Influencer marketing is one of the trendiest buzzwords in digital and Social Marketing. But what exactly is it?

It is simply an evolution of direct marketing. The key idea is to deliver a marketing objective through influential individuals in a community. This may be an overt message such as an influencer openly stating, “Brand X has a new cool product, try it out”.  Or a more covert approach such as gifting products to an influencer, so community members think “this product is cool because person Y uses it”.

 

The level of trust an influencer has built within their community is a key ingredient to the success of influencer driven campaigns. We are more likely to trust a brand that has been directly or indirectly endorsed by people we respect or consider part of our community. It's our basic human nature. In fact, research shows that up to 90% of purchase decisions come from recommendations by friends, family & other influential voices.

Influencers can be grouped into 3 tiers or bubbles, each with their own pros and cons. 

 

 

Mainstream – Celebrities, Musicians & Athletes

Historically, celebrities have been the most popular choice for marketing campaigns that needed a seal of authority. From Will I Am working with Apple to simple celebrity red carpet appearances in designer outfits, influencer marketing is at work.  

 

Pros: They have a wide audience and mass appeal. They often have near instant recognition across multiple demographic audiences.

 

Cons: They are often saturated with multiple endorsement deals. They may come across as inauthentic promoters of products.

 

 

The Creators - Social Media Personalities and Content Creators

These are the new wave of people taking the internet by storm some of them have even usurped the position of the traditional celebrities. Well known examples are Dude Perfect,  MKHD, King Bach, Lindsey Stirling and iiSuperwomanii.

 

Pros: They have very deep understanding of what makes their audience tick. They  would even help you to create content that aligns better with your audience.

 

Cons: The less experienced ones may not be used to the structure a marketing campaign might require. They often have their own agendas (which is not necessarily a bad thing)

 

 

The Trendsetters - (Street Level Alpha Personalities)

These are the “cool kids” of a group. They are the  creators of trends or the first to adopt new ones. They are the tastemakers who determine the next hot thing and their actions hold sway amongst their community.

 

 

Pros: These people are far more believable and can help to create grass roots movements both offline and online. They also give valuable insight into what real people are saying about your product and the brand.

 

Cons: They are often difficult to identify and effectively manage. They are far less likely to promote things they don’t believe in. Their impact does not travel as wide meaning a large number of them is required for large campaigns. 

 

 

Whichever influencer(s) you pick to work with, remember that the experience you give them should be really special. Be transparent about your brand and goals, immerse them in exclusive brand activities and make them truly feel like a part of your vision. It will go along way to making your campaign succesful.

 

In Part 2, we’ll look how to plan some simple influencer marketing campaigns. We’ll also look at a few tips for working with influencers.

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