SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCERS: WHAT BUSINESSES NEED TO KNOW
Social media influencers are becoming an increasingly hard-to-ignore aspect of social media.
Here’s how it works: When consumers see or hear from someone we admire, respect, or emulate interacting with a brand, it affects them. Or in other words, these people have an influence on what consumers want and what we buy. This influence is important for businesses to capitalize on because social media influencers drive sales.
Just like celebrity endorsements, using a social media influencer is a double-edged sword. If we see someone we dislike, distrust, or find fault with interacting with a brand, it affects us in a negative way.
What is a Social Media Influencer and How Do They Work?
Today, a social media influencer is a social media account for an individual person, a group, or even a place, and brands pay that account to have their products or services featured in the account’s social media content.
Product placements can be subtle and lifestyle-focused, giveaway-centric, or more of a straightforward ad. Oftentimes, influencers make content — known as “branded content” — that introduces their audience to a product that is worthy of their time and makes their lives easier.
Influencers might create a video review on YouTube, a quick tweet, an Instagram story, or some other type of social content to promote your product or service.
2 Aspects of an Effective Social Media Influencer
- Influencer’s Organic Reach on Social MediaSocial media influencers communicate within a niche, and because people in that niche have chosen to follow them and want to see their content, effective influencers can reach the right audiences organically.People are so used to seeing “sponsored” content. They’re so used to it that they can spot it a mile away.They’re so good at filtering out and ignoring sponsored content, it can be hard to get their attention. But influencers break through because they mix real, authentic social media content with branded messaging.Photographer Chris Burkard’s Instagram account is a good example of a social media influencer who has millions of followers and reaches hundreds of thousands of people organically with his posts. His huge reach combined with his photography skills has allowed him to partner with many brands, including Honda Motor Company.
- Audience’s Willingness to Participate in an Influencer RelationshipInfluencer content is not only more approachable than sponsored posts, it’s also more consensual.Unlike traditional advertising which is rarely requested, people choose to follow influencers and see their content. And like all forms of communication, this is more effective because both parties are receptive.Diving deeper into what drives people to follow influencers would require another blog — and maybe a book or two — but the high-level summary is this: We are socially driven. We look to those around us for clues on what to do.
Who Are Influencers?
So who is an influencer? You may think of influencers as beautiful, young, men and women who seem to live in a paradise, or maybe superstars from TV or film.
These mega-influencers who may come to mind are influential on a national and even international scale; however, influencers don’t have to be international sensations. In fact, often it’s better if they aren’t.
The best influencer for a business isn’t always the one with the biggest audience or follower count. For local businesses especially, the most important influencers are the 50-75 people in the area who are vocal and seen as experts.
More and more micro and nano-influencers are discovering how to leverage their followings, making influencer marketing more accessible to local businesses.
Below are the generally-accepted tiers of social media influencers:
|Nano Influencers||1,000 – 10,000 followers|
|Micro Influencers||10,000 – 50,000 followers|
|Mid-Tier Influencers||50,000 – 500,000 followers|
|Macro Influencers||500,000 – 1,000,000 followers|
|Mega Influencers||+1,000,000 followers|
Here are some examples from teach influencer tier.
NANO — ALEXIS BAKER, 3,200 FOLLOWERS
Alexis Baker uses her Instagram feed to show her followers what’s going on in her life, and she naturally and seamlessly inserts products into her posts.
MICRO — KAMI PRICE, 57K FOLLOWERS
Kami Price partners with mental and physical health brands that help her live a heathly lifestyle.
MID-TIER — JESSE DRIFTWOOD, 137K FOLLOWERS
Jesse Driftwood leveraged his Instagram following to partner with Volvo, helping the automaker advance its family-focused image.
MACRO — THE REPORT OF THE WEEK, 1.2M SUBSCRIBERS
In this vlog, John Jurasek reports on the latest and greatest menu items from fast food restaurants.
MEGA — KIM KARDASHIAN WEST, 134M FOLLOWERS
Kim Kardashian West is one of the most effective (and highly paid) influencers on social media. Just a single post can cost a brand more than $250K.
When talking about influencer marketing, the key is trust.
Effective influencers bring trust to they able, allowing brands to leverage the relationship they’ve built with their audience to sell more stuff.
Like other digital marketing and traditional advertising methods, influencer marketing on social media is just another avenue for businesses to consider when promoting their products, but the influencer’s ability to speak honestly and directly to his/her audience makes influencer marketing hard to ignore for businesses looking to drive sales through social media.