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Understanding Influencer Marketing

Since influencer marketing is still a niche concept and relatively obscure in the Middle East, elucidating how it works may help shed light on its perks and benefits to those still in the dark. People generally mistake the term 'influencer' for famous, and while they mostly come hand in hand, a famous person is not necessarily an influencer. In most cases though, influence is a prerequisite for fame.

So, What Exactly is an Influencer?

In the context of social media, an influencer is someone who has a considerable following and tends to start conversations, trends, and a buzz whenever they are online. Influence is not however necessarily limited to material taste or the endorsement of products but also encompasses the influence of thoughts, ideas, and virtues. Therefore, an influencer can be anything from a fashion blogger to an athlete to a food critic.

Influencer Marketing 101

Now that we've settled the definition of an influencer, we go on to the second part of the equation: Influencer Marketing. Back in the days when global fame was still a budding concept, brands would approach celebrities and go through what now seems like a long and tedious effort to get them to endorse their products or services; contracts and multiple meetings were normally commonplace. Nowadays, with the advent of mass media and instant connectivity, there are more routes to fame than ever before. Reaching a level of influence solely through social media savviness has become a possibility and a reality for many. Brands have started to take notice and regularly approach these influencers to make endorsements targeting an audience that 20 years ago would have otherwise been watching the TV or listening to the radio rather than scrolling through their phones.

"According to Digital Marketing Institutes, 60% of consumers have been influenced by something they read on a blog or on social media while shopping."

Furthermore, 22% of marketers confirm that influencer marketing is the most cost-effective method to attracting new customers. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, businesses earn $5.20 for every dollar spent on a campaign that’s driven by an influencer.

It is fair to say that the marketing industry is being drastically revolutionised by influencers and social media. TV, radio, print, and other dated media outlets are now a thing of the past. Upcoming generations are becoming increasingly detached from such media and more reliant on their mobile devices to keep in tune with the world. Influencer marketing is predicted to become a $10 billion industry by 2020.

Authenticity is also a key element of influencer marketing that is virtually non-existent in other marketing forms. Unlike conventional marketing partnerships with celebrities and influential figures, social media influencers connect with brands they feel represent their style and persona which fans see as more genuine. Brands conversely reach out to influencers whose fan base they feel overlap with their target audience, hence making the content more relatable.

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