How IG Influencers are Reshaping Consumer Behavior
Instagram now has over one billion users worldwide. It’s continuing to grow, too. Instagram is now an essential part of marketing strategies for both big and small businesses, and 90 percent of Instagram users now following at least one business. IG influencers are reshaping consumer behavior.
With over 200 million businesses on the platform, though, how are brands cutting through the noise to reach their target audiences? Increasingly, they are turning to influencers for help. Influencers are the stars of Instagram who have more than 10,000 followers. They work with brands to promote products and services to their followers, helping those brands connect with target audiences. Influencers are marketing powerhouses on Instagram, driving sales and creating thousands of new brand loyalists every day. It’s so effective that 55 percent of marketers intend on using influencers as a part of their marketing campaigns this year.
Understanding the impact of an Instagram influencer can help marketers, brands, and the influencers themselves make better marketing choices for their next campaign.
The Role of IG Influencers in Consumer Behavior
Consumer behavior has been changing for a long time, thanks in large part to the internet. The recent pandemic helped accelerate several trends that were happening already. This includes the rise of influencer culture and the move to online shopping. Today, consumers are spending more money on leisure time activities, such as self-care and hobbies. They are also buying based on value and ethics, and want the companies they buy from to align with their personal values. Consumers are also more willing to try new brands than they were in the past. This is especially true if someone they trust–such as an influencer–recommends the brand.
So how are influencers shaping these new consumer behaviors?
Aspirational Lifestyles & Being Part of the Tribe
IG influencers offer a look at an aspirational lifestyle and the products that make it possible. Consumers are seeking out influencers online who can help them achieve their ideal lifestyle or whose lifestyle most aligns with their own. Because they believe their own goals and values align with the influencers, they are more likely to trust their recommendations for products and services.
It goes beyond lifestyle, though. When we follow an influencer, we feel like we are a part of their tribe. That plays into the very basic human desire to feel like we are part of a group. It’s psychologically important and a part of our identity and sense of self. Buying a product or using a service an influencer recommends solidifies those feelings. It adds to the sense of belonging to the group and achieving that aspirational lifestyle.
Building Social Proof
Social proof is a major facet of how people make their buying decisions now. They look online for proof that their peers have purchased, used, and enjoyed the product before they take the plunge themselves. One of the primary places they look for social proof is through influencer endorsement. Consumers trust what their peers and influencers tell them much more than anything that comes from the brand directly. They are seeking proof from their social circles that the purchase is going to be worth their time and money. The more social proof there is for a product, the more likely a consumer is to buy it.
Authentic Messaging & Connection
Hearing about how great a product is from an influencer can feel more like hearing about it from a close, trusted friend. The messaging is more authentic than seeing someone use the product in a commercial on television. The impact is more like that of a word-of-mouth recommendation, which is still the most effective marketing you can get for your brand. Plus, influencers have already perfected the art of interacting with their audience. They’ll know how to craft a video, photo, or caption for maximum impact and authentic connection with their audience.
Shorter Buying Journey
Brands can spend years and millions of dollars building brand awareness, consumer trust, and social credit online. Influencers can do it for a brand in a matter of minutes. When they recommend a product, they are building awareness among a loyal following. And their love of a product automatically creates trust in the brand among their followers. That’s key to shortening the buyer’s journey from awareness to purchase. Instead of taking years to build that awareness and trust, it can happen in minutes and lead to faster sales.
Buying From Experts
IG influencers are viewed as experts in their field by their followers, especially micro-influencers in niche markets. This includes influencers in fashion, makeup, cleaning, and “mommy bloggers.” When they make a recommendation about a product they love, their followers are going to take it seriously. That’s because followers already have trust in the influencer’s opinions on the topic. It also plays into that all-important need for social proof. The more trustworthy people are talking about a product or service online, the more likely consumers are to buy it themselves.
The Future of IG Influencer Marketing
The power of IG influencer marketing is only going to grow. The influencer market is expected to be worth $15 billion by 2022 as more brands use this powerful medium to build awareness and confidence in their products and services. So what does the future hold?
- Brands are going to focus on working with micro-influencers who are experts in their particular niche. Micro-influencers retain authentic connections with their followers, making their recommendations even more powerful.
- There will be more ongoing partnerships between brands and influencers. One-off ads have proven to be successful, but they are just a springboard for future partnerships.
- Video content will become even more popular. Instagram may have started as a photo-sharing platform, but it’s making more room for video content on Stories, Reels, and IGTV. It’s not a coincidence that more influencer marketing is going to happen through videos in the future.
Want to harness the power of influencer marketing for your brand? Search millions of influencer profiles on Reach.Dog to find the right influencers to help you reach your target audience. Reach.Dog is a free influencer marketing platform, developed by James Cashiola. The platform provides high-level stats for each influencer, allowing you to find the right influencers in your niche market and create strong branding partnerships.
By James Cashiola