Marketing is a fast-changing field that requires constant study. If you keep your eye shut too long, you could end up being caught in its dust. So in case you have been absent from the scene for the past decade or so, here is one big thing you need to know: influencers are important!
But wait, we might need to backtrack a little bit. You might not even know what an influencer is yet, let alone what an influencer does. So let’s break it down.
What is an influencer
This is a little challenging, as influencers come in many shapes and forms, so it is hard to pinpoint a common thread among all of them. Basically, influencers are individuals or sometimes small groups that exert an influence over a certain group of people through their online presence. In marketing, these people can be used in a variety of ways to promote a brand.
Like an endorser? Yes and no.
Yes, because they do end up using your product or service and letting people know about how good it is.
No, because endorsers are valued for their overall celebrity and not their particular expertise and rhetorical clout within certain limited circles.
You see, an endorser would be Brad Pitt selling Chanel No. 5. If you think about it, why would you trust Brad Pitt when it comes to perfume? Does Brad Pitt make perfume? Is he a known perfume enthusiast? Has he ever had any particular episode in his life that linked his name specifically to perfume? No. Brad Pitt was merely chosen because he is a celebrity, one that is popular among the target market of Chanel No. 5, but this popularity only goes as shallow as knowing about him, not necessarily talking to him or engaging him.
Influencers are actually known by their audience, as much as one can know someone from talking to them over a computer screen or smartphone. Influencers know particular products because they use them in one of the main aspects of their lives. For instance, mothers know baby food. Athletes know sports drinks. Fashionistas know clothes. So when one of these individuals start talking about these products, then they are influencers.
Another important facet of being an influencer is that these people have leverage within a certain community due to their personal engagement with these people that allowed them to build a rapport. Essentially, this means they could regularly communicate with their fans—your target market—to the point of knowing some of them by name.
So why bother with influencers?
Since influencers are already engaging with your target market, you can engage with them simply by partnering with the influencer, allowing you to reach the same people they reach on a regular basis. You will not have to go through the trouble of building your own fan base, as these influencers have already done it for you. This is especially important when you consider that very few people actually want to constantly engage with a brand. They would much rather engage with a human being who shares their interests. This is why influencers can potentially create better brand equity. It is as if your brand is directly engaging with these people, it’s just that your brand is represented by an influencer.
So that about wraps it up: WE have defined influencer. You are now up to date on what an influencer is, what they do, and how you can use them. Be sure to use this to your advantage.