In marketing there’s always a new trendy buzz word and “influencer marketing” & “micro influencer” is a popular one right now. Popular with good reason, as if done right, influencer marketing can have unparalleled sales, growth and equity results for brands and generate unmatched ROI for marketing budgets.
So can anyone these days can be an ‘influencer or a micro influencer’? It depends on the traffic you have and the communities you cultivate on your social networks. Even five year olds are influencers on YouTube for major toy companies; Dogs, Cats, mini horses and Hedgehogs, families filming their daily escapades, as well as individual Micro influencer Instagrammers with 1,000 to 100,000 followers follow suit and have become household names in various niches across the social landscape.
In this article by Rodney Gray he focuses on Influencer Marketing, what defines it, how it benefits us and the market, and how it’s here to stay.
What is influencer marketing?
Everywhere you look people are online looking at their phones and interacting with different social platforms.
If you haven’t noticed we are surrounded by influencer marketing on all four sides.
We inhale and exhale influencer marketing constantly every day and still many of us are not fully aware of what it really is.
While the world is modernizing and the people’s voice growing, we have broken through into a new era of digital marketing, a more natural type of marketing done through influencers.
Influencer content may be framed as testimonial advertising where they play the role of a potential buyer themselves, or they may be third parties.
It identifies the individuals that have influence over potential buyers and orients marketing activities around these influencers.
“Marketing with influencers is turning influencers into advocates of the firm.”
Before we go into any details about this type of marketing, one should clearly know what it is.
Influencer Marketing Explained
This kind of marketing focuses on an individual, rather than large groups of consumers to advertising the brand’s message.
The individual here is referred as the ‘influencer’ who is hired to get out the word for your brand.
In this game of influencer marketing, these influencers may be the potential buyers themselves.
They usually play the roles of content writers, journalists, bloggers, CEO’s, creative people, advertisers or advisers.
They are connected to other people around them and are looked to for advice and opinions and are regarded as influential.
Content marketing and social media marketing are regarded as the two major forms of influencer marketing.
How does influence marketing work?
Nowadays, users give more reaction to ratings on social media or opinions of a person rather than believing in advertisements.
This is made the basis of influencer marketing where an influencer will write about the products in their personal and social channels.
People tend to believe what the influencers have to say about something, over the media.
Many marketing companies don’t even have influence marketing on their radar as it such a unique method of the product. In many cases, it’s out of their control as more of an individual voice takes hold rather than the standard static corporate ad.
Digital ads are not given the same interactive and emotional response by the consumer.
The feedback and ratings on social media about a particular brand or product also adds greatly to the product or brand being showcased and is the new product placement platform.
Why is influencer marketing now bigger than digital advertising? & How did that happen?
Trust and honesty is a very important factor in marketing.
We all know which media we trust and distrust and in most cases just simply by the subject header.
Traditional media is scrambled with misinformation and the general consumer would rather interact with their products or services of interest on a social level.
Consumers do not buy goods or services unless they are completely assured that the product or service is perfect for their needs in every way.
It is believed that if you influence the mind, you have the world in your hands and that’s what influencers are doing.
Influencers have built up relations in order to gain trust to become, influencers. Much commitment and nurturing have gone into building those connections.
When it comes to building up relations and creating a positive message around a specific brand that is where influencer marketing has a higher standard compared to digital advertisements.
Let’s throw light upon, Influencer marketing as ‘THE NEXT BIG THING.’
As seen on: “Social Media”
As the world has shifted to social media, consumers look upon at fellow consumers to inform their purchasing decisions.
Instead of looking at companies, as they did in the past, they now look at each other and at their favorite personalities, who are consolidating massive followings on YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other platforms.
The rise of the social media influencer has created a world of possibilities;
It has opened up a flood of new waterworks for brands to connect with consumers directly and on a larger scale through more organic natural marketing method of influence like a new age word of mouth.
Provides a better description with an Interactive messaging platform. With each social media interaction or reaction, it promotes the possibility for hundreds of more people to view your message through the social connections in their network.
While digital ads are solely comprised of precise information about the goods, an influencer approach to the market has its own ways of attracting people with all the accurate description and information about the products and services in a more interactive, consumer arena, that has an organic life to the message.
Influencers are trusted to provide the updated details of the products or services they are dealing with and the message can also be slowly released over many days weeks or months.
It is considered the job of an influencer to gather up all the points about the marketing campaign and forward that message to the consumers.
To ensure this, the influencers are often paid for their job. If not paid, then they are provided with incentives by the company they are working for or in some cases sharing content with their readership for no other motive than to educate and to encourage interaction among the network.
Unlike digital ads most of the time influencers are “not selling anything” and are simply sharing information to create a more positive network of influence or to encourage participation and interaction on topics that can truly help. They might choose to follow up through other methods of communication like an email newsletter to promote products or services an advertising services.
