Just as the world has shifted to social media, consumers are now looking to fellow consumers and peers to inform them of what to buy and when. Essentially changing the balance of power between consumers and brands, peer voices now have a much more important role in purchasing decisions. Buyers now look to each other and their favourite media personalities who have built enormous followings across social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. Brands no longer have the same control they did in the past, with the voice of the consumer now the most important. What is influencer marketing? Influencer marking has been defined as; “Identifying the individuals that have influence over potential buyers, and orients marketing activities around these influencers.” This market influence typically stems from an individual’s expertise, popularity or reputation. Early on big brands would have looked to celebrities or popular bloggers to influence consumer decisions. Now, given the importance of peer recommendations, and largely helped by the ‘megaphone’ of social media, we’re seeing how ‘everyday’ or regular consumers are having just as great of an impact. The use of influencer marketing is still however relatively new, with many companies not fully realising its power. Here we’ve outlined three key reasons why your business should embrace influencer marketing. It’s powerful Word of mouth still proves to be the most effective way to make a sale. McKinsey & Company found that word of mouth is behind a staggering 20 to 50 per cent of all purchasing decisions. They also found that “marketing-induced consumer-to-consumer word of mouth” generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising. Along with higher retention rates and more authentic brand followers, influencer marketing gives brands an opportunity to leverage the word-of-mouth power with that of social media, creating a huge opportunity to sell more product or service. It has trust Despite the ever-expanding array of advertising platforms and strategies, consumers around the globe still place their highest levels of trust in other consumers. According a global Nielsen Internet survey, 78 per cent of respondents said they trusted – either completely or somewhat – the recommendation of other consumers. Edelmen’s Trust Barometer similarly found that 63 per cent of those surveyed trusted “a person like them”. When it came to the company however, 49 per cent would trust a brand’s employee and just 43 per cent would trust the brand’s CEO. Looking at these figures it’s obvious who needs to be telling your company’s story – the consumers. It’s social Social media has been the single largest factor in the growth of influencer marketing. In the past consumers would make purchasing decisions based on what they heard or saw from the brand. Now, consumers look to company’s social media pages and platforms to see how other consumers interact and rate the products and services. There is a opportunity here for brands to partner with the powerful bloggers or personalities in their space to influence the legions of fans and followers that listen to their every word. It’s no longer about what the company tells us, consumers want to learn and interact with a brand rather than just listen.