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Positive Influences: The 3 Types of Social Media Influencers

Positive Influences_ The 3 Types of Social Media Influencers

In our previous blog, we explained the basics of influencer marketing. Now that you know what it is and why you should do it, let’s discuss the kinds of influencers available. We will mostly be referencing Instagram, as that is a very popular platform for influencer marketing.

One quick note before we dive in to this topic: these definitions are somewhat flexible. Some experts swear that macro-influencers and celebrity influencers are the same, while other experts roll their eyes and patiently explain that macro-influencers are internet celebrities and celebrity influencers are famous offline as well. Another marketer might try to persuade you to believe that macro and micro should be based on reach rather than reputation–which will probably be countered by a different marketing expert shouting that such a definition would mean Doug the Pug is more influential than Grumpy Cat. (If you want to watch marketers engage in heated debates about industry lingo, simply attend any marketing meet-up and loudly declare, “As far as online influence goes, Logan Paul is pretty much on the same level as Kylie Jenner.” We recommend that you view the ensuing chaos from a safe distance, however.)

The point we’re trying to make is this: definitions can fluctuate depending on who is defining the term. Our team goes by the following standards, but you might find slightly different iterations elsewhere.

Macro-influencers are social media influencers who have massive followings. Some marketing experts advise judging macro-influencers by different metrics for each social media platform. Influencers on Instagram could be considered macro if they have over 100,000 followers each. However, these same influencers would need at least 250,000 followers on Youtube to be considered macro-influencers because YouTube is more widely used than Instagram.

Additionally, sometimes macro-influencers are grouped together with celebrity influencers. In the above example, we mentioned Kylie Jenner and Logan Paul. The former is a model and member of a famous family, while the latter is a wildly popular vlogger. However, Kylie is famous outside of the internet (modeling, being related to the Kardashians/Jenners) while Logan is known almost exclusively for his online presence. We would classify Kylie (109 million followers on Instagram) as a celebrity influencer, and Logan (who has a not-unimpressive 16.3 million followers on Instagram) would be considered a macro-influencer.

The enormous reach of the macro-influencer also leads to drawbacks in using these influencers. The larger the audience, the higher the cost: macro-influencers are just more expensive than other options. On a related if counterintuitive note, as the influencer’s following grows, the followers tend to feel more distant. Studies have shown that followers engage less often with influencers who have large followings.

Micro-influencers are niche markets. A micro-influencer has an above-average following (generally anywhere between several thousand and a few hundred thousand followers), but appeals to a very specific market. For example, Instagram has several micro-influencers who focus on yoga. Summer Perez (@summerperez) is a yoga enthusiast and mom who encourages her 192,000 followers by posting polished pics of her own yoga poses–interspersed with candid shots of her adorable children. Carling Harps (@carlingnicole) is a yoga teacher with over 54,000 followers. In addition to yoga workouts and poses, she gives her followers glimpses of her life in Northern California (often featuring Yokai, her cute Italian greyhound).

Traditional social media networks are not micro-influencers only habitat, though. Bloggers can also be considered micro-influencers. Moms and dads who blog about the trials and triumphs of modern parenting are often sought out by marketers. These parents are not traditional social media influencers, but their impact cannot be denied.

Micro-influencers have two main benefits. First, followers in small audiences tend to engage much more often than followers in large audiences. Second, micro-influencers are cheaper than macro-influencers because of their limited audience. However, this means that you will get more engagement for less money!

Brand Ambassadors
Brand ambassadors are everyday people who enjoy a specific brand. These individuals do not necessarily need to have large followings, although their savvy use of social media dictates that they probably have a decent-sized audience. While some are given free products to review (especially true with beauty products), brand ambassadors might not be paid at all. Have you ever tagged a restaurant, store, or product in a post? Have you ever been so impressed by a product or service that you tweeted about it, tagging the company? You were acting as a sort of brand ambassador! Even brick-and-mortar brands can use brand ambassadors: for example, brands that encourage customers to take pictures of themselves wearing that brand’s merch or logos and post the pics to social media.

As we mentioned earlier, some experts have different criteria for each type of influencer. Our next blog will go over some basic dos and don’ts for influencer marketing.

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Under the Influence: An Intro to Social Media Influencers

Under the Influence_ An Intro to Social Media Influencers

Social media influencers are social media users who reach a wide audience and have established credibility in a given industry or field. The influence of these individuals outweighs that of the average social media user. While social media influencers technically exist on any platform or network, they are predominantly on YouTube and Instagram.

