Influencers on social media have gained a great deal of power. Businesses can choose to either ignore them or embrace them.
What is an influencer? Why should I care about influeners? Are there any downsides to using them for promotion? These are all important questions that must be addressed before hopping on the influencer bandwagon.
What is an influencer?
In a basic sense, an influencer is any person who positively or negatively affects opinion of a brand or company. Often this is accomplished through social media.
Many influencers are celebrities who got their fame from traditional channels and then expanded to social media or the influencer is a self-proclaimed expert on a topic who gained a massive following.
Movie stars, singers, reality TV personalities, fashion bloggers, video game champions, or foodies can all be popular if they have the right audience niche.
Why should I care about influencers?
As the advertising space becomes more and more crowded, your company needs to stand out and get attention.
Today, many people fast forward past commercials, skip internet ads, and ignore anything they think is being shoved in their face. This spells trouble for traditional advertising. Influencers are different though.
People seek out their favorite fashion expert for example. Because of this, they are more likely to listen as the influencer shares their opinion about the product they are personally testing compared to just watching an ad.
What are the benefits and consequences of using influencers?
Influencers can be a huge asset to a company. Ideally they will get you in front of your target audience and add a sense of credibility. You will be capitalizing on established trust between the influencer and their followers.
There are also some downsides. First, there is both a financial and immaterial cost to using influencers for promotion. To get your product featured by a popular influencer will cost you. The larger the audience, the more you will have to pay. Compensation is usually in the form of cash or free samples of your products.
You must also weigh the cost of relying on someone else to promote your product. You need to ensure that the influencer matches the tone and culture of your brand. When influencers agree to feature a company's product, they have a great deal of freedom to portray it any way they want. They have built a reputation of having a certain persona and they do not want to betray their audience, just to please a sponsor.
Overall, be careful in using influencers, but don't be afraid of them. Many are just normal people that leveraged technology to dominate a particular niche. Do your research on influencers and choose one that fits your customer base, your culture, and your industry.
Ethan Hausmann is currently the Vice President of Marketing and Community Outreach for Successtar Enterprises LLC. He is an author, professional speaker, and seminar/workshop instructor. Ethan has extensive knowledge and experience in marketing, customer service, leadership, and other small business related concerns.