You may have heard of the halo effect, but if not, in short, it’s the idea that a positive association in one area can spread to multiple domains. So, for example, if you find someone funny, that can spread to you viewing them as kind, attractive, and so on. And associations spread beyond the individual. If someone we like, or even trust, starts promoting a product, our favourable view of them can start to seep into that as well.
Of course, there are plenty of different reasons to follow people. But one that’s fairly universal is that we admire what they’re posting. Maybe we want vacation inspiration, or we want to develop their apparent self-confidence, or even simply just want to look like them. Whatever the reason, we admire it. And we are inspired by it; we want something similar. So when they promote a product of course we’re going to look into it. I’ve definitely clicked on the links myself and could name multiple products promoted by the influencers I follow.
Not to say all influencers are equal. The following matters. The more popular something is, the more reliable we think it is. This is no different for influencers, the more follows they have the more likeable we deem them. It’s kind of a no-brainer. The more liked someone is, the more likeable they are. And enough of a following can lead to opinion leadership, we’ll trust that they know what they are talking about.
One study found that: “44% of social media users have unfollowed an influencer’s account because of something the influencer said or did.” The halo effect is not indestructible. The positive association can be broken and then it seems to flip on its head. Suddenly you got a negative association. And those spread too. So picking the right influencer, one that already subscribes to the philosophies your business is promoting, is essential. People follow influencers for fun, not adverts. They don’t want stuff shoved in their face they have no interest in, or even worse yet, morally disapprove of.
And shoved in their face it will be. 95% of people have a smartphone nowadays. And sure they’re texting, posting, and maybe, just maybe, even using it to phone a real live person. But when those are done, when they’ve sent off that quick reply or pressed post, they’re scrolling. They’re checking in on what others are doing. And more importantly: influencers. When bored, maybe on a bus or in a queue, that’s what we all do.
So yeah, influencers are a pretty good marketing strategy. Of course, there’s quite a bit to consider when picking which but as long as the choice is correct, as long as the product and person can go hand in hand, it works. People like them, they trust them. They’re not following someone they hold a complete lack of interest in, that would be silly. We follow to be entertained… And if the person can entertain us, then we’ll assume the product will too. Association truly is a powerful thing. Influencers, quite frankly, would be nothing without it.