Over recent decades, businesses have change drastically how they do business and how they interact with consumers. JBJ1 With the introduction of computers, the internet and e-commerce have had an immensely impact on the operation of businessesJBJ2 . As technology involves so does how businesses operate. Most recent the introduction of social media technology has vastly changed and improve business marketing operations. The social media technologies has enabled businesses to gain great benefits such as creating brand awareness to a wider audience. Social media has become one of the most used platforms by various demographics whether young or old and female or male around the world. According to Statista.com JBJ3 there were 1.37billion Facebook, 800million Instagram, 1.5billion YouTube and 330million twitter active users in the first quarter of 2017 (Statista.com, 2017). With these numbers there is no wonder why businesses have changed the way they advertise and promote brand awareness. Social media is currently the trendiest, hottest marketing concept for businesses to generate value of the business. The traditional way of advertising has drastically declined and the trust in brand driven advertising such as tv ads, company websites, online advertising and editorial magazine content. Consumers are in control of they consume contents and interact with brands. In recent years consumers have shown increase preference for the individual of trusted influencers over traditional method of advertising from brands.
In the UK, the beauty industry is £9.38 billion market with one of the largest leading industry in the EU (CTPA, 2016). According to Statista the largest reach was through social media influencers. These influencers which they are also known as (Beauty Gurus) uses their skills in makeup and communication to collaborate with beauty brands, while building brand awareness around the brands products. Influencers have gained popularity due to the rise of social media and their ability to connect with their followers. They play a vital role in telling the brands story and creating brand awareness. They share their thoughts, experiences to their followers. This method has become more influential than the traditional advertising method. As reported by Nielsen’s latest Global Survey of Trust in Advertising, personal recommendation remains the most trusted way of advertising however online opinions has become the second highest most trusted form of advertising with 58% while 57% trust brand sponsorships. In this report 81% of the respondents were from the UK.
With this insight, brands are pursuing ways to leverage these new influencers in changing brand story in the digital space. This way is completely different way of marketing, a way that calls for a new approach.
Research has JBJ4 been conducted on social media influencers….
Looking at this new way of marketing and companies creating brand awareness, we need to raise questions and find answers to these questions.
What is the purpose of beauty brands using social media to create brand awareness?
the purpose of this is that social media using influencer is used as marketing tool to create brand relationship and ultimately reaching a larger audience. This is because brand awareness is vital element when it comes to consumers making a decision and has the ability to create brand equity. Creating brand awareness will result to brand equity in 4 different ways: these are as follows: JBJ5 creating a brand node in consumer’s recollections of the brand, brand awareness acting as a signal of loyalty to the brand which will be enough reason for consumers to consider the brand when making a decision and finally it provides a sense of familiarity of the brand in the consumer’s memory.
Social media &
Social Media Influencer
Social Media Tools
Social Media is ground breaking innovative tool that companies use for creating a very strong public relation with consumers on the virtual networks (Jan & Khan, 2014). With the rise of the internet so has the varieties social media platforms. We cannot fully understand social media without mentioning Web 2.0, this focuses on the applications and services including blogs, video sharing, social network and podcast. It is a social connected web where by people can interject as much as they consume. (Anderson, 2007). Many will say that social media is a new phenomenon, this is not the case as the first example of social media was Usnet which was created in 1979 by Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis. The social media we know today did not come about up until about 20 years ago created by 2 diary writers. This platform was called Open Diary, it was a platform where it brought avid dairy writers into one place. As the internet became more popular and high-speed became available so did social media platforms. These platforms quickly became a way where many millennials communicated with their associates. (Andreas M. Kaplan, 2010, p. 60)JBJ6
Social media marketing
according to Weinberg (2009) social media marketing as the activity process that enables brands to promote their products and services they provide through social media channels in order to reach a larger audience that may not have been able to reach via the means of traditional advertising channels. On the other hand, Gordhamer (2009) stats that social media marketing is a tool whereby brands marketers changes their strategy from “trying to sell” to “making connections” with their target audience.
Social media enacts as a hybrid the traditional marketing mix. It enables brands to interact with their consumers which in turn shapes consumers thoughts and experiences to make sure that they go with the organisations goals and objectives. Modern day marketers see social media as a platform whereby they can use as an opportunity increase brand awareness and equity. It is seen as a positive new set of channels through which brand can promote their products and services. With a brand social media marketing strategy, a brand should choose an influencer that matches its brand in order target segment consumers and interact with them accordingly.
(Diamond, 2008) have stated that social media marketing pays close attention to consumers and not the products. With the massive increase of social media based messages spread through the World Wide Web, they are now a main factor in influencing many aspects of consumer behaviour, such as awareness, consideration, information gathering, opinions, attitudes, purchasing decisions and post-purchase evaluation. The crucial aspects is the comments on their experiences left by customers as it can go both ways whether positive or negative word of mouth. With regular people instead of traditional marketers they provide these contents and that is the most daunting and challenging part of social media marketing. In general terms, they cannot control what consumer says about a brands products and services. The down side to this is the fact that it is very easy for dissatisfied consumers to tarnish a brand reputation within a few minutes. A major benefit of brands using social media as a marketing tool is the ability to listen, track and measure using analytics and metrics. This will allow brands to see what is been said about them and use that to pin point the good and the bad about their product offerings. Marketers will then be able to adapt their products or services specifically to their consumer needs.JBJ7
• video marketing still holds the top spot for future plans: A substantial 76% of brand marketers has strategies in place in order to increase their use of YouTube and video marketing, making it the top strategies marketers will capitalise in for 2012.
