Updated: Apr 6
WHO IS AN INFLUENCER?
Cambridge Dictionary defines an influencer as 'someone who affects or changes how other people behave'. Thus, anyone with a large following and distinct niche of an active audience is an influencer. They use their authority, knowledge, and skills to impact the purchasing decisions, behaviour, perspectives, opinions, and values of others. Today, influencers can be beneficial to brands as tools or marketing and social relationship assets that increase your visibility, credibility, and position in the market.
Through this article, we tell you all you need to know about influencers, their evolution into essential assets in the modern day, and how business enterprises can engage with them to add more value to their organisation.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF INFLUENCERS
Influencer culture has existed from way before the era of social media and millions of followers characterising them. Certain people routinely talked about a plethora of topics that impact behaviour, personality, and day-to-day activities to an audience who actively implemented these in their lives. Such thinkers, philosophers, and leaders, by definition, become influencers and have played a significant role in the creation of the modern society that exists today. To the extent that even today, Jesus Christ is still listed by ranker.com as the most influential person of all time. Take another instance of Ancient Rome when gladiators- armed combatants who entertained audiences- also endorsed products. However, it is only as late as 2019 did the term 'influencer' officially make it to the English dictionary.
EVOLUTION OF INFLUENCERS IN ADVERTISING
The first few advertising influencers were made to be animated and fictional characters. These characters were made in such a manner that the audience connected to them emotionally. When television sets and the use of the internet were scarce, these fictional characters also gave a face to the brand they were associated with, making it much easier for people to recognise the company, even through the radio. Santa Claus for Coca Cola went on to become the most successful figure in this era.
The transition from animated characters to celebrity endorsements was a shift in advertising seen in the 1950s. With the development of technology, brands and products slowly started to increase as well. The overall standard of living and people's ability to consume grew, creating a large and competitive market. Brands effectively created advertising strategies that were comprehensive and dynamic with changing times- on the one hand; they continued advertising their products through celebrity endorsements to take the company globally. On the other hand, brands also made campaign-specific partnerships with influencers with a specific niche of followers and relevance to the product.
THE MODERN-DAY INFLUENCER
On average, a normal person spends around 2 hours per day on social media, in which they consume content of different types. Gaining traction for this rapid increase of active members on social media platforms, influencers have carved out a significant position for themselves. Social media has revolutionised the relationships between a brand, an influencer and the audience at large. Today, influencers may be content creators who have successfully gathered a following because their content adds value to other people's life; it may be entertaining, informative, or just aesthetic. This accessibility to influencers and their ideas by a large group of followers is exceptionally beneficial to brands since commercially viable partnerships can be drawn out of it. These partnerships- when authentic and relevant- must form an essential part of your media strategy.
THE RISE OF THE MICRO-INFLUENCER
Micro-influencers can be defined as people who have a small but highly engaged following. They may be bloggers, local businesses, art pages, yoga instructors, thrift stores, or anyone. A defining characteristic feature of a micro-influencer is consistency since they have successfully managed to convey a message that resonates with a small yet highly active group of followers.
Partnering with micro-influencers is one of the best ways for small businesses to promote their brand. They usually do not charge high advertising fees since they also look for sustainable brands that their audience would love. Both are mutually benefited with increased credibility and authenticity. Their followers trust such micro-influencers, so when they promote your brand, you can rest assured of a lot of sales coming your way.
Market research is fundamental when choosing to inculcate influencers in your advertising strategy. Here are a few things that you can consider:
· Understand your target audience, their preferences, and the kind of content they consume
· Use and follow relevant hashtags
· Regularly update yourself with whom your competitor engages with
· Explore the different tools of social media platforms to know what and who is trending
· Use influencer marketing tools such as Klear, Followerwonk, Buzz Sumo, Right Relevance and Hype Audit
Once you have identified an influencer who potentially will become a key player in your marketing strategy, you must seek to build a valuable connection with them.
· Engage with them directly through different social media platforms to get yourself recognised
· Highlight the similarities and relevance between their audience and yours
· Through a proper channel of communication, send them sample products, and additional information about your brand
· Offer them something in return that would benefit their reach
· Participate in online competitions and giveaways in collaboration with them.
Phoenix Marketing Agency is an expert digital media company in building the most efficient strategy for your brand that guarantees an increase in sales. To know more, visit our website https://www.phoenixmarketing.uk.