The Impact of Influencer Marketing on Consumer Behavior and Purchase Decisions
Social media platforms were originally designed to help people connect with each other on a personal level. However, these sites have since evolved into highly valuable platforms for promoting brands and products through influencers. In fact, the impact of influencer marketing on consumer behavior has led to a major shift in the way customers make purchase decisions. These platforms have provided consumers with a new way to access product information and created profitable opportunities for brands and influencers alike.
So, how exactly are influencers able to impact consumer behavior? Why are they so effective?
This article will delve into the impact of influencer marketing on consumer behavior. We will cover topics including the psychology of influence, the role of trust and authenticity, and how influencer marketing can boost brand awareness and loyalty.
The Psychology of Influence
Before we look at the role of trust and authenticity and the impact of influencer marketing on consumer behavior, let’s start with the basics: What is the psychology of influence and why is it so powerful?
According to psychologists, the theory of social influence states that people are more likely to do something if they perceive it as being a social norm. In other words, people are more likely to behave in a certain way if they see that those around them are behaving in the same way. The closer someone is to you, the more likely you are to be swayed by their actions, preferences, and behaviors. Whether we are looking to buy a new car or deciding what we think about a new neighbor, we look to our peers to guide us before we form our own opinions and beliefs.
This knowledge is very powerful for marketers as it explains how consumers can be influenced. In other words, what the core principles of influence are.
The Principles of Influence
According to Robert Cialdini's book The Psychology of Persuasion, there are seven core Principles of Influence:
- Reciprocity. We give in order to receive. As a result, people are more likely to be influenced if you’ve done something for them. Or in the case of marketing, consumers are more likely to favor your brand if they believe they will get something in return.
- Consistency. Once we have made a decision, such as favoring a particular brand, we strive to behave consistently with our choice.
- Social proof. We base our choices and behaviors on the social cues and actions of others (this is why laugh tracks work so well on sitcoms).
- Liking. We are more likely to be influenced by someone that we like (this is why Tupperware parties were so successful in the 1970s). As a result, sharing content that aligns with the likes and interests of your target consumers can greatly enhance the power of your influencer campaigns.
- Authority. We have a tendency to be influenced by authority figures as we buy into their knowledge, confidence, and credibility. This is why consumers are more easily swayed by influencers who have developed reputations as experts in their field.
- Scarcity. We always want what others don’t or can’t have. This follows the basic principle of supply and demand. If you offer consumers a “rare or exclusive opportunity”, they will be more likely to want it.
- Unity. People are influenced by those they feel united to. Brands that are able to nurture connections and a shared identity tend to find that consumers are more easily influenced by their marketing campaigns.
The Role of Trust and Authenticity
The next aspect we need to look at to understand the impact of influencer marketing on consumer behavior is the role of trust and authenticity.
Developing an authentic brand builds consumer trust. This is vital because consumers who trust a brand are 53% more likely to buy into their products. They are also twice as likely to stay loyal to a brand that they trust. This is especially true in the case of Gen Z and Millennial consumers.
Working with an authentic and ethical influencer can help you build brand trust, transparency, and credibility. This is because content shared by influencers is much more authentic and relatable than other more traditional forms of branded advertising. Plus, if your influencer promotes user-generated content, then consumers are even more likely to buy into your brand because they trust the reviews and recommendations of their unbiased peers.
The Impact of Influencer Marketing on Brand Awareness And Loyalty
So, how does all this relate to influencers? What is the impact of influencer marketing on consumer behavior? Why is influencer marketing so essential for brands that are looking to promote themselves?
These days, most markets are saturated by brands. In order to generate brand awareness, brands need to stand out from the crowd and offer something unique to consumers. Consumers need to believe that a brand offers enhanced value. In other words, to be successful, companies need to apply at least one of Cialdini’s Principles of Persuasion in order to convince consumers to buy into the brand.
This is precisely what influencers do.
The right influencer marketing campaign can help you build trust, loyalty, and authenticity and convince consumers that making a purchase from you is an opportunity that they cannot afford to miss. By leveraging the trust and loyalty that they have built with their followers and transferring their established social proof, influencers can help you create brand awareness, build brand loyalty, and drive increased conversions. This, ultimately, is the key to influencing consumer behavior and purchase decisions.