Millennial Marketing: The Power of Influencers

Influencers are taking social media marketing by storm. Influencers, with their sizable following on social media represent the latest in “celebrity” coveted by social media marketing companies online. Influencer marketing is the latest in social media marketing with the ability to reach audiences like never before. Millennials, those that fall between the ages of 18-30 show a particular affinity for online influencers.

Apparently, influencer marketing delivers 11 times higher ROI than traditional digital marketing, including other forms of social media marketing.iii Up to 94% of brands find influencer marketing effective in driving engagement and awareness. 85% of marketing and communication professionals worldwide are expected to launch at least one influencer campaign in the next 12 months.iv

What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing uses online leaders to promote products and brands. Social media marketing companies negotiate with influencers that have audiences that closely resemble their clients’ target demographic to promote products. The main difference between influencer marketing and celebrity endorsement is that the former is defined by its relationship with niche communities on social media. Whereas celebrity endorsements leverage a celebrity’s fame for mass product exposure, influencers are perceived as authorities on products within a particular niche.

The popularity of influencer marketing is in many ways a consequence of the digital age. Millennials possess a worldview that has been “…shaped by the influence of technology and social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… the plethora of social media has made it harder to fake it. People can learn about others much easier in this day and age and put their stories to the test. Authenticity can be considered to be one of the ten values regarded as most essential to [millennials].”v

To the extent that social media has impacted millennial shopping and purchasing behavior, influencers are those that have established high levels of trust, credibility, and engagement with their followers on social media. Influencer marketing as a form of social media marketing works by targeting specific audiences within a community based on shared

Celebrities can be influencers if they possess authority over an audience based on first-hand experience. Influencers can build on their niche audience and become celebrities if they possess attributes that appeal to a wider audience. Ultimately, the determination is made based on the level of genuineness and authenticity regarding the specific asset over which they wield authority. For the influencer, authority is derived from personal hands-on experience, and the characterization is based on openness and transparency. Influencers primarily comprise of online bloggers and social media celebrities that have amassed a sizable following.

70% of teens and millennials say they can relate better with influencers than traditional celebrities.ix 62% of 18 to 24 year olds would buy products endorsed by an influencer. As established authorities within their community, fans trust influencers to provide information that is both accurate and authentic about products they actually use.

Why it Works? – Understanding Millennial Values
As the second largest consumer demographic, millennials are rewriting the rules on marketing and advertising. In particular, they are making social media marketing highly lucrative. Studies show that while 79% of millennials believe advertisements are necessary to deliver information on products and services,vii only 1% of traditional advertising has an influence on millennial purchasing behavior.viii As of 2016, an astonishing 70% of millennials reportedly used ad blockers to circumvent traditional advertising altogether, more than doubling the 34% reported for the previous year.ix

Millennials are highly skeptical of traditional advertising. 96% believe advertisements are dishonest and lacking in integrity. 69% believe advertisements are not intended to provide accurate or honest information, while 95% believe peer endorsement provides the most credible source of product information.x

Ultimately, influencers satisfy the need that millennials have for accurate and honest information. This is because unlike prior generations, millennials have been raised in a culture flooded with massive amounts of information that is easily accessible. It is not surprising then that 80% of millennials research products before making purchasing decisions. 62% actively seek out the advice of others before trying a new brand. And 59% only buy products that their peers have already bought, tested and reviewed.viii

Finding the Right Influencer – The Top 5 Qualities to Look For
Influencer marketing is different from traditional marketing. But much like traditional marketing, negotiating with and maintaining ongoing engagement with an influencer promoting your product requires commitment. The influencer chosen must be well aligned with your company’s values. The product to be endorsed must inspire the influencer and meet with his or her genuine approval.

Influencers are only effective to the extent that their endorsement is based on first-hand experience. Their endorsement must also be genuine. In general, promotion through an influencer must satisfy the same basic guidelines upon which the influencer’s authority on social media was built.xi

When it comes to influencer marketing, partnering with a skilled social media marketing agency with experience is important. An experienced social media marketing agency can identify the correct influencer to promote your product. They are also in a better position to properly vet the influencer to ensure they are appropriately aligned with your company’s vision.

