The two core principles that underpin the majority of successful influencer marketing programs are Authenticity and The Majority Illusion. Learn what they entail, how they work, and how to apply them in your next influencer marketing campaign.
- What makes a recommendation by a friend different from an endorsement by an expert or a celebrity in a TV ad? Authenticity. We can quickly tell the genuine from sponsored or authentic from said so because it was paid for. In this video, we will look at two key principles which both underpin influence or marketing and explain its effectiveness. When you see a new or revolutionary piece of muscle toning equipment being advertised by a fitness model, do you really believe that the equipment will deliver the results with virtually no effort on your part? The model clearly counts every calorie consumed and is obviously no stranger to sweat and pain.
If, however, you hear of a product's effectiveness from a friend, then you listen. Be it an abs toning belt or an anti-stick frying pan, perceived authenticity of peer advice makes you pay attention. According to Par Dots 2014 research on brand engagement, out of over 400 people surveyed, 80 percent pointed to authenticity of content as the most influential factor in their decision to engage with a brand.
Yet, authenticity is nearly impossible to convey via a traditional ad. At least, not to the extent of the good old word of mouth. Surprisingly though, according to a research published in the August 2013 issue of the Journal of Marketing Research, for most industries, only between one and eight percent of word of mouth happens online. At the same time, a 2015 report on American consumerism put together by Mental revealed that seven out of ten Americans seek out advice and opinions on goods and services before purchasing.
And out of these, 72 percent are seeking opinions specifically from their own social media contacts. Clearly, most brands are yet to focus on where the end consumer's trust really is: not in the ads but in the messages conveyed by their friends, family, neighbors, coworkers and other influencers. So ingredient number one is authenticity. The second is the majority illusion. It is a fascinating social phenomenon which helps well placed members of a social network make things catch on.
In 2015, Professor Christina Larman and a couple of other network scientists at the University of Southern California discovered and documented this phenomenon. In a nutshell, they found out that well connected influencers can create the illusion of something being more popular than it really is. Let me give you an example. I often speak at conferences and I'm pretty well known in my marketing niche. So my presentations are well attended and documented by videos, live bloggers and social media mentions.
There are other popular experts in my field who frequently speak at the same conferences and also gather good crowds and receive great coverage. Our audiences frequently overlap. So if five of us mentioned a fairly new service, be it in our speeches, webinars or on social media, regardless of how new the service may be, it would create the illusion of it being more popular than it actually is. I believe the majority illusion to be one of the cornerstones of a successful influencer marketing campaign.
Our goal is to identify the popular influencers whose audiences match with ours and work with them on producing the majority illusion effect about our product or service. So there you have it: authenticity and the majority illusion. The two core elements you must aim for when working on your next influencer marketing campaign.
- Types of influencers
- Tools for influencer identification, research, and comparison
- Finding contact info
- Activating influencers
- Measuring the effectiveness of influencer marketing