From the Influencers

What to Know About Influencer Marketing

February 23, 2017

For those who have been tempted to use influencer marketing recently, you're far from alone. Influencer marketing is a powerful new tool that's drawing a lot of interest and has people wondering if, perhaps, this is the big new marketing phenomenon. There's a good reason to wonder this, but before plunging in, let's take a look at some of the basics of the social media influencer concept.

Start first with a simple definition: an influencer is, in a fashion Webster would approve of, one who has or exerts influence over a particular market. This can be anything from an industry expert who writes a blog to a particularly effusive YouTube artist who talks about a specific area. Those people who turn to that figure for commentary on certain issues are under that figure's influence.

While audience size is certainly important, it's not always raw numbers that matter. Interaction levels are also important, and so too are things like the influencer's overall image; Porsche, for example, may not want to talk to a car video maker whose specialty is crash-testing vehicles himself. Look for influencers that produce quality content—though admittedly, that's a subjective measure at best—and regularly interact with the audience to gain trust.

From there, there are plenty of options. Businesses can offer outright payments, product samples, or both to get the influencer writing or talking about a topic the business wants. There are sponsored blog posts available, sponsored posts on a social channel, or video sponsorship for places like YouTube. Businesses can also turn to influencer marketplaces—clearinghouses where businesses can find rosters of influencers available—or agencies of similar purposes.

When it only takes two minutes to watch a video, users can turn to 30 influencers an hour and get about the same impact from each. This means there's no shortage of possible influencers out there to turn to. Influencers have a particularly powerful following these days thanks to a more personal connection to the users in question. It's a connection that broadcast media has lost over the years thanks to the increasing diffusion of viewer bases, brought about by cable and streaming services. Influencers are sought out, and routinely followed, adding a connection most users don't get these days.

Influencers are worth considering in any marketing venture, but remember, this is still a new field. It may not produce desirable results right away or even at all. Also remember that there's more to marketing than the immediate numbers; convincing customers to buy tomorrow is just as much a part as convincing customers to buy today.

Edited by Alicia Young

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