Question

The traditional communication process has undergone a transformation, evolving from a one-to-many structure to many-to-many. This...

The traditional communication process has undergone a transformation, evolving from a one-to-many structure to many-to-many. This evolution was made possible by the emergence of the Internet as a medium, which changed the way companies connect with their consumers (Hoffman & Novak, 1996), and opening space for new behaviors based on interactions and experiences (Lamberton & Stephen, 2016). This change has even generated a questioning about the future of traditional advertising (Kumar & Gupta, 2016; Schultz, 2016) since companies must deal with an increasingly dispersed and organized target audience in micro communities in social media. The practical implication of this situation is a phenomenon in which people distribute themselves in community networks that provide information, a sense of belonging, and build connections with others they may not know personally but share the same interests (Wellman, 2001). Individuals recognized as opinion makers can form such networks by bringing together their set of followers and serving as vehicles for brands that wish to advertise products or services, as the endorsement of such individuals transfers the endorser's recognition, trust, and respect to the announced product (Kumar & Gupta, 2016).
Endorsement represents a marketing technique in which a person endowed with public recognition lends this advantage to a product or service. The practice of endorsement can represent the psychological process of social influence and deals with every component of human behavior not determined by biology, in which individuals influence the opinions and behaviors of others. In general, the agencies and the companies themselves state that celebrity endorsement has a positive effect on the attitude towards the endorsed object, although it does not affect the behavioral intentions of consumers, and has as a positive aspect to achieve the dissemination of their product or service in a segmented and which tends to generate better performance. Many companies rely on an endorsement of virtual social networks as a means of attracting attention to their products or services, due to the decrease in consumer attention in traditional forms of advertising. In general the effects of this tactic on online environments is still in its early stages but has already been used as a marketing strategy for small and large companies.
The most traditional virtual tool for disseminating content to followers in a particular network is the blog. It is a regular publication, organized chronologically in postings combining images and texts (Castro & Santos Júnior, 2015). However, bloggers have gradually migrated to more modern virtual platforms with broader, deeper and agiler broadcasting properties (Zhang & Peng, 2015), such as virtual social networks. Specifically, in Brazil, Instagram is the space where opinion makers play the role of digital influencers by bringing together followers around an individual profile, from where they advertise products and services. The phenomenon seems to have begun in the fashion segment, where model profiles or personalities bring together up to 4.7 million followers (Fernandez, 2016), but has spread to other areas. Market data consolidated by a Brazilian digital agency reveal two young people, a comedian and an actress, who gather five and eight million subscribers, respectively in their private channels in a social network of videos (IInterativa, 2016). On the one hand, this strong dynamic of advertising activity in social media like Instagram seems to be peculiar to Brazil. Digital influencers, apparently unknown to the general public, but known to a particular group, also receive offers from companies to produce sponsored posts that are viewed by followers located in the "network" of these influencers. On the other hand, celebrity like the American Selena Gomez charged almost $ 2 million for a post, a price justified by the audience of the singer who has more than 100 million followers on Instagram, and also by the digital influence of celebrities such as the singer, which can generate up to three times more engagement on Instagram, and five times more than other media in corporate profiles (Socialbakers, 2016). In spite of the constant use of celebrities to promote products and services by companies, digital influencers with a lower number of followers have attracted the attention of companies that are looking for alternative ways of disseminating their messages, mainly due to the authenticity of their posts (Suhrawardi, 2016).
According to data from a virtual social media management platform, 92% of consumers rely more on ads made by influencers than through traditional media or celebrity use (Weinswig, 2016). This trust is justified by the ability of influencers to create authentic and personalized posts, which creates a sense of credibility (Boyd, 2016). Therefore, the influencers have characteristics that are related to the context in which it is inserted, position in the virtual social network and the connection with other members. A representation of this perceived credibility is the case of YouTubers who are users who promote videos about various topics through the Youtube online video tool and can establish strong relationships with the users of their network (Google, 2016). According to Google, the videos promoted by YouTubers receive more engagement compared to celebrity videos, promoting three times more views, twice as many actions and twelve times more comments in the posts.
Measuring the real level of influence of these new opinion makers is still a challenge for marketers (Terra, 2012; Uzunoglu; Kip, 2014). In an advertising survey in which influencers in social networks Facebook and Twitter are analyzed influencers can be identified by a number of followers in a number of pages on the web, as well as their index in the PageRank (form that Google represents the importance of a page), if it has more than one profile on social media, and also, through the Klout index (tool that measures the influence of the user in a social network). In this way, the challenge for agencies and companies is in identifying the influencer for their target audience and a campaign alignment so that the endorsement of the brand or product can be positive.
Discussion Questions
1. What strategy could marketers follow to identify influencers in virtual social networks aligned with their product or brand?
2. How can companies evaluate the performance of actions with digital influencers?
3. What indicators could the company use to assess the remuneration of digital influencers?

Homework Answers

Answer #1

1.

Answer:-Strategy that marketers can follow to identify influencers in virtual social networks aligned with their product or brand are:-

1) Find the influencers through google search, hashtags, or social media platforms using related keywords and connect based on their followers, decent posts, a number of likes, level of engagement, and checks if the content they have shared is relevant with the brand.

2) There are also lots of tools that can filter and sort out influencers based on reach, followers, and engagement and help marketers identify the target influencer for their brand.

4) Check out how often they promote a brand or product, if they are over-promoting then that's definitely not a good choice as it dilutes the credibility of the product.

5) Find how the influencers sites rank in search.

2.

Answer:- Companies can evaluate the performance of actions with digital influencers by

1) Determining the campaign reach through impressions, followers, and traffic.

2) Determining campaign engagement through likes, shares, comments, and clicks.

3) If the goal is sales then find out the revenue generated through affiliate links, google analytics, promo codes.

3.

Answer:- The indicators that the company use to assess the remuneration of digital influencers are:-

1) The type of collaboration whether it is sponsored post, review, or a brand ambassador program.

2) Influencers may also charge based on followers so analyze if they are genuine followers sometimes the follower can be a bunch of fake accounts and bots.

3) Pay per engagement like the number of comments, likes, etc which is predefined before the collaboration.

4) Analyze the content value if it has proven effective in boosting the company goals.  

**Hi student, if you find this helpful kindly, give a thumbs up, that will be very grateful, also if you have any doubt you can ask me in the comment section.




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