When comparing social marketing to digital ads, I sort of side by side comparison, a static digital ad does not provide depth as they comprise of banners and poster type ads and do not have any opinion oriented objective.
The old and outdated information may soon turn away consumers.
People are more likely to trust other people than advertisements.
Influencer marketing has the concept of ‘word of mouth.’ This pretty much sums up how people get to trust the influencers. Where advertisements could be nothing more than made up stories or exaggerations in the sight of many consumers, people are likely to trust their fellow friends and society when they tell them about a certain product.
That’s when influencers form relations in order to promote the market;
The influencer campaigns help a lot in the process The earned trust helps the market to flourish, after all, marketing is based on gaining consumers trust so let’s have the consumers interact with the message.
Influencer Marketing is a Much Simpler Means of Marketing
Influencer marketing is a much easier and simpler way of marketing than the digital ad marketing.
Not only is the way of attracting people simpler but the way of actually putting it up does not require many efforts other than the creative element.
In this era where everything is made simpler by the internet, successful marketing has been made an achievable task by the social platforms and online facilities.
You write about it and post about it online and within minutes thousands of viewers are peeking into your blogs and journals.
The online facility helps to connect people worldwide.
Influencer Marketing Helps The Market Grow Faster
Apart from being a simpler way of marketing, influencer marketing helps to boost up markets at a great rate.
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.
– Albert Einstein
The influencer way of marketing has an advantage of doing wonders online which helps to connect influencers with people from all over the world.
Any queries about a product are immediately facilitated and generally much more appreciated than an email, support ticket response or any other type Q&A delivery.
May it be social media or content driven market, people get the answers to many of their questions about a product immediately in influencer marketing and much more view the comment responses making the viewership quite extraordinary.
In the case of social media marketing where the advertisement is placed on all the frequently used social sites, people get to know about other opinions about products, which greatly helps them sum up any purchasing decisions.
Apart from this, they are also connected to other people on the social media (which in this case acts like influencers) who tells them about many goods and hence solves many queries.
In the case of the content driven market, influencers are already there to respond to any queries of the consumers. This way any doubts about a product are removed.
Influencer Marketing – It’s powerful. Yet simple.
Influencer markets are powerful in their own manner. The content shared by influencers is powerful and authentic. They have the ability to gain people’s trust and reliance, all that is needed.
Thoughts and opinions are shared through influencer markets and better relations are created even with consumers that live miles away.
“The marketing roots with any social platform are quite strong and are not easy to cut down.”
The writings can do wonders
All those bloggers, journalists, content writers, CEO’s out there portrays the market accurately through their writings which depend upon proofs, opinions, and ideas of many consumers.
These pieces of writings are much more convincing than the digital ads that consist of a couple of pictures and slogans. The writings talk about the feedbacks and opinions of other people and influencers which is a quality that digital ads market surely lags. We just might have seen the peak of the market for digital advertising and ads.
The advantage of videos with Influencer Marketing
Digital ads that usually consists of banners and posters have become very less influencing when the social media is filled with videos about the products.
Living objects are automatically more attractive than still lives. Influencers have started making use of videos in their contents to influence the people which is turning out to be another plus point of the influencer marketing.
Celebrities as Influencers
Consumers are influenced greatly when their favorite celebrities post about a certain product.
This has become a growing area of influencer marketing that celebrities are used as influencers to attract people towards a specific product. Like television commercials, where celebrities are used as influencers, they are made influencers on social media nowadays where they post about how they have become the customers to a certain product.
This practice does not even require any convincing as many people will blindly believe in the quality of the thing when their favorite celebrity buys it.
No wonder, influencer marketing is taking over.
Online feedback and Influencer Marketing
When influencer market is on social media the feedbacks of the consumers becomes very important for marketing purposes. The market grows with positive feedbacks, and similarly, it shrinks when the feedbacks are not in the favor of the goods and services.
People today believe greatly in the ratings and online opinions of the consumers.
Influencer marketing is largely driven by this concept of online ratings and participation and thus is rapidly growing.
Influencer Marketing & Honest opinions
Consumers value opinions and ideas more than advertisements.
In the world of influencer marketing, the opinions of people act as influencers on the social sites and are just as important.
If not all then most of the feedbacks and opinions of people about a particular service or product are honest.
Finding honest opinions about a thing, a person, or a company is able to purchase the product.
In the case of digital ads marketing, there are hardly any opinions shared as the ad platform does not allow for such interaction.
Influencer Marketing is Time efficient
Influencer marketing is instant and is purely based on the established relationship between the influencer and their network.
The fact that influencer marketing is taking over digital Ads just might be happening now.
It has been estimated that in another few years influencer marketing will take over all the other marketing strategies and will become the biggest marketing practice by the year 2020.
9 Tips for Becoming a Social Media Influencer
By Meaghan Edelstein – Resource SocialMediaExaminer.com
Do you want people to come to you for social media advice?