A typical social media influencer displays the following characteristics.

• Authenticity. Influencers are perceived as genuine. The audience sees an influencer as an independent party rather than a brand spokesperson.

• Credibility. Stemming from the above, Influencers are trustworthy and impartial. Indeed, the trust has already been established: the audience members are following the influencers for reasons unrelated to any brands or sponsors.

• Expertise. Influencers are seen as having experience and knowledge about their industry or topic of choice. This expertise does not have to be professional: many beauty vloggers are not professional makeup artists or cosmetologists.

• Relatability. Influencers are approachable and accessible, albeit charismatic. Even celebrity influencers (Kylie JennerCristiano RonaldoChrissy Tiegen, e.g.) make efforts to humanize themselves and empathize with their audiences.

Why They Matter
Social media influencers are a major force in digital marketing. They have risen in prominence over the past decade, so this trend seems to have staying power. But why should you include these people in your marketing strategy? Here are just a few reasons to incorporate social media influencers into your marketing campaigns.

Influencers humanize your brand. As we touched on above, social media influencers are relatable. An influencer’s success (and often livelihood) depends on connecting with his or her audience. They want to be embraced by their viewers and/or followers, so most of them need to prove that they are just like their viewers and/or followers. True, there are social media influencers who seem more perfect than others, but even these models will put a face to your brand. Whether an influencer is relatable or aspirational, your brand will be humanized by the connection with a real person.

People trust peers more than companies. Who is more trustworthy: your neighbor or an ad? Your boss or a commercial? A friendly acquaintance or an anonymous stranger? Time and time again, studies have shown that people put more stock in the recommendations of their peers than in a corporate advertisement. Experience is the best teacher, so why wouldn’t you rely on an experienced source who you already trust? Even though followers might not have ever had any personal interactions (i.e., meeting the influencer in person or having an actual conversation with that person directly), they still see an influencer as their peer.

Influencers are better able to reach an audience. Influencers already have a following of their own. Likewise, they are already sharing content that relates to your brand or to your brand’s industry. In short, their audiences are already interested in content just like yours! Social media influencers will therefore be better equipped to reach your target audience than traditional advertisements. Additionally, their audiences seek out the influencers content. These followers are actively trying to engage and consume content that will help further your branding and your marketing goals!

Influencers and marketers have long-term relationships. Social media influencers should be part of your longterm strategy, not just one campaign. Influencers will likely stick to the same or similar content and audiences over the course of several years: your brand will be able to grow with them. You can actually build a relationship with an influencer, using that influencer as a resource repeatedly.

In our next blog, we’ll discuss the different types of social media influencers and help you determine which is best for your brand.

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Incorporating Influencers: 5 Ideas for Your SMM Strategy

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Influencer marketing seems to be here to stay. Now that you’ve chosen and recruited an influencer for your social media marketing strategy, what should you do? How could you actually incorporate him or her into your campaign? We have a few ideas!

Email Marketing

Incorporate the influencer’s content into your email marketing. You could have your influencer write a review of your product. Another possibility is incorporating your 

Event Marketing

Your influencer could literally draw his/her fans to a convention, trade show, or other event! You could offer to cover travel expenses (gas or airfare, hotel, etc) in exchange for a personal appearance. This has the potential to be especially synergistic if you each cross-promote the event!

Linking Back

This sounds basic, but you’d be surprised how many brands forget to ask influencers to include links in video descriptions, blog posts, or Instagram bios! If your influencer posts a video review of your new product, have him/her include the link to that product’s retail page on your website. Customers will be able to quickly move from interested to invested!

Product Launches

Whether in-person or online, product launches are another great opportunity for cross promotion! If you choose to create a live event, have the influencer cover it. Even influencers who are bloggers can write about the experience. If you’d rather do a virtual launch, ask if your influencers would be interested in doing a livestream. You could send the influencer the product in advance and have him/her unbox it at the moment of launch!

Content Production

Brand ambassadors are encouraged to create and share content for you, so why not influencers? Some brands have let influencers “take over” a social media account for a day, which is great for drumming up engagement. You could also cross-post the influencer’s content in your brand’s feed!

These are just a few options when it comes to influencer marketing. The possibilities are endless: every social media influencer brings something unique to your brand. Remember: an influencer is not your employee, but your collaborator. Get your influencer’s input–you might be pleasantly surprised!

