What are Influencers and how do they help your business?

A Social Media Influencer

A social media influencer is someone who has an established authority on one or more social media channels and has a substantial number of followers. Influencers might be famous people or small bloggers specializing in a specific topic, but what makes them special is their capability to reach and persuade consumers via blogs and social networks in a way that your company is simply unable to. If an influencer is also a huge fan of the services or products you offer (and not only because you pay him for advertising), he can also be referred to as a brand advocate.

Using an influencer to promote the products of a company is called influencer marketing. This type of marketing focuses on one or more specific individuals rather than the entire market. Influencer marketing consists of identifying the individuals that have a certain level of influence over a specific audience, and creating different marketing activities based on that.

Social Media Influencer Marketing

One of the most common marketing strategies that a lot of larger brands are using is promoting their products with the image of famous artists or athletes. This solution might, however, be really expensive for a lot of companies. Thanks to the growth of influencer marketing, though, and the fact that in the social media world a regular person can have a huge influence over specific audience, it's now easier than ever for a company with limited budgets to reach the right consumers and promote their product with the influencers help.

Before buying a product on the internet, people tend to look for recommendations on different blogs or websites. Consumers trust recommendations made from a third party more than the brand itself. Consumers research a brand on their own and hear recommendations about it from someone they trust, typically an influencer in that market. This is one of the main reasons why brands have decided to use an influencer to promote certain product or services. The influencer acts as a bridge connecting the brand with his or her followers.

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Identifying Social Influencers in the Market

Identifying social influencers can be difficult, as the number of followers doesn't always correlate with its influence. To get a good idea of who a true influencer in your niche is, you need to look at different attributes of influencers, including:

  • The engagement with their audience
  • The strength of their presence on specific social channels
  • The number of followers and their followers engagement
  • The trust their audience have in them
  • The authority they have in their niche
  • Whether the influencer is an educator and how charismatic he or she is
  • How connected with the followers the influencer is

Influencer marketing is quickly becoming one of the best ways to attract new prospects. Influencers are able to drive traffic by ‘selling’ a product through their recommendations, and also by creating unique content for brands, their products and services. When influencers publish content on their social channels, it has a stronger impact on their followers than when you publish an advertisement. According to an audience, an influencer is usually more trustworthy and credible than a brand itself.

Choosing the Right Influencers for Your Brand

Choosing the right social media influencer for your brand or product is not easy and requires a lot of research, especially if you want to reach a highly targeted audience.

Influencers are listened to and affect only specific segments of certain audiences. For example, a fashion influencer will effectively promote a makeup product but will fail at influencing their audience by giving a review on a high-tech product, because such product has no relation with the influencers activity and their audience is not interested in this particular topic.

When choosing an influencer, you should take into consideration:

  • Context of the product or brand
  • Alignment of values with the brand.
  • Reach of the influencer’s posts
  • Relevance of the content that is shared by the influencer
  • Expertise of the influencer on certain topics
  • Level of activity of the influencer

Additionally, companies need to define what they want to achieve and what they can expect from the influencer. They should identify the topics of influence that communicate with their target clients. Some of the questions that companies should ask are:

  • What personality type should the influencer have?
  • What niche market do I want to reach?
  • What type of channel is best for me: a blog article, a Tweet or an Instagram photo?

Finally, one of the keys to success in influencer marketing is creating a mutually beneficial relationship. This may take time for a lot of companies, but the results would be better over time. If an influencer gets involved with the brand or product, the future influencer’s publications would be more natural and therefore more engaging.

Please note, that giving free products in return for backlinks can now result in you receiving a Google Penalty. It is advisable to gain influencers in an organic way. Make sure to read Google's guidelines for bloggers before starting an influencer marketing campaign.