According to author Malcolm Gladwell, for Expercity, more influential individuals, known as “information brokers,” have a wealth of knowledge and know how to share it. Influence is about authenticity, access to information, and the drive to empower others, says the report. And, the study seeks to better understand the role influencers play in consumers’ decision-making cycles and what companies might be missing when measuring influencers’ impact on their bottom lines.
Savvy consumers often turn to these micro-influencers for advice when making decisions. With a growing distrust for brand-led messaging, a McKinsey report shows that two-thirds of touch points in the buying cycle now involve consumer-driven information like online reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family.
Micro-influencers may not have the flashy appeal of celebrities, but they have their audience’s trust, says the report. Experticity partnered with Jonah Berger, a word-of-mouth marketing researcher from the Wharton Business School, and agency Keller Fay, to look at the impact of a conversation with an influencer as it relates to the final outcome in the mind of the buying consumer. According to the report, two-thirds of touch points in the buying cycle now involve consumer-driven information like online reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family.
Keller Fay defines an influencer as a person who has greater-than-average reach or impact through word of mouth in a relevant marketplace. Influencer marketing, which is increasingly practiced in a commercial context, comprises a few main activities:
Micro-influencers can be less visible than other influencers, but they have significant sway with others through their work or extracurricular activities. They’re retail associates who sell your products, industry professionals who use your products to do their job, and other passionate members of your industry’s community.
What makes micro-influencers unique is that they choose to learn about particular brands and products in-depth. They’re true believers in a product’s value. They’re also influencers who are having lots of conversations with everyday consumers, many right on the retail floor. The study found that in just a single week, Experticity’s micro-influencers have 22.2x more buying conversations than typical consumers.
Think about micro-influencers as an ongoing media channel, says the report.
Experts are also more likely to share information that’s related to their professional success. Think of your influencer strategy as analogous to broadcasting, says the report. You can influence a consumer who will talk to a friend, or you can influence an influencer who has a leadership role within an entire network. While both approaches are important for a successful marketing strategy, one is clearly more efficient, impactful, and education-oriented than the other.
For micro-influencers, trust is the ultimate asset. While 26% of the general population becomes aware of brands through friends and family, only 15% of micro-influencers find out about brands in this way. This stat suggests that unlike consumers who merely pass information from person to person, micro-influencers actively seek their own sources of information. They’re seeking out products that they can experience for themselves. They’re conducting their own field research and learning about new products to use on the job. They’re relying on expertise from colleagues, says the report.
For the complete report with stats and charts, please visit here.