According to Merriam-Webster, an influencer is “one that exerts influence”
Influence itself is defined as
According to Wikipedia, ‘Influence Marketing' is a “form of marketing in which focus is placed on influential people rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies the individuals that have influence over potential customers, and orients marketing activities around these influencers”
Putting it all together, an influencer (who does influence marketing) is
a powerfull and established online personality with an active, growing and responsive following on one or more soical media platforms, who persuades their audience to take action.
This is a loaded question!
Many brands who work with influencers expect all of the things, which of course is completely unrealistic.
Instead, each brand who works with an influencer will need to set their own guidelines and expectations while working with this particular influencer or for that specific marketing campaign.
Expectations can range from posting a provided picture to Instagram, to creating an unboxing video for YouTube, to mentioning a product in a video, to tagging a product or brand in a post on Facebook, to writing a blog article about an event, product or service, to providing backlinks and just about anything in between.
Influencers are expected to be able to produce original social media content highlighting the unique features of a brand, event, product or service, often posted to at least one, sometimes more predetermined social media platforms.
Lastly, influencers can be found across nearly all industries.
Let us be clear.
We believe influencers should get paid.
Do all influencers get paid?
There are many ‘micro influencers' online who are willing to start out in this industry by bartering influence for goods and services. If both parties agree and want this, that is great.
However, we don't know anyone who can pay a mortgage or electric bill with a comp'ed hotel room or a free sweater! Or as a social media manager put it “Influencers are not interns working for college credit; they’re working to pay their mortgages.”
If brands want real results, they will need to have a real budget for influencer marketing.
An influencer marketing budget can be used to either pay their marketing campaign manager, to pay the influencers or in a perfect world, a combination of both. Without a budget, brands are counting on the fact that someone will love their product so much they will highlight it for nearly free. That happens, of course, but will most likely be a one-off deal. Real influencers with real audiences expect to get paid for their efforts!
Trust plays a big factor in that.
First, an influencer spends a lot of time cultivating and building up an audience. They will only promote products, services, brands, and events they believe in, or that they get paid to promote. Next, influencers will protect their audience and their own reputation at all cost. Therefore, influencers carefully select who they work with and what they promote. Lastly, being an influencer is a business. Influencers have to pay their bills with the money they make, thus they treat it as a business. That includes executing contracts and working with agents.
There are many ways the initial connection between an influencer and a brand are made.
Included in this list are
If you are interested in becoming an influencer, one of the first things you need to do before reaching out to brands is to get your social media profiles updated, followed by growing your audience.
Anyone who wants to market their business can and should consider influencer marketing.
This includes large international companies, major brands, universities, and international events, as well as local small businesses, e-commerce stores, and entrepreneurs.
Often, influencers are pulled in to jumpstart a new marketing campaign, or to enhance an on-going campaign for a certain period of time.
NOTE: There is a distinct difference between a brand ambassador and an influencer.
Brand ambassadors are influencers hired by brands for long-term relationships. They differ from influencers, who might be used only for a short-term campaign. In effect, brand ambassadors are paid spokespeople for the brand. We can call them ‘an expert that relates to the brand/product'.
More details can be found here.
Would you like to learn more about influencer marketing? Are you interested in stats and influencer marketing niches, industries and agencies?
I am a Certified Social Media Manager, Strategist, International Keynote Speaker, Organic Specialist and Agile marketer! Blogging is my creative outlet. Running, hiking and skiing are how I recharge. You'll recognize me on stage and online by my always present orange glasses, a nod to my Dutch heritage.