The sway that influencers have is in decline. A dark and foreboding (to marketers!) start to a blog I know! It’s a bit like starting with “Marley was dead, to begin with”. I can’t promise you that what follows will be worthy of Dickens, but you will have a new perspective on the role that influencers have to play in the future of marketing!
Traditionally, influencers have had a big role to play in marketing. However, as authenticity rises on the list of consumer priorities, the traditional influencer’s ability to well… influence is in decline. It’s simple to work out why, as consumers yearn more and more for authenticity, they want the people they follow (for inspiration) to genuinely love the products they’re telling you about, but when it becomes clear that they are being paid to promote a product, they lose all authenticity!
This however, is not the end of the influencer, it is a paradigm shift in what an influencer is. Whilst the traditional influencer with thousands or millions of followers is in decline, a new form of influencer is taking its place. Community, your local network, and people with likeminded views are the new influencer, however instead of having millions of followers like the previous generation of influencers, gen 2.0 has just hundreds or low thousands. This, combined with a real love and passion for the content they create, provides them with the much sought-after authenticity brands, consumers and marketers want!
This paradigm shift has led to community marketing – leveraging lots of gen 2.0 influencers to provide a network of authenticity which translates into marketing messages that are filled with passion. These influencers are everyday people with a creative flair and a drive to produce content rather than create personal wealth. The switch to using gen 2.0 influencers in marketing is already happening and with great success, I might add! You might see terms like ‘local brand ambassadors’, ‘nano/micro influencers’, ‘community influencers’, and so on. Brands are already curating their own network of nano influencers, just look at Converse and their All-Star program for example, where they have a collaboration of unpaid micro influencers ready to shout about the brand!
The bottom line here is that leveraging a network of nano influencers produces an authentic and recognisable brand that is well routed in its community (AKA your target market!). If your forward strategy includes or focuses on traditional influencers then you may want to rethink your plans, take a look at your ROI and ponder the power of local.