to buy based on the reviews given about those products and services, because then we would know what’s good, what’s not, whether it is suitable for us, and sometimes what discounts we can get (yay!).

Of course, to count as an influencer, it does help if we have a following of greater than 2 people. Err… please excuse me while I do a recount of my followers.

Featured image credit: Business vector created by pikisuperstar – www.freepik.com