Social Media Influencers: Everything You Need to Know Before You Approach Them!

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If you’re living in 2020, chances are you have at least one social media account open. More than ever before, marketers are wielding the power of social media to reach their target audiences through online space nowadays. 

An average user spends 2 hours and 24 minutes per day on social media today. On mobile, social media apps account for 50.1% of the total time spent on mobile. These data points depict that, from a marketing perspective, the opportunities to promote your business or products are endless.

This is where influencers come in. An influencer in the social media context is a person who: 

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  • Has the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of his or her authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with his or her audience.
  • Has a following in a distinct niche, with whom he or she actively engages. The size of the following depends on the size of his/her topic of the niche.

Influencers are not just marketing tools. They are valuable partners that can see to it that your brand gets exposure in the long-term, working with a strategy that best suits your business for optimized results. There are several influencer platforms available that can help you get connected. 

Influencers create posts about a topic on their preferred social media channels and generate large followings of enthusiastic, engaged people. Brands love social media influencers because they can create trends and encourage their followers to buy products they promote. In other words, they “influence” consumer sentiment and buying decisions!

Influencers: Past and Present

When the World Wide Web came to be in 1991, it opened the door to a new era of connectivity and interactivity, giving users around the world the ability to build and maintain relationships with people they had never met in person. Influencers started out in forums and online communities, becoming virtual personalities and people that others looked up to for advice or inspiration or knowledge. 

As users of all types joined virtual communities, marketers and brands began to understand their potential to shape public understanding. 

Over the last five years, influencer marketing has grown into a multibillion-dollar industry. With the growing demand for influencers and visible evidence of their effect on public opinion, influencers have been able to charge more for what they do. There are several influencers today who make a living off of it. It is estimated that influencer marketing would be a $15 billion market in 2020 and grow at a phenomenal rate with each passing year with the increasing penetration of internet and smartphones.

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Types of Influencers

Depending on the following, industry, and social media platform, there are several different types of influencers out there. We’re breaking down a few:

  • Micro-influencers (1,000-4,000 followers on social media): Ordinary everyday people who have created a name for themself for their knowledge about a certain niche. As such, they have usually gained a sizable social media following of people who subscribe to that niche. 
  • Macro-influencers (40,000 to 1 million followers on social media): They are either B-grade celebrities, who haven’t yet made it to the big time. Or they are successful influencers who are the perfect sweet spot for marketers. 
  • Mega-influencers (Over 1 million followers on social media): Celebrities, key opinion leaders, and individuals who have built a massive following based on a certain niche. These are the costliest people to partner with for influencer marketing purposes. 

Influencers also vary by the type of content they post. They can include:

  • Bloggