The Age of Brand Influencers
You’ve probably heard the term “brand influencer” or “brand ambassador” thrown around recently, especially if you have access to or work in the marketing world. Online influencers are not hard to find, but that’s not to say anyone can become an influencer online overnight. And if you’re still wondering what an online influencer is, the Business Dictionary puts it simply: “Individuals who have the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of their (real or perceived) authority, knowledge, position, or relationship.”
TYPES OF INFLUENCERS
Small brands and businesses looking to grow awareness and authority in their respective industries can greatly benefit from partnering with online influencers for their brand. They have the ability to grow a business’ following drastically over time. When choosing an influencer, it’s important to do your research and know who will complement your business goals best. There are three different tiers, or types, of influencers out there: the micro influencer with 0-20K digital followers, the rising stars with 20-250K and the celebrity influencer with 250K-2.2MM+ followers.
Micro-influencers are the ‘babies’ in the influencer family. This includes anyone just starting out with an inconsiderable following - but with the goal to become well known for their online presence. If you are a small, growing business or brand, a micro influencer may be the ticket to enhance your online presence. They have the time and ability to drive engagement about your business and create a genuine connection with your respective audience or audiences.
Rising stars are equivalent to the ‘teenagers’ of the influencer family. They have a little more experience and a larger following than a micro influencer, but still provide intimacy and engagement for your brand and their followers. With over 20 thousand followers, rising stars can broaden your businesses’ reach more than that of a micro influencer, and give your brand the recognition its been searching for.
Next comes the celebrity influencer, the ‘ big daddy or mama bear’ in the so-called family of influencers. Celebrity influencers are different than your traditional Hollywood celebrity—although sometimes these individuals are also traditional celebrities. They gain their celeb status through being an influencer. If your business has the capability to partner with an influencer in the celebrity tier, that one partnership can significantly grow the awareness, reach and growth of your brand almost overnight. With a celebrity influence you can connect with audiences you may have never dreamed of reaching, but this kind of a partnership does often come with a hefty price tag.
FINDING THE RIGHT FIT
If you decide to jump on the experiential marketing bandwagon and partner with an influencer, there are a few things you should consider before determining who is a good fit for your brand.
Values - First off, you need to identify someone whose goals align with your company views. Seems like an obvious factor, but it’s easy to get caught up in the number of Instagram followers an influencer has, and forget to make sure they align with your values. If you have conflicting views and messaging, you will confuse your followers.
Audience - Also take note of who the influencer’s audience is--who are they speaking to? Is their digital following an audience you wish to reach? Be smart and strategic with your partnership, look at it as a marriage between the your brand and them.
Budget - Establish a trial period and go on a few dates (so to speak) in order to get to know the influencer before you decide to marry your brand to them. And as with any marriage, it will take time and work to keep the relationship strong, but with enough communication and hard work, all parties will be happy.
Cost is also a factor. Working with an micro-influencer is generally free or based on trade, where as rising stars and celebrity influencers will most often require a retainer fee, and full contractual agreement before working with any brand. Put together a budget for this effort prior to seeking out potential ambassadors so you can be sure to keep the cost down.
Creating buzz with online conversations, and establishing brand loyalists (an engaged audience) for your brand will speak volumes about who you are as a business. According to Adweek, “Studies show 92 percent of people trust recommendations from other people over brands...And 49 percent of people rely on influencer recommendations when they’re making a purchase. That’s rely on as in trust.” Partnering with the right influencer who speaks to your brand’s identity can attribute to the credibility and reliability of your brand as a whole. It also gives your business the opportunity to build its digital presence and audience, advancing your brand to a whole new level.
No matter the size of your business, there is an influencer out there for you. Do your research before partnering with someone and once you do find the right fit, be specific with what you’re looking to get out of the relationship. Once you find a compatible fit for your business, write the terms of your agreement, set your goals, and give the influencer what they need to take your business to a whole new level!
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