influencer marketing 1 - What is a social media influencer?

What is a social media influencer?

Apparently a whopping forty-percent of the world’s population are now on at least one social media platform. That’s over three billion people. If you’ve got something to say, or even more relevant, something to sell, that’s a really big marketplace to promote your wares.

One of the key ways this huge tool is being utilised now is using the one thing social media is designed to do — be social. All the platforms from Tumblr to YouTube are designed to create interactions, relationships, and through careful manipulation and development of those it’s a perfect opportunity to sneak your business through the back door or shout about it from the rooftops depending on where your brand stands in the public eye.

The people that are creating these openings by earning your trust in their opinions, actions and advice and are utilising the social media platforms to do so are what we call social media influencers.

Every time we follow, share, or like a post we’re spreading their news for them, and that’s how their market can spread over the world in a matter of minutes. Influencers want you to send their message virally for them. It’s how they make their money after all.

Why do we trust them?

Well, we are led to believe that they are experts in their field, and they often are, but not always. There are an abundance of celebrities working to a script and the end result is the same for the good of the brand, and the bigger the star the bigger the audience they already have access to.

Or if someone continually blogs about their topic expertise then we’re given one-to-one access to just how knowledgeable they are and with an opportunity to subscribe to any and all of their accounts, to be kept up to date on anything and everything about their subject, we’re buying into what they’re selling.

They know their subject

Take your own life for example; what do you care about and what are your interests? To keep up to date with news and current affairs we follow or subscribe to the newspapers where everything they put under our noses, despite how often we’re told not to believe everything we read in the press, we still pretty much do.

We buy into the fact that they’ve done the research, they understand their topic, and they’re sharing that with us because they want to. The real truth is that they’re sharing it because it’s a multi-million pound industry. But, there it is, every day when you log on to Facebook, Twitter or any of the other myriad platforms, you can be kept up to date on what’s going on; and if you were to drop by their website or buy their newspaper you’ll be bombarded with the advertising that makes them their money.

If you work in finance you’ll follow the movers and shakers in the banking world. They’re going to be a step ahead of the rest of the competition so you’ll look to them for advice. If they recommend an app, a book, a good investment or valuable opportunity you’re going to take their word for it and give it your valued consideration.

These influencers are our experts. Leaders in their fields.

These are fairly simple examples but they make the point well. We trust them because we believe them. That’s how they achieve their power of influence.

We want to be them

We love and loathe them at the same time but celebrities have a selling power second to none.

If Angelina, Julia, Brad or Gerard smell of a certain scent then of course we want to too. Even if it is fifty-pounds a bottle. The brands and businesses that buy into their already huge followings understand just how much return they can make from an investment into a celebrity’s influence. It’s a ready-made market just waiting to be milked.

Ideally, the big brands want to create a relationship with someone who fits their brand profile, who is relevant to the product by age, culture and style, and if it all fits then it’s big business for the brand, the celebrity, and all their adoring fans, or as they should be called, ‘customers’.

For example, lets say a local celeb had a pool installed by https://willshapools.com/ ideally you would want the celeb to share pics on the new pool on their social channels, allowing your brand to reach a whole new audience that you can potentially sell too!

There are flaws in the celebrity process; what happens if the chosen star falls from grace? It’s got to have a good spin to work it to the brand’s advantage but in a world where we can agree that dumping a fallen star is the ethical thing to do we buy further into that brand’s attitude. It’s almost like they can’t fail…

 

We’re just like them already

Basic psychology says we’re attracted to others ‘like for like’. That means that we’re drawn to those with similar belief systems, backgrounds, values and style. So if we see someone on YouTube or Vimeo that we identify with and they’re talking knowledgably about something that interests us then they garner our trust and too an influence into our buying decisions.

The Internet has created a plethora of these miniature stars with massive followings, or micro-influencers as they are known to the marketing masses, and there’s a really strong opinion that we will buy into their opinions with more and more respect as time goes on.

Because they are smaller entities than the Hollywood jet-set they are more likely to preach what we think they really believe in, as opposed to the A-list celebrity with his or her multi-million dollar deals. The micro-influencers are going to become the biggest marketing movers and shakers of the future because already the under 20s spend way more of their time on the Internet and social media than they do watching mainstream television or other more standard marketing channels.

The Millennials may well be the hot players in society right now but the pathways are set for Generation Z to take over, so this trend that’s making waves right now is only set to grow and grow.

Information superhighway

So whether we know we’re buying into it or not the social media influencers are turning our heads and turning a profit. Whether we’re sitting up and listening to the experts and leaders, the bloggers and content writers of our favourite websites pages, the micro-influencers or our celebrities, these are big ways to get into our homes and our heads, and for as long as they’re creating those very relationships that make us buy into their ideas, opinions and products, they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.


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