Brands are Overthinking Influencer Marketing - An Intro to Community Influencer Marketing

Community Commerce

3 MIN READ
Brands are Overthinking Influencer Marketing - An Intro to Community Influencer Marketing

In the early days of retail marketing, brands had a relatively straightforward path to success:

  1. Create a product that people want.

  2. Advertise it widely.

  3. Sell as much as possible.

  4. Watch the money roll in.

However, the proliferation of search engines, customer review apps, and social media has made traditional marketing more difficult. Thousands of brands now market themselves on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and others, using creative advertisements and engaging creative content to get noticed among their competitors.

Brands are Overthinking Influencer Marketing

But what's often lost is how each brand can benefit from building active brand communities with their most loyal customers. Because if they win those customers' hearts first, they'll have an army supporting them through thick and thin, thus becoming a catalyst for powerful word-of-mouth across thousands (and sometimes millions) of engaged consumers.

How do brands find those loyal fans? And which of those customers are truly influential (as opposed to just out to make money through brand endorsement deals)?

And what if brands could find their way into the customers' social circles not as intrusive advertisers but as a welcomed member of an online community?

That's where brand communities come into play, and they're going to be more important than ever in our socially-networked, digital world.

Brand communities are active groups of people finding commonality around a particular brand. Their interest is so strong that they organize meetups and offline events around it, share on-brand user-generated content and even enter into formal partnerships to join promotional campaigns.

There's a lot of brand loyalty created on brand-owned social media platforms, but cracking the brand-influencer code outside the brand bubble can seem complicated. This is especially true if you feel caught up in the hype of mainstream influencer marketing, where the goal is to amass as many high-follower-count influencers as possible.

Where influencer marketing and brand community intersect hold the key to driving organic marketing and attracting only the most loyal customers.

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When they ignore the brand community piece, marketers overthink, overspend, and overwork their influencer marketing strategy. Both strategies work, but influencer marketing becomes far less complicated and more cost-effective, authentic, and sustainable when combined with brand community growth.

A History of Influencer Marketing

"More than 75% of brand marketers intend to dedicate a budget to influencer marketing in 2022." - Influencer Marketing Hub

 

What is an influencer?

An influencer is a social media power user who leverages their popularity to guide consumers, raise awareness, or establish trends.

 

Influencers have a strong brand presence and an extensive network of loyal followers, typically across multiple social media platforms.

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For brand marketers, influencers are touted as the Holy Grail: they're considered "genuine" by their followers when they assuredly love whatever it is that they're promoting. They also have a large enough audience where their endorsements can move product while also nurturing brand awareness and loyalty among consumers who trust them to give objective recommendations based on real-life experience.

In other words, influencers represent the kind of advocacy brands dream about… but a marketer's success in finding them comes down to one question: how do you find these authentic brand advocates?

What makes influencers credible?

Since engagement rates tend to decline as follower counts rise, it's often more profitable for brands to consider lower-profile brand ambassadors who'll be less costly and more content-rich than more prominent brand influencers.

Genuine engagement often signals a social media creator's credibility and effectiveness as a brand partner. Among the surging likes and thoughtful comments, connection and trust between influencers and their followers grow. Brands that harness this consumer trust fast-track their way into radical business growth through powerful word-of-mouth online.

The Role of Social Commerce in Community Influencer Marketing

Social commerce is online buying powered by virtual connectivity (social media), shoppable content, and frictionless eCommerce.

 

As the name implies, social media drives social commerce as consumers share, review, and refer friends, family, and followers to certain brands.

According to eMarketer

"Social commerce is one of the biggest trends in social media in 2021. The major platforms are all pushing commerce to the forefront of their business strategies, introducing new features aimed at convincing consumers to go from inspiration to purchase with a click of a button or a tap on a mobile screen."

 

Brands can capitalize on social commerce by building brand communities around product offerings and brand advocacy.

As you start to build a brand community of your own, it's vital to consider both influencer marketing and social media platforms that will help you maximize your brand awareness and revenue potential. In this guide, we will help you do just that without getting bogged down by influencer recruiting and workflows that are out-of-step with your brand.

The key to leveraging social commerce is going where your community is already spending time (instead of trying to force content and brand messaging into a space where it doesn't belong).

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"The value of social commerce sales in 2022 is estimated to be $958 billion." - Influencer Marketing Hub

 

Today's retail marketers face a dilemma - how to find and nurture brand advocates within a crowded social-media landscape and fast-developing digital commerce space. The answer lies in brand communities - strong groupings of informed consumers passionate about your brand, your product offerings, and your content.

Without brand communities and community influencers, social commerce wouldn't exist. But not only does social commerce exist, it is rapidly overtaking the digital advertising industry both in effectiveness, cost, and marketing spend.

Introducing "Community" Into Influencer Marketing & Social Commerce

Without embracing the connection dynamic between high-performing influencers and their followers, any attempt at influencer marketing becomes little more than a billboard - a complicated way to run native advertising.

Creators with influence curate community and prioritize that community's needs above all else. When this happens, brand endorsements are reliable and compelling to audiences.

As such, community influencer marketing is the most effective way to energize authentic word-of-mouth online. It cuts through the noise of advertising and leverages consumer trust in ways that other marketing strategies can't.

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