Under the Influencers

First off, we hope everyone had a relaxing and restful holiday. Happy (slightly belated) New Year! Let’s hope good things are in store for 2019.

You hear a lot about influencers in social media. What is an influencer and how does this growing trend affect marketing strategies for business (big and small)?

What is a Social Media Influencer?

First, here’s the definition: A social media influencer is someone on social media who has established credibility in a specific industry. A social media influencer has access to a large audience and can persuade others by virtue of their authenticity and reach.

Influence marketing is nothing new. It’s been used since the early days of advertising. Companies realized the value of having celebrities endorse their products. They also created iconic figures to help with brand identity (think Santa for Coke or the Marlboro Man for cigarettes).

What’s new is the rise of the Internet and social media. Social media influencers can now be just as famous as traditional celebrities and sports figures.

These individuals make regular posts on social media and connect with their audience. They’ve built a reputation for their knowledge and expertise and forged relationships with their followers — a powerful marketing tool.

Types of Influencers

Influencer marketing is BIG business and likely to become a $5 to $10 billion industry by 2020. Instagram and YouTube are home to some of the biggest social media influencers. (Fun Fact: PewDiePie, a Swedish gamer and Internet personality is one of the most successful influencers, with more than 80 million YouTube subscribers and millions of followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.)

As with traditional advertising, beauty, fashion, travel and fitness are the big target markets.

The majority of influencers fit into the following categories:

  1. Celebrities
  2. Industry experts and thought leaders
  3. Bloggers and content creators
  4. Micro Influencers

Influencer marketing grew out of the traditional celebrity endorsement. These influencers, sports figures, actresses and actors and other well-known personalities, are used by large companies.

Industry leaders and thought leaders include journalists, academics, industry experts and professional advisors. These influencers are often quoted in blog posts or used in social media campaigns.

Micro Influencers: The Next Big Thing

Micro influencers are quickly becoming the most important category of influencers.  These are average everyday people who have become known for their knowledge about a specific niche and have attracted a sizable following.

As their number of followers grow, micro influencers are becoming more famous, — some at an astonishing rate — going from virtual obscurity to being nearly as well-known as traditional celebrities. The impact of these influencers is especially strong with younger consumers (known as Generation Z), who spend more time on the Internet than watching TV or going to the movies.

Making it Work for You

Small businesses can use some influencer techniques to help reach out to customers and build sales. Influencers follow these practices:

  1. Find your niche
  2. Be unique
  3. Choose the best platforms
  4. Plan ahead and be consistent

Every small business can use these methods. You can define your niche, give it a unique slant, post on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and upload videos to YouTube.

If you need help with internet marketing, Farmhouse Creative is always here to help.

Here’s to a great new year!