Social media influencers are people who are able to reach a wide audience through their social media platforms. This connection can help their followers make decisions, facilitate brand recognition, and market different products.
This kind of influencing uses the power of personality or celebrity to sell a product or service. Companies and brands looking to expand their business can cash in on the aura and the strength of the personality to draw a specific group of people and an attentive audience to take its brand forward.
While most influencers are big names, an influencer need not necessarily be a big name. In return for the use of their ambit of control, influencers are showered with gifts and freebies and are also paid for their efforts. They may receive sponsorships for their events as well.
What is crucial is harmony between the influencer and the brand they’re associated with. For instance, it makes sense for an athlete to be associated with a sporting brand or a health drink but not necessarily for financial services. So when everything goes together–the brand, the image it wants to create for itself, the personality, and their own style and way of doing things, you can have a perfect marketing campaign.
What a Good Social Media Influencer is Made Of
Social media influencers don’t always limit themselves to just one site. They have their blog, a Twitter handle, a Facebook page, a content-rich Instagram presence, and a channel on YouTube, to name just a few. Thus, the marketing message is picked up by different audiences on different platforms. This way of marketing is so effective these days that companies actually have a separate budget for just social media influencing.
Like mentioned earlier, social media influencers can be anyone—celebrities are the most common types and are often approached for endorsements and shout-outs. But an influencer could also be an industry expert-someone with a loyal following that knows that they’re listening to a person of authority.
For example, bloggers who’ve been around for a while and made an impact with their commentaries and ideas also count as influencers. There are also beauty bloggers who are very popular and whose how-to videos have a big impact. The products they use or speak about are often bought en masse by their legion of followers. YouTube users are also very popular for their offbeat news, music covers, and informative videos.
A social media influencer works by creating personalized content. This content is rich, engaging, and timely. It could be in the form of words, videos or pictures, songs or mixed media. Influencers decide what the method should be, depending on where they best thrive. The influencer may be directed by the company to offer coupons, gifts, and as well as freebies to their followers.
Their audience is involved because they’re the ones sharing information, posting a review, commenting or clicking on a link. Sometimes, it can also be a sign-up to a service. The customer feels a sense of involvement and is a party to the growth of the brand.
Social media influencers need to be on their A-game and should always look for innovative ways to harness technology to reach a wider audience. In doing so, they act as catalysts that cause movement- towards brand awareness and purchase.
Social Media Influencing—The New Marketing Strategy
Marketing campaigns require a seamless blending of message and action for it to be effective. Most web ads should have links so that anyone interested in it can click on it and get the offer.
This can also be applied to social media influencing since it allows for proper tracking. When an influencer tweets, sends messages, blogs or posts, or published a unique coupon code, analytical tools on the site feed vital data to a marketing team. This is crucial to make any changes as required.
Today, marketing doesn’t work if issues and concerns aren’t handled at once. Watching an influencer and a user exchange comments or have a conversation is an opportunity for the marketer to learn about what the brand or product is lacking. Often, these interactions lead to unexpected discoveries—such as a creative idea or an issue that hasn’t been apparent before.
Influencers are typically among the first people to try a product and create a trend. Marketers would do well to pay attention to their actions to see if there are any opportunities to take advantage of. If an influencer is talking, tweeting or posting about something, chances are, it could take off in the near future.
What’s more, influencers are also among the first people to embrace technology, especially on a social media site. For instance, with geofilters and check-ins, they can send out location-specific information about events and launches to their audience. With Facebook Live, they can send out information on a real-time basis to people who follow them.
YouTube has channels that influencers can create an account and publish videos regularly. You can find anything and everything under the sun there. Whether you’re looking for a review of the latest gadgets, a makeup lesson or an analysis of a recently released music album, you’ll surely find it there.
So once the product is out there, the influencer is one of the main driving forces behind its success. Word of mouth and peer recommendations are at the heart of social media influencing and this is something that cannot be easily replicated by other types of marketing strategies.
What Influencers Can Do For You
Influencers are powerful individuals and this means they are often a one-man team in many ways. This means they save on marketing budgets, manpower, and resources. Getting to the right contact in the world of social influencers makes not only marketing sense but can be useful for the company if they want to direct their resources and efforts elsewhere.
Social media influencing can start off from one channel and then be replicated across different platforms. A post on Facebook can be linked to a blog, can be shared on Twitter, and then retweeted and re-shared. This is personal, specific content that can work almost anywhere, that can be replicated by not just the influencer but by the user as well.
Social media influencing is cooperative, giving the user a feeling of being vested in the brand and involved in the company’s growth. It’s also engaging and effective—no wonder then that so many brands are harnessing the power of this people-led action plan.
Dominant Platforms in Social Media Influencing
From a small, on-campus startup less than a decade ago to being the giant social media hub it is today, Facebook has come a long way. While social media changes almost constantly, Facebook has managed to retain its position right at the top with clever new innovations to help the influencer.
Apart from pushing the “Like” button among other things, Facebook also has added Facebook Live which lets users stream live video of events. It’s a useful tool for events, launches, and campaigns. Research proves that far more people tune into live event videos than they do a taped session. Facebook also uses Messenger to help spread influence.
A Facebook acquisition, WhatsApp harnesses the need people have for instant communication. In fact, over 61% of young people feel a greater sense of loyalty to companies that use text messages to spread the word than other companies who use different methods!
It’s believed that by next year, close to 2 billion people will be using text messaging apps. Influencing works because it has that kind of personal touch. It also facilitates a clearer message and there’s a sense of involvement in the interaction between users and influencers.
Social messaging is also handy because, with just a simple click on the link, you can direct a reader wherever you want to. This kind of influencing results in sales as well. From its temporary status update to its ability to attach media, WhatsApp is a leader in social messaging and is used far and wide.
An old-timer in the world of social media, YouTube works on delivering video footage. Influencers place advertisements before or after videos or show video content itself to drive home the point. YouTube is also user-friendly and is filled with channels where influencers talk about their experiences with products and brands. YouTube channels have a cult following and are a vital asset for influencers.
When it comes to photo sharing, nothing can beat Instagram. If your content is photo-rich then this social media platform built on photo sharing is the best fit for you. Food and fashion, music and travel, personalities, luxury brands—there’s something here for every kind of influencer.
Photos also lend themselves to easy sharing. If an influencer can create rich, beautiful pictures, he or she stands to make a huge impact. The hashtag has a great significance in terms marketing different kinds of products as well.
Twitter is the by-word on crisp, concise communication. Even with the enhanced word limit, Twitter is still the place for instant communication. Re-shares and retweets are a good indication of the influencer’s extent of control.
Twitter abounds with passionate mini worlds, united by their love for a common pastime—be it sports, television or politics. An influencer can post as many times in the day as he or she needs and in the process start conversations as well as link brands and people in order to bring more customers into the fold.
Meant for the serious businessmen and job seekers, LinkedIn is a social media site with a difference. Influencers can write material on trends and jobs and put companies in touch with talent.
Other social media sites include Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+, Foursquare, Snapchat, Yelp and a lot more.