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Why You Shouldn’t Overlook Peer Influence

Why You Shouldn’t Overlook Peer Influence

Influencer marketing is more popular than ever thanks to the rise of social media. When you’re a brand trying to sell your product, don’t overlook the power of peer influence. With influencer marketing, celebrities like Justin Bieber are able to effortlessly sell jeans just by wearing them in a picture and tagging the brand.

Authenticity Is Important

Peer influence extends to people who aren’t famous as well. In fact, celebrities are in fewer ads than ever before. One reason for this might be that only 12% of people who saw the ads related to celebrities. They may think the celebrity looks good in a certain brand, but don’t think they can afford it or know the person is only wearing it because they got paid. This is where celebrities have a disadvantage with peer influence.

You may respect a certain runner in your group who always finishes in the top 10 in races. When she posts a picture of the new sneakers she got, you’re likely going to be tempted to get a pair too. That’s the power of peer influence, and it’s almost too easy to sell products in current times. An estimated 45% of people value authenticity compared to beautiful content. If people think they relate to the person in the ad, they’re more likely to see the product as a solution that will help them personally.

Fills a Void

Peer influence is filling a void that small businesses should take advantage of. Peer influencers can help promote their services and products, especially to younger buyers. A study by Harris Interactive found that almost 70% of millennials who use social media have been influenced to buy a service or product because of a post they saw from their peer. While influencer marketing may seem costly upfront, it produces great returns when used correctly. The right influencers will have a reach greater than the company could get on its own.

More Actionable

Peer influence isn’t as in-your-face as celebrity marketing and stays with people because it’s more subtle. When people think of buying a similar product in the future, they’ll think back to their peer who was advertising the same thing. They’re more likely to go back and buy it from them as well as trust anything else they promote in the future.

Peer influence can be a positive experience, such as when your friends introduce you to Indian food, and you have a great meal. However, it can also be negative, such as if you decide not to go. That’s why peer influencers must be careful to appropriately and honestly list why they like this product and how it’s helped them.

As a brand, there are many reasons why you shouldn’t overlook peer influence. People are very impressionable and more likely to buy a product that a trusted peer promotes versus a celebrity they don’t know. This is an easy way for brands to sell their products and gain new fans they wouldn’t have had otherwise.


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by Brian Perry // Brian Perry is a contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.