Once a buzzword that pointed almost exclusively toward celebrity endorsements, influencer marketing has graduated to an established form of online marketing that reaches beyond the realm of celebrity promoters.
So, what exactly is influencer marketing? Simply stated, it is a type of collaboration, where a business joins forces with an influential person to promote a product, service, or campaign.
More than two-thirds of North American retailers use some form of influencer marketing. Almost half of US and UK digital marketers spend at least 10% of their marketing communication budget on influencer marketing, notes Christina Newberry.
Yet, some folks remain in a haze when it comes to an understanding of influencer marketing. When they encounter the term, the pondering begins. So, first, let’s dig into the WHO. As in “WHO,” can be an influencer?
To be an effective influencer, a person should fit one of the following scenarios:
- Due to his/her relationship with the audience or his/her authority, position, and knowledge, this person potentially can affect purchasing decisions.
- Due to active engagement with enthusiasts in a distinct niche, this person is heard and listened to.
- A consistent social content creator with a dedicated, engaged group of followers across, often, multiple social media platforms.
When a business falls for the influencer mindset that considers only celebrities, they have saddled themselves with a considerable handicap. Why? Because unlike celebrities, influencers are anywhere and can be anyone with a sizeable online following. A knowledgeable blogger who engages followers across various platforms, a photographer or artist whose well-honed craft sparks a lot of attention, an executive known and respected in the business world.
Do you get it? It doesn’t have to be a film or sports star. Many influencers are ordinary folks who have made a name for themselves in a particular field. They have built a solid reputation for their expertise in a specific area and very possibly have garnered the title of go-to guy or gal. Almost without exception, they are pros at engagement. Because after all, isn’t that what drives the world of social media?
Sujan Patel defines influencer marketing as, “Leveraging the reach of an existing influencer who has built a large following and strong brand reputation in a particular niche to support your brand, endorse your product, or co-create content, with the intent to increase brand awareness and drive sales.”
And isn’t that the goal, in a nutshell, of every marketing strategy? To support and increase brand recognition and to drive sales.
Patel concludes, “If you’re looking for an ironclad way to seize the attention of your ideal audience, you should look no further than someone who already has their ear.”
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