WHAT IS A SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCER AND HOW DO THEY HELP YOUR BRAND?

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By: Victoria Morris, Summer 2018 Intern

What does it mean to be influential & how do you become influential?

If you are affecting people’s decisions, you are an influencer. This power is usually created by authority, knowledge, position, or relationship. Typically, after becoming active with a particular niche, the influence becomes stronger and more credible. 

What are social media influencers?

In 2017 81% of the United States population had a social media profile. Social media influencers use social media through the credibility they have established in a specific industry. Influencers use their social media platforms to create content based off of a particular niche that they have built knowledge or expertise in. In other words, social media influencers are recognized as credible sources. For this reason, they generate a large following on their social network. 

Who are social media influencers?

Social media influencers fall into three main categories: celebrities, industry experts, and bloggers. 

Celebrities are obviously social media influencers due to their popularity. Being well known automatically generates a large number of followers. 

Industry experts and thought leaders have gained respect because of their qualifications, position, or experience. A lot of their influence comes from the reputation of their workplace. 

Journalists are popular industry expert influencers. 

Bloggers develop followers from a particular niche that they share a similar interest in. They create their power of influence through authentic and active relationships. Bloggers are typically more of your everyday people. This relatability generates respect and trust from their audience(s). 

Note: To be an influencer, an individual doesn’t always need to reach a large audience, sometimes reaching a small niche audience can be just as valuable.

Why should brands use social media influencers?

Brands are always looking for ways to influence their consumers. According to The Telegraphthe average American spends almost two hours scanning carious social media platforms. So, why would brands not grab hold of this opportunity? By using social media influencers, a brand creates a quick and cost effective approach to reaching a wide audience. The use of social media influencers also builds trust between consumers and the brand, eliminates ad blockers, and often is the only way to reach particular demographics such as: millennials and Generation Z. 

How can brands use social media influencers?

Once brands realize social media influencers are the way to go, they can start taking steps towards growing their online audience. Two strong directions would be: quest posting and sponsored posts. 

Guest posting is writing or publishing work on someone else’s social media platform. This strategy helps build relationships, can function as a search engine, and it introduces new people to your brand. 

Another way brands can utilize influencers is with sponsored posts. Brands can utilize advertising dollars to sponsor a post featuring an influencer. By using an influencer’s clout, a brand can maximize reach, increase effectiveness, and lend credibility to their products. 

Get on board!

Social media has taken over. Brands have no choice but to reach audiences through iPhone and computer screens. All it takes is for Selena Gomez to post a picture on Instagram wearing your shoes, compliment them, tag the company, and BAM sales rise. Social media is how the world keeps up with its surroundings: places to go, foods to eat, clothes to wear. It has a unique way of triggering our memories. So, when we go to purchase your next meal, we think about our best friend’s cousin’s food post from last Tuesday. In other words, social media platforms do the work FOR us! Grab a social media influencer, sit back, and watch your audience grow.