A Note on Regulations

Before you dive into the possibilities of influencer marketing, you should learn about the regulations involved. Your influencer must disclose that he/she is being compensated for endorsing, reviewing, or otherwise using your product or brand. Even if you only gave the influencer samples of your product for a review, the influencer must disclose that fact.

The disclosure itself does not need to be in legalese to meet the FTC’s requirements. All influencers need is to convey in a written message that they have been compensated for this endorsement, review, or usage. If the influencer received products and/or money, he/she needs to clearly explain that fact. This disclosure must be included every time the influencer features a sponsored product. Having a blanket statement in a Twitter or Instagram bio is insufficient according to the FTC. 

Here’s an example: Claire hosts a popular cooking channel on YouTube. Companies often send her cookware for free in exchange for her mentioning and using the piece in a video. On every video that features or mentions that brand’s cookware, she includes this line in the description: “[Cookware] was provided by [brand].” She also has a sponsorship deal with an organic produce company, so she explicitly states in the description of each video that includes one of their ingredients, “Colleen’s Greens is a sponsor of my channel. I was compensated for using these ingredients, along with receiving these ingredients at no charge: [list of vegetables].” 

If you would like some guidance for your marketing strategy, the Go! Agency is here for you! From social media marketing to content creation to web design, we have the solutions your brand needs to succeed. 

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5 Dos and Don’ts from the Pros: Working With Influencers

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Here are a few tips that will help you get the most out of your influencer marketing campaign. These mostly relate to micro-influencers (as they are cheaper and more effective), but they can also be used with macro-influencers.

Do Remember that Influencer Marketing is a Collaborative Situation.

You are not hiring a social media influencer to be your salesperson. These people are professional content creators, after all. Don’t ignore their input, but neither should you instantly assume that they will take control. As with any aspect of business, do not micromanage. You know your brand and audience, they know their personal brand and audience: you just need to combine all that knowledge in a compelling way. These people can walk away at any time–and any fines they’d incur for breach of contract probably amount to less than the revenue you’d miss by not having that campaign! 

Don’t Opt for Quantity over Quality.

This advice is twofold, applying to both audience size and number of influencers themselves. Do not assume that a macro-influencer’s massive following will translate into massive engagement. A 2016 study cited in Digiday found that the more followers an influencer has, the less engaged those followers are. Micro-influencers have less reach, but statistically more engagement. Don’t reach out to every micro-influencer you find, though. Sometimes the size of an audience does matter; some markets are oversaturated with content creators. While 50,000 followers is impressive for an influencer who reviews vegan soaps, that reach would be far too small to matter in the overall world of beauty-focused social media stars and vloggers. 

Do Bolster Your Influencer Campaigns with Digital Advertising.

Given that the influencer has a built-in audience, you might neglect (either intentionally or otherwise) to promote your influencer campaign. This is bad for both your brand and the influencer. As mentioned above, a growing number of micro-influencers and almost all macro-influencers use their social media presence to generate their income. If the posts featuring your products do not perform well in terms of views or likes, then the influencer might break with your brand. Don’t let this happen: advertise your collaboration!

Don’t Confuse Micro Influencers with Brand Ambassadors.

Micro-influencers are content creators who often profit in some way from their social media presence. While most have day jobs, an increasing number of micro-influencers are relying on their online content to generate income. Creating content–whether blogs, videos, or photographs–is work, and must be treated as such. Brand ambassadors, on the other hand, are just average customers who would probably be happy to receive free products in exchange for honest reviews. 

Do Clearly Explain Your Goals and Metrics to Your Influencer.

Most influencers are young and inexperienced in the business world, but that does not mean that they don’t understand performance metrics. Social media influencers are often members of Generation Z or Millennials, meaning that they grew up with technology. Gen-Z influencers in particular were raised with social media, so it stands to reason that these people will understand concepts like key performance indicators. As we mentioned above, more and more influencers are professional. Tell the influencer what you want from the campaign: more likes, more sales, more subscribers, et cetera. An influencer might even be able to help you tailor your digital marketing campaign to his or her specific audience!

These are great general tips for anyone who is getting started in influencer marketing. Remember that it’s better to focus on engagement rather than followers: a micro-influencer with high engagement is better than a macro-influencer with low engagement! 

In our next blog, we’ll discuss how to find the best influencer for you and your brand.

Do you need help taking your social media marketing strategy to the next level? Contact our team and discover what we can do for you! Visit our website today for a free consultation!


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