Why Do I Want What She Has?

Every morning I wake up to numerous emails from companies asking to work with them.  Some on a paid basis, some gifted, some commission based –  a wide variety of contracts. But the ones that frustrate me, thus prompted this post, are those that who ask me to purchase their product (at a very generous 10% off!) and then require 3 posts, a YouTube video and my left arm in exchange.

I often find myself defending my profession, recently it’s left me wondering … influencer marketing works, the return on investment seen is undeniable. Recently I posted on Instagram story of this skirt (below) which directly resulted in 61 orders placed with Nasty Gal over the next few days, the total of these orders amounting to around £5600. Or an average order value of about £92.

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But how does influencer marketing work? Why do people care what bloggers are wearing enough to buy things they share? First, lets define influencer marketing – influencer marketing uses influential individuals in a particular area to gain brand awareness and increase sales.

Influencers have trust on their side, their audience trusts them and are likely to follow their recommendations. Influencer marketing has been used with celebrities for decades, however influencer marketing is more effective because consumers feel closer to influencers. Proximity to the consumer makes influencers perceived to be more trustworthy. This trust is crucial to effectiveness of influencer marketing, this should be maintained if it is to succeed.

When a person decides to follow a social influencer, they join others in doing so. The others are likely to think similarly to them, enjoy similar things and have similar opinions. This makes them a part of that group, an idea coined a consumer tribe. Being part of this group puts an unconscious pressure to on the consumer to conform with the group, for example by purchasing products endorsed by the social influencer. If the consumer does purchase a product endorsed by the influencer this reinforces their conformity, making future purchases more likely in addition to reinforcing a sense of belonging associated with the group.

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Additionally, items shared by the influencer are made to seem more appealing purely due to the fact the consumer likes the influencer and they shared it. This is due to the Halo Effect, which argues items associated with a person whom is seen in a good light is also seen in a good light, thus more likely to be desired by consumers.

Additionally the Mere Exposure effect states that merely exposing a person to something or somebody makes them more likely to like it and the more they are exposed to it the more they will like it. This works in two ways in influencer marketing. Firstly, the more a consumer sees an influencer’s content the more likely they are to enjoy the content. Secondly, the more frequently an influencer shares a specific item the more likely the item and this more likely they are to purchase.

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200 Comments

  1. shn18jhy

    Hi Becky! Your site is gorgeous – almost intimidatingly so, haha. But as soon as I began reading your article, the professionalism and style and personal brand all began to click into place. I think your topic is absolutely fascinating, especially about the consumer tribe. Social norming plays a large it into how we act, especially when it comes to in-group memberships (which can be signaled by the products we consume).

    I wonder if the positive consumer contagion that Caroline mentioned in class comes into play here (though, mediated by the fact that it isn’t physically the same product). As you say with the halo effect, it’s a way to become closer to our identity and aspiration goals (in, this case, the influencer and the lifestyle and persona that they embody).

    This might be an interesting experiment to consider. There’s a phenomenon known as the Watching Eyes effect (or Direct Gaze Induction technique, in marketing terms) which links the presence of eyes (either live people in the proximity or in marketing imagery) to more pro-social behavior and higher levels of commitment/engagement. I’d be curious to find out if you’ve noticed a difference in impact based on whether your followers can see your eyes or not.

    You make several excellent points and it was a true pleasure to read. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • beckyloubuttonBlogger

      Oh this is the loveliest comment! Thank you so much! I’ve been working on perfecting my website/branding for a few years now so its so comforting to hear people like it!

      The eye experiment is especially interesting to me, I hadn’t heard of that but will definitely be testing it out – perhaps even run an AB test? Watch this space!

      Have a lovely day!

  2. Marilu Louw

    This is so very true. Influencers are very powerful as they set a certain tone and expectation for an experience a consumer can have with a product or brand. Influencers are the modern day word of mouth (WOM) companies use to create trust with consumers. Influencers are seen as reliable ‘friends’ who have their best interests at heart and who’s opinion can be trusted. These days it appears brands decrease their value by recruiting too many ambassadors, which I’ve experienced with a fitness brand. This can be quite harmful to their brand image as the affiliates may start to think the brand does not care about its ambassadors and that can depreciate the emotional value and loyalty they have towards the brand, which means they won’t put in enough effort to promote the brand. An interesting read on influencers and how they are perceived as well as how they affect brands and consumers’ attitudes toward brands https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02650487.2017.1348035?casa_token=GBjgLC5-hTsAAAAA%3AftIzOER80KjcIK0D8Skt7tz_vYf2le7WCj5vyx1pSuGu8BoXpx79-EMCWwPKpIQXufrOh_i_iQt9Yds& . Always a pleasure to read your blogs.

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