The Majority Illusion: What Makes Influencers so Powerful!

Most people jump into influencer marketing because they know influencers make audiences act. However, not many actually consider how and why these influencers are so powerful in the first place.

Identifying the right influencers and forming the right strategy can help you to achieve impressive results. But why are these campaigns so impactful in the first place?

In order to optimise your influencer marketing strategy, it’s helpful if you understand WHY influencer marketing is so powerful in the first place. And to do this, we need to turn to psychology and the science of influencer marketing. In this post, we focus on a psychological theory known as the majority illusion, which helps us to explain why influencers are so powerful.


the majority illusion (Crowd)+


Leverage Psychology in Influencer Marketing

A deep understanding of psychology is a powerful weapon in marketing because it helps you to get inside the minds of consumers. This, in turn, allows brands to optimise their marketing budget.

Brands can leverage psychology in many aspects of influencer marketing. For example, it can even help you to create more effective influencer video content! But today, we’re looking at the theory that seems to explain how and why influencer marketing works so well. This is called the majority illusion.


The Majority Illusion in Influencer Marketing

A team of researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) came up with the majority illusion concept.

The majority illusion concept essentially explains the influencer marketing phenomenon. It explains why certain social media users have influence over their followers.

Understanding this idea of the majority illusion can be truly beneficial for brands and marketers. So, let’s take a closer look at this concept of the majority illusion…


How the Majority Illusion Works

The majority illusion is a social media phenomenon which suggests that people tend to unconsciously agree with a message if they think the majority of people also agree with it. It’s a form of conformity whereby the leaders in a particular community or niche act as a spokesperson on behalf of a group of people. Those people often bear trust in that spokesperson and assume that they have the most well-informed and most-popular opinion. By using influencers you can create the sense that your product is a lot more popular than it may be.

Take, for example, a community of 50 parents. They share the same lifestyle, the same interests and interact together in a weekly event.

That’s how communities generally work – in reality, and on social media. But this is where the majority illusion phenomenon starts to come in.

Of the 50 parents, only 3 people use a particular brand’s travel equipment – nowhere near the majority. However, these 3 people are more active and vocal in the parenting community. They also attend more events than the other parents and have the biggest voices. This is where the majority illusion phenomenon starts to take shape…

If these 3 popular parents in the community were to positively endorse that particular travel equipment, it would give the illusion in that community that it is the general feeling among all users of the travel equipment (even outside that community). This might not be the case at all, however, the majority illusion can alter these perceptions tremendously.

The majority illusion phenomenon can sway individuals into believing that a certain product or brand is popular.



The Majority Illusion in Influencer Marketing

On the surface, this psychological concept is pretty clear and can be easily applied to social media, especially when referring to Chromo-Influencers.

It demonstrates that brands need to get these ambassadors on board – people who are more active and vocal, and who can reach a large number of people in their demographic and culture. These Chromo-Influencers help to create the majority illusion effect on social media – giving the illusion that the majority of consumers are fans of what you have to offer.

And that’s how they can boost your brand’s reputation and make it appear a lot more popular in the eyes of the people you are reaching.

It’s a simple concept, but it makes perfect sense – and it helps us to understand exactly what makes Chromo-Influencers so effective.


What’s Next?

As you can see, whether you’re working with the biggest social stars or the smallest micro-influencers in your industry, the majority illusion still takes place. And this explains why influencer marketing really works for brands in the 21st century. It allows brands to reach all kinds of consumers in different ways, in order to achieve a range of goals.

There are plenty of psychological theories that you can learn more about and techniques that you can apply to your influencer marketing initiatives. Read about more here.

But it’s not enough to simply understand the psychology behind the marketing. You have to implement any insights you find into your campaigns. 


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