A social media marketing agency is ideally suited to negotiate with the influencer. Importantly, an experienced social media marketing agency can make accurate predictions regarding the influencer’s prospective relevance and protect against risk. Once an influencer has been retained, a social media marketing agency can act quickly to make adjustments to the campaign where necessary. They can also provide for smooth transitioning between influencers.

Finally, an experienced social media marketing agency has the tools to monitor and track the influencer’s performance. They can make ongoing recommendations and timely revisions to the influencer’s script to ensure optimal results.

Below are five main areas social media marketing agencies evaluate when vetting an influencer for your campaign:
  1. Relevance
    When choosing an influencer, it is important to carefully review his or her online content. How well does the influencer’s own beliefs and values fit with your brand’s message.

    Remember, the power behind influencer marketing derives from the influencer’s relatability with his or her fan base. Influencers are not celebrities; instead they provide peer endorsement through their established role as trusted authorities on particular subjects. For influencer marketing to be an effective part of your social media marketing campaign, the product to be promoted must be well aligned with the influencer’s online personality, values and beliefs.

  2. Engagement
    How often an influencer engages with his or her fans on social media, blog, or video comments will play a large role in determining the success of an influencer marketing campaign. Most influencers have built their authority on relationships established via two-way communication. As a general rule, regular ongoing engagement between the influencer and his or her audience is highly relevant to your social media marketing success.

  3. Reach
    Reach is an important part of an influencer marketing campaign. Expanding your brand’s reach through an influencer is only relevant if the reach is to your desired target demographic. Keep in mind that in the long run, influencers with a smaller fan base but higher resonance with your product will prove more effective for your social media marketing efforts. The relevance of your product in the niche community the influencer represents is a better indicator of campaign success.

  4. Authenticity
    61% of millennials admit they won’t engage with an influencer’s sponsored content if it doesn’t feel genuine.xii As a general rule, influencers with smaller ratio of sponsored content are often viewed as more trustworthy. And, the most successful influencers are those that can tell compelling, personal stories that weave in genuine use or mention of a brand.xi

    When it comes to influencer marketing, authenticity is key. Whether you are paying an influencer, or soliciting an organic review, successful influencer marketing relies on influencers that share a genuine affinity for the product. Otherwise, the content will feel unnatural and insincere.

  5. Freshness and Longevity
    When embarking on an influencer campaign, it is important to regularly track the influencer’s viability. Popularity on social media can be fleeting. The influencer’s ability to successfully promote your brand depends on the audience’s perception of the influencer’s authority on a particular subject and his or her ability to convey authenticity. Remember that your campaign is viable only to the extent that the influencer remains credible and trusted by his or her active following. To that end, the influencer must remain fresh, and relevant throughout the duration of the campaign.

Ultimately, influencer marketing fulfills a longing for authentic relationships. Unlike traditional celebrities, influencers are trusted peers that have established his or her authority on a particular subject. They have amassed an audience through ongoing engagement characterized by openness and transparency. Their opinions derive from first-hand experience and are therefore perceived as genuine and honest.

In the realm of online marketing, influencer marketing fulfills a type of word of mouth marketing through the use of peer-to-peer content, storytelling, and sharing through social media. Influencer marketing fills the void between mass marketing by identifying a product primarily with a celebrity’s prestige and popular appeal with that of honest discerning opinions of genuine and trusted critics.

At Trinet, we know much more than how to advertise through digital media. We dissect the latest marketing trends to intimately understand the social motivations behind them. Thereafter, we thoughtfully apply them to our digital marketing campaigns, carefully adjusting and fine tuning to deliver optimal results. With over 1,500 digital projects and more than 95 industry awards, trust Trinet with your influencer marketing campaign. Call us today 949 442 8900 or visit us at

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