Marketers still place high value on social media: A huge percentage (83%) of marketers specify that social media is vital for their business.
• Marketers are eager to exploit into new social media platforms such as Google+: it is reported that only 40% of brand marketers are using Google+, however 70% of them wants to further learn more about it and 67% plan on increasing Google+ activities.
• Top six social media media/tools for marketers: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, YouTube and instagram were the top five social media tools used by marketers, in that order.
• Social media marketing still takes a lot of time: The majority of marketers (59%) are using social media for 6 hours or more each week, and a third (33%) invest 11 or more hours weekly.
• Social media outsourcing underutilized: Only 30% of businesses are outsourcing some portion of their social media marketing, only a slight increase from 28% in 2011.
SOCIAL INFLUENCERS FOR BRAND MARKETING
In a report conducted by Chute (Watson, 2016) where by 200 marketing experts JBJ8 were surveyed, it stated that more than 66% of them used social media influencers as part of their marketing strategy. They have seen the benefits of using this strategy as influencer marketing capitalises on social media reach, by sponsoring influencer of diverse levels of influence and follower engagement. Within the report it brought forth that 80% wanted to reach a different set of audience and 70% wanted to target smaller niche customers that sometimes have a challenge of connecting with. One advantage aside from been able to reach larger audience is the fact that influencers posts does not get bombarded with ad in which consumers find nuisance thus using software’s such as ad blockers.
WHO IS A SOCIAL INFLUENCER?
Social media influencers showcases a new type of independent third party sponsor who shapes audience attitudes (Freber, et al., 2011). Traditionally, influencers has been the press, celebrities and well-known and respected individuals in our society. However, today these type of influencers have gradually changed over the years especially after the introduction and the popularity of digital social media. These influencers build their followings through content creating in particularly YouTube, Instagram and Bloglovin. They are seen to be organic as many of these have “normal” lives. Consumers feel that they can relate to them more than the traditional influencers. Over time of period influencers builds a relationship with their followers which in turn builds trust and gain loyal fan base. This is where influencers can monetize their content through adverts and opinion-loaded promotions of products/services that influencers personally experience for a fee this also known as sponsorship. (Abidin, 2015). There are attributes that influencers must have in order to appeal to wide audience. (Freber, et al., 2011), identified that influencers should have these characteristics, good communication skill, smart, ambitious, productive, and poised as the most positive attributes for both the influencers and the brand they are promoting. The rise of beauty influencers has completely modified the way consumers come to a decision on what beauty product or brand they should buy from, this has completely transformed the beauty industry in a positive manner in terms of generating brand awareness and increasing revenue.
THE THEORY JBJ9 OF SOCIAL INFLUENCERS
The theory of social influencers aids us to comprehend why influencers has such ability to influence anyone. The reasoning behind consumers’ behaviour when watching others (influencers) Bandura (1971On the basis of informative feedback, consumers widen their knowledge and build-up thoughts about the types of behaviour most likely to succeed. He also puts forward that individuals behaviours are learned intentionally or accidentally by watching others. Viewers are more likely to trust and acquire these influencers’ behaviours as they lead by example. For that reason, many beauty brands marketers uses that tactic in hopes that consumers will go along with their favourite influencers.
Social media influencers has become the leading experts when it comes to electronic word of mouth also known as eWOM. (Hennig, et al., 2004) States that eWOM is a type of testimony made by any individual whether potential, actual and former customers about a specific product or brand through the internet. This type of communication has been studied and concluded to be more effective method of communicating to consumers than the traditional method. This is because consumers sees this to be more credible and honest as it is coming from everyday people (Lee & Youn, 2009). Research has also concluded that eWOM results in higher credibility, empathy and relevance for consumers than brand marketing messages on the web. Social media is the optimum tool for eWOM as customers produces and widens brand related messages to others close to them without much limitations.
As said by Chu and Kim (2011) there are three ways of assessing the use of eWOM as follows: opinion seeking, opinion giving and opinion passing. Consumers witjh a strong opinion seeking are likely to look for informations and advice from other consumers (influencers) when making a purchase decision. Consumers in this case influencers with strong level of opinion giving behaviour. They have a substantial influence on consumers’ attitudes and behaviours. Lastly, social media promoting is a feature of Ewom that enables the movement of information.
Disadvantages of social media marketing
While social media is an excellent tool for marketing, it is however nothing without its disadvantages, for instance: scarcity of ecommerce knowledge, aggressive advertising, breach of consumers privacy and several legal matters (Bolotaeva, 2011). Intrusive advertising may drive consumers away further from a brand doing the exact opposite of what brands trying to achieve. Brands have to meticulously calculate their online presence when sponsoring several influencers as to not annoy consumers also create a sense of bias reviews. Pettey (2008) also confirms that consumers will not stay with influencers and consequently brands if they are seen to being too commercial or feel that influencer are being deceptive. Not being able to control the reputation on social media is crucial weakness. Influencers and consumers can easily share their opinions whether positive or negative about the brand or a specific product. Thus creating a lack of control on what users puts forward on social media (Bolotaeva, 2011).
Creating brand awareness is the first step that any business needs to take in order to create a brand. Brand awareness is one of the vital element of brand knowledge (Keller, 1993). When consumers have awareness of a particular brand whether gained actively or passively, the awareness towards the brand becomes high. (Long-Chuan Lu, 2014). Many theorists have come to a conclusions that there are two dimensions to form brand awareness. These are brand recalls and brand recognitions, however, these does not occur concurrently when the level of brand awareness is being assessed. Brand recall is vital in the role of getting consumers to be loyal with a brand as well as being a repeating customer. When a customer buy a specific product from a brand and the product is finished or deteriorated, naturally consumers will most likely purchase from the same brand again depending on the experience they had with the product. In some cases when a brand goes out of market and then it re-emerges if a consumer previously had a positive experience then they are most likely to purchase from the brand again. Brand recognition is the ability of which a consumer can identify one brand over any other brand in correlation with a brands products, services, logo, packaging or advertising campaign. Brand recognition involves consumers to recollect previous knowledge in order to build a strong brand recognition. A brand must continuously provide their customers with consistent visual or auditory learning experience to be able easily identify the brand. When brand recognition is done correctly, a brand product will be able to easily identify even without using its name. (Keller, 1993). Previous research (Laroche, et al., 1996) have concluded that if consumers are aware with a brand, this indicates that brand awareness is high, their confidence towards the brand will grow. ( McDonald & Sharp, 2000) Both identified that consumers have tendency to use brand awareness as a heuristic when deciding on a product. This is because most consumers relates well-known brand to be reliable and consistent than any unknown brands. There is also a belief that organisations that have high brand awareness would not use misleading campaigns marketing on customers which can be debated. (Danciu, 2014) states in his research that there are various types of manipulative advertising one of them is deceitful advertising also known as false advertising, this type uses facts however deceptive facts. It uses strategies that will mislead, confuse or even use untrue statements in order to promote their product. However (Bracket & Carr, 2001) have come to a conclusion that brands that has a credible advertising campaigns has a positive impact to consumer attitudes toward advertisement and the brand itself. With this in mind, this research put forward if social media influencers recommended products have a high and credible brand awareness then most likely consumers will react to it in a positive manner towards a sponsored recommendation on any social media platform.
The changes between the customer trend tendencies and business environments have driven firms to modify the strategies they use to generate awareness. Collaborations with customers has rapidly become the one of the crucial driving force of brand awareness within Business-to-Business environments. (chuanWang, 2016)
Factors of brand awareness on social media
Is a known fact that well-known brands are far more likely to be considered as compare to lesser known brands. The more a brand is recognised the more consumers would choose to make a purchase and also make recommendations to others Horng, Liu, Chou, & Tsai, 2011). As consumers are aware of a lesser-known beauty product through coverage on social media platforms, their future recall, recognition and intention to recommend and to purchase product will be even more strengthened (Mason & Nassivera, 2012).
Attitude toward Social Media sponsored post
Attribution theory refers to how an individual uses information to reach at explanations for occasions. It assesses what information is obtained and how is merged to a casual judgement (Fiske, & Taylor, 1991). In this case the more consumer attributes an influencer reviews about a certain product and how the product actually works, the likelihood consumers will notice the credibility of the influencer, the stronger the consumer’s belief that credibility the product has the attributes mentioned in the review. Finally, consumers will have full confidence in the truthfulness of the review. Influencers play a vital role of consumers forming opinions on products and brands thus coming to a purchase decisions. This is an important aspect for any brand marketer to keep influencers reviews positive in order to persuade consumers to try their products. While it is important for brand marketers to work with social media influencers to create brand/product awareness it is also crucial for influencers to build trust and credibility between them and their followers. The phrase source credibility means whether an individual perceives a source of information as unbiased, believable, true, or factual. Viewers are more likely to accept a product when the review is filled with positive characteristics as it heightens the value of the source. When consumers feel at any point that the influencer is being biased or untruthful, then the credibility of the influence, product and brand decreases (Lee & Koo, 2012). (ASA, 2015) stated any paid sponsored posts should be considered a form of online advertisement ran by brand marketers rather than just a consumer review of personal usage experiences by online users. Paid sponsored posts must be disclose to the viewers within the content of the post. Firstly, it is illegal if this is not done accordingly (ASA, 2015) and also consumers will feel deceived if they catch on that it is a sponsored post. In doing this will however have a major influence in consumer beliefs about the credibility of content (Lee & Koo, 2012). According to —— consumers has the tendency to incline to respond either in a favourable or unfavourable manner to a specific promotion in a content review post. However, if consumers’ views specific sponsored content post in a particular time frame and accept that the influencer claims are true, then their standpoint towards the credibility of the content post will be positive.
Social media &
Social Media Influencer
Social Media Tools