Are you trying to become a social media influencer?
Publishing on social media is a great way to share expert knowledge and develop your influencer status.
In this article I’ll share nine tips that can help you become a social media influencer.
Discover nine tips for becoming a social media influencer.
#1: Find Your Focus
To become an influencer, master a specific topic within your niche. If you cast your net too wide, it will be difficult to gain the level of knowledge necessary to be considered an expert.
Either focus on one social media industry such as social media marketing or public relations, or on a single platform like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or Instagram.
For example, Sue B. Zimmerman (also known as #Instagal) found success in the social media space by focusing on Instagram. She is now the go-to person for those looking for advice on Instagram for business.
Master one topic to become a true expert.
Start small and learn as much as you can about your desired niche through research and experimentation. That way, you’ll be able to discover the ins and outs of your specialty and form your own ideas, as opposed to simply restating others’ opinions. This is a very important step on your way to influencer status.
#2: Subscribe to Platform Blogs
Social media is unique because it is in constant flux. Stay on top of the latest platform updates, such as algorithm changes, new analytics and added features, as they can drastically change a social channel and the way it’s navigated.
Whether you want to be viewed as the authority on a social channel or a broader industry, read platform blogs regularly: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram. There’s no better way to keep tabs on any social media channel.
#3: Read Relevant Blogs Daily
In addition to platform blogs, read other information outlets to gain valuable insights into your niche. Study news, expert opinions and case studies that are published or shared by people you trust.
Feedly makes subscribing to and reading multiple blogs easy.
By using a tool like Feedly to subscribe to a variety of relevant industry blogs, you will benefit from different viewpoints and helpful advice.
#4: Set Topic and Keyword Alerts
Reading press releases, news alerts and relevant posts is key to staying informed. When you know what’s happening, you can keep your followers in the know.
Since it is impossible to keep track of all of the information from platform blogs and your favorite outlets, invest time into creating alerts directly related to your focus. Two free tools that make it easy to stay on top of relevant news are Google Alerts and Social Mention.
Set up alerts to stay on top of the latest news and updates in your niche.
If you hope to be viewed as an influencer, you’ll need to demonstrate that you’re always aware of the latest news. Better yet, know what changes are coming even before they’ve been implemented and clue your readers in.
#5: Populate Your Blog
If you haven’t already done so, create a blog on a publishing platform such as WordPress. Then write blog posts and publish consistently. You should shoot to publish at least two to three times each week.
To stay on track, create an editorial calendar and stick to it.
In addition to your own content, partner with other influencers. Interview them, invite them to contribute to your blog or run a promotion together that gets shared on everyone’s sites.
#6: Publish on LinkedIn
In addition to your own blog, create long-form posts on LinkedIn’s publishing platform. Cut and paste your previously published blog posts and add a headline, image and keywords.
Remember, people generally assume LinkedIn posts are only from the most influential thought leaders. Now, when people in your network and beyond see your articles on LinkedIn, it is likely they will view you as an authority too.
Share your knowledge and get noticed by publishing on LinkedIn. Through its publishing platform, LinkedIn has created a prime opportunity for influencers to get noticed.
#7: Share Valuable Content
Once you’ve determined your focus and have implemented a system for keeping on top of the latest news and information within your niche, start sharing high-value influencer content with your audience via social media.
If you’re a platform-specific influencer, use that as your primary social network. Utilize the others as well to get even more visibility.
To be considered an influencer, people need to see you as a resource. Consider your audience and share content that they’ll find useful. Post original articles, plus posts from other trusted sources.
Keep your content organized for easy access so if someone asks a question, you can quickly grab content that provides an answer.
#8: Contribute to Other Sites
One of the quickest ways to gain influencer status is to contribute your unique content to other blogs and publications. Guest posting increases your visibility, bolsters your credibility and increases traffic to your own blog.
Writing for influential sites raises your influencer status. Image: Placeit.
Seek out the most appropriate social media websites and blogs, research submission guidelines and reach out.
After your content is published, let people in your network know. Tweet a link, share it on Facebook, tell your other online communities and add it to your LinkedIn profile publications. Also, keep an eye on your article’s comments, so you can respond to any questions or remarks (both positive and negative).
#9: Engage Online
To be an influencer, you need to be seen. Social media influencers regularly take part in relevant conversations across a variety of networks. Attend and participate in Twitter chats and webinars (and host Twitter chats too), answer questions on Quora and share ideas in LinkedIn groups.
Also, engage regularly across platforms. Don’t just tweet, post, comment, like and share. Add your comments and opinions.
Sharing your knowledge is how you’ll truly stand out as an influencer.
If your goal is to be an expert in the digital space and become known as an influencer, there are plenty of things you can do to raise your profile. Develop your expertise and use social media to raise yourself to influencer status.
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