Trust is a vital element in any relationship, whether personal or business. It is at the heart of your brand image and the basis of customer loyalty. In an era of sensationalism, truth seems to be an optional component of engaging content. When likes and shares seem to rule digital media, earning the trust and confidence of an audience can be challenging.
There is a difference between likes and shares. What you want is for your content to have momentum, to inspire an active response. Likes are passive, requiring little thought or effort, whereas shares indicate engagement and interest. Posts shared with a friend are more likely to be shared with that person's followers.
This active response is called borrowed influence. It can increase your brand's trust quotient in a compelling way. The reason is scientific: a recommendation from a trusted individual can convey the same positive feelings we have for the person to the product or brand they endorsed. There are different types of influencers:
Your customers - They are your most powerful advocates. When they endorse your brand by sharing your content and their experiences with their friends, family, and other consumers, they become your organic influencers.
Niche influencers - These are typically the most popular bloggers or vloggers on the web. They are self-made experts on various subjects, such as beauty, fashion, food, healthy living, lifestyle, and much more.
Celebrities - These are the original influencers. They can be an actor, author, industry leader, or a well-known and respected public radio host. Paul Harvey, a radio host of the extremely popular show The Rest of the Story from 1951 to 2008, was one of the original radio celebrity brand influencers. He made names such as Bose Radio, Select Comfort Beds, and Citrical, as well as many others, famous.
Borrowed influence in public media is known as the Halo Effect. It is an unconscious cognitive bias gained from other traits. Borrowed influence can significantly impact marketing and advertising on public media, particularly public radio. A beloved celebrity will garner significant interest and lend credibility to products or brands they promote due to the public having those same feelings for the endorser.
Other ways borrowed influence can help your marketing campaigns include:
Awareness - Influencers have an extensive following, whether on the radio or social media. Leveraging their impressive reach for awareness campaigns is one of the most dependable ways to increase your brand awareness.
Fast traction - Influencer marketing is quick and direct, making it a highly efficient way to spread your message.
Social proof - Social proof is another example of the Halo Effect. When your products, services, or brand name is associated with someone viewed as an authority in your industry, you garner the respect that most attribute to them.
Access to new channels - Niche demographics used to be very difficult to access. With niche media channels, you have a fast track to gaining the interest of their fans.
Exposure to new markets - Some of the most innovative and creative new products can be the most difficult to break into existing markets. Placing your brand message in a trusted media environment can not only legitimize your concept but ignite a groundswell of excitement around it.
Cost-effective reach - Impressions are one of the critical factors for effective marketing. Running campaigns across high-reach media channels provides significant exposure for your brand at a much lower rate per impression.
Influencers aren't a new concept. Social media has made the term ubiquitous, but some of the most widely followed early influencers were beloved radio hosts. Once television was introduced, politicians, actors, and other celebrities lent their influence and fame to commercials. Now, social media, video streaming, and podcasts have created new avenues for advertisers to leverage the massive followings of the hosts and artists.
Public media has something for everyone: television programming for parents, children, cooks, travelers, and home renovation enthusiasts. Public radio provides podcasts and programming that address numerous topics from music to parenting to social issues, politics, and world events. There are also the social media channels associated with the stations and hosts. The benefits of borrowed influence in marketing can be realized through the trust that public media sponsorship innately inspires.
Though social media influencers may expedite your reach much faster than other methods, it rarely is organic, happening through a chance mention or share that goes viral. Influence marketing relies on methodical, strategic practice, not blind luck. To achieve success on a large scale, you need the assistance of a public media partner.