The term “social influence” is the one that marked the birth of the social media era. Moreover, it has become one of the greatest markers of the 21st century and consumer culture. As people raised to the absolute their own “I” and needs, egocentric way of life and an “American dream” itself were proclaimed to measure one's success. Social media only showed that it is enough to firstly sell a dream to have it in real life after.
In any case, whether you like it or not, influencers became the new leaders of thoughts, equally with usual gatekeepers like TV channels, newspapers, and radio stations. Besides, social media influence often proved to be more effective and authoritative, than “old” sources of communication. So, what is the phenomenon of social influence in marketing and why you should definitely implement it in your business, you will find out below.
Social Influence as a New Branch in Business and Marketing
Here, let’s start from the beginning, and give an exact definition of the social influences of marketing. Taking just an average explanation of influence, we will find that it is an ability to define and influence what other people think and do. Mixing it with marketing, we receive one of the newest forms of advertising, which engages different thought leaders or bloggers, and maximizes sales with the help of their impact on the audience. This way, influencers transform their followers into consumers of the product they ‘recommend’.
Important to understand that the whole sales strategy builds around a blogger's personality. That means that products that are advised by influencers are most often connected somehow with his/hers preferences, tastes. Depending on the subject of the blog, many of them are considered to be the personal choice of this blogger. Thus, as a brand, you receive access to a huge market of influencers and analyzing celebrities' audiences and style, you can choose which corresponds with your product the most. That is the whole point of influence advertising. Before, the main focus of commercials was on the product itself. Now, it is the power of a blogger's point of view that can create the real buzz and increase the traffic to your page unimaginably.
An Impact of Social Influence on Consumer Behavior
To better understand how social influence works, let’s dig in a bit in the psychology of people. The basic instinct of all is to be liked by other individuals. So, if we do the same thing, as an influencer, who is so adored, we will have a chance to become a little bit closer to his lifestyle and status. Generally, there are three ways of influencing: compliance, identification, and internalization.
The first one is about what was written two sentences ago, when you would like to achieve the group’s approval and act the same way, as a group. The second one is about defending your point of view, but at the same time, you act a certain way because you believe in what you are telling, and staying a part of the group is still significant for a person. And the last one, internalization, is a process of full recognition and agreement with the group’s norms and values.
If you thought that it might be a lot of psychology - not at all because these three concepts are basically the main SMM techniques of social influence. Later, you will see how all of them can be successfully implemented in your everyday influence.
Working With Influencers
As today’s influencers market is enormous, how do you choose bloggers correctly, and how to understand which type of influence advertising do you need? Essentially, influencers are the people who create a great amount of content like writing posts, producing videos, stories, creating vlogs, etc. To realize which piece of content you need, you have to be aware of the specific influencer’s niches to which they all can be separated.
So, there are three models of social influencers: commercial influencers, curators, and bots. Interestingly, they also correspond to psychological models about which we have talked above.
Commercial influencers, firstly, have gained popularity on Instagram and then spread to other socials. The secret of the power of influencers lies in commercial self-promotion and self-monetization. It is about selling a dream, using your cultivated image. As a result of consumer culture, there are some trends that appear to be consequential, and brands should be aware of them to work with influencers constructively.
The first is products over brands. That means we are trying to buy someone’s taste or view, but not a brand. We would purchase the product, not because we like the particular company, but because we like the person who sells it. The next one is an artificially created taste bubble. This trend we see more and more in TikTok, but Instagram, with its online shop, is not an exception. Smart tape of numerous social media resources shows only what we would like to see, based on our previous choices. And last but not least is the product life cycle. You obviously remarked a tendency to consume perceived. Well, it can be said that the average lifecycle becomes much longer, and the same things can be resailed by bloggers many times, just because of belonging to them.
Curators are all the same thing as influencers, just in the other coverage, will you probably say. Well, that can be the truth, but many stats show that curators are the future of marketing in social media. Curators are leaders of thoughts that somehow oppose themselves to influencers, as they usually authentically produce content, as they see or feel it, not depending on whether somebody will pay for it or not. These new influencers are reinventing usual social influence techniques, and are actually far more trusted by their audience because they tend to recommend what they really like.
Bots are also the consequence of social media marketing, while everyone around tried so hard to “grow their online brand”. The giants of social media have also become brands. Now, it is called algorithmic personalization. That means that we somehow give a human face to the most popular social media, as they are a part of our everyday life. An example of it can be an “Instagram girl look,” with some classical filters on the photo, or an Amazon that launched its closing line.
Best Social Influencing Strategies to Win Customers
Analyzing all that we have, we can summarize some key strategies that will be true for any social media marketer, discovering the power of influencers:
1. Put Yourself in the Place of Consumer
Try to evaluate everything from the consumer’s point of view, from your product itself to the marketing strategy you’ve chosen. Be an honest player of the game. Remember that if you are trying to sell something of bad quality, but with good marketing, it will fail neither. Customers like to feel valued, and it is the best way to influence them.
2. Bet on Customer Reviews
As you already understood, the client’s opinions form the whole relation to the product, not vice versa. Depending on their experience with you, they will share their thoughts with others. That is why working with influencers can be so fruitful, because they can present your product as their personal experience.
3. Participate in Discussions
Discussions are everything that marketing works for. Yes, you can’t just shape the social opinion you want, but you can give more information about your best qualities. Dig into even negative comments, as it will indicate that you are not afraid to resolve issues and are interested in the client’s mind.
Over the past decade, we discovered that behavioral psychology still manages all spheres of our life, and SMM isn’t an exception. In the post-Covid era, humanity, as never before, is looking for more and more social models. The benefits of collaborating with influencers can be even twice good, as you imagine, you just have to decide wisely. In this article, we’ve discovered what is social influence, and now we leave it to you to pick one and build your social media presence.
Head of Customer Care
Deeply immersed in the digital sphere, I explore the intricacies of social media's influence on consumer behavior and its impact on modern-day marketing. Beyond my role as a head of customer support, I delve into the psychology behind digital trends, analyzing how influencers shape perceptions and dictate purchasing behaviors.