Future of Influencer Marketing

How do we measure a user's 'influence' is something worth reconsidering going into 2020s.

Nowadays, there are many forms of influencers, ranging from celebrity-graded to micro-level ones. The trend has been obvious — because of the growing marketing demand, the influence market is interested in exploiting the 'influence' of whoever seem to have it, leading to the creation of 'micro' or even 'nano' influencers.

However, I am going to argue that when it comes to the less popular users, it is rather pointless to quantify their influence based on number of likes or followers (not to mention that a lot of them are zombie accounts). It seems fine that businesses and marketers have been paying these micro-influencers based on the number of audience they bring in, but we have to wonder — How effective is such marketing model? i.e. What is the conversion rate? Will paying a micro-KOL with 500-1000 followers even convert any sale or customer at all? And above all, the influencer industry is going to hit an limit on its potential supply — assuming that micro-influencers have a threshold of 1k followers, and nano-influencers with few hundred followers — will you hire Instagram users with only 100-200 followers in the future then? Clearly, exploiting the lower limit of a user's followers and likes isn't the answer to influencer market's future.

But an average user's opinion certainly matters and plays a role in social commerce.

Key Opinion Customer (KOC)

Ever since the rise of Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book) in China, it has shifted the social commerce pattern from one that was being dominated by Key Opinion Leader (KOL) to Key Opinion Customer (KOC). It is believed that the collective opinion of the average users, which is more genuine and reflective of a product/service's reality, is more indicative than says, a KOL who gets paid for speaking about it. The netizens have grown tired of falling into the trap of a paid opinion. Now they want to understand what other ordinary customers, who pay out of their own pockets, say and feel about the products and services.

Despite the exciting new terminology, having the product reviewed by a real customer isn't exactly something new. From embedded reviews on e-commerce sites like Amazon review, to individual review platforms like Yelp and TripAdvisor, a genuine and down to earth opinion has always been demanded.

What the market needs now is a better integration of these average opinion with the social networks such as Instagram, which is still very much dominated by users with a so-called 'influencer' status.

Extended reading: Key Opinion Consumers: Who Are They And Why You Should Care?

Zocial Earn: Anyone can be an 'influencer'

The biggest mystery with the 'influencer' terminology is perhaps how we came to associate influence with simply numbers of likes, clicks, views or followers. No doubt that when these numbers are substantial enough, they are bound to exert some influence on their audiences' decision to purchase. But in that process, we ignore how a common social network user has his/her own influence that is worth targeting.

Most people have their own social circle, friends and family who value their opinion. For example, it is very likely that a college student with only 200 friends on his list could share a cool lunch spot on Instagram story, and a few of his classmates end up going there. If we pay the college student based on his numbers of followers, the pay is probably not attractive enough to motivate him, and he will be under the impression of him getting paid to offer an opinion. However, his conversion is very valuable. The 2-3 friends he converted means real business for the restaurant, and this is where we should cut into.

At Zocial Earn, we see the huge opportunity of exploiting the small closed circles of these average social users, but we should not adopt the business model that the current influencer market has for them, which is paying influencer users based on some vague indicators e.g. follower counter. Instead, Zocial Earn has designed such a marketing model that we automatically pay any social user that has a conversion for our partnering business.

In many ways, you can say that it is similar to a referral program that many platforms have on their own site, but the key differences and advantages that we offer are:

  1. Instead of earning credits and coupons that are likely to expire / be forgotten and scattered into many different apps, Zocial Earn is a centralized platform with all the business referrals in one place and cash that can be withdrawn to your bank account or digital wallet.

  2. We specialize in integration with social networks to enable a painless experience for average social user to earn a referral fee while sharing their daily photos as usual.

  3. Referrals are commonly associated with online transactions, but our app offers a seamless referral management experience for offline businesses as well (i.e. shops with a physical storefront).

Learn more at zocialearn.com