What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is a bit of a buzz word these days, but what is influencer marketing? Influencer marketing is when a company or brand focuses on individuals that are able to sway their target market vs. the brand communicating directly with their target market. These influencers could be buyers and they can even be within their target market, but often times these influencers are simply people or companies that the target market listens to.
Influencer marketing is similar to the idea of word-of-mouth marketing. If you have a friend that you respect their opinion or think they are an expert in one particular area, you are likely to listen to and follow their advice. So, if a retail store, or a journalist, or an academic (you get the idea) recommends a brand, they offer that same type of word-of-mouth wisdom you are likely to listen to.
Social Influencer Marketing
As you can guess, social media is a key area where influencer marketing is effective. Social influencer marketing can be either organic in that people genuinely like a brand and are respected within their circle and others look to their fellow consumers to help make their decision. Now, with the influx of social celebrities on sites like YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. social influencer marketing is merging with existing marketing/PR strategies like product placements and endorsements. These social influencer placements/endorsements, however, tend to feel more organic to those being influenced, while hitting a larger, more targeted audience. Why do consumers prefer this type of marketing? The endorsement is more trusted by consumers because they are going to a source (a source they already admire or trust) for information vs. having a paid advertisement forced upon them.
There are a number of other types of influencers that a company can target. Regardless of the type of influencer, a successful influencer marketing program revolves around spreading the word about your product, typically in a digital way that can be measured. Some examples of non-social celebrity influencers are:
Product Owner Influencers
- Product influencers are people that actually own the product and incentivized in some way to discuss their experience with their product on social platforms or through a company branded site.
- Industry influencers are people that are related to the industry, but not necessarily the product. If a sommelier recommends a wine, for example, you are likely to take their recommendation. Now, think if they did this through their social media with hundreds of thousands of followers.
- Blogger influencers are similar to industry influencers in that they are likely related to the industry of the product that is being marketed, but not necessarily the brand. Bloggers tend to have a built-in audience already and are often given a product to try and review.
Influencer marketing platform
The influencer marketing platform is almost always a digital platform and often a social one. A brand may decide to target one social media platform only or branch out to multiple. Typically, the platform chosen is directly related to the influencer and where they hold the most influence. For example, if someone has a large following on Instagram, but not on Twitter, you are naturally going to focus on Instagram as your key influencer marketing platform. Remember, it is not about where you as a brand have the most followers, but where your influencer does.
Have you tried influencer marketing? If so, what worked or did not work for you? Haven’t tried influencer marketing, but think you may have been influenced? Let us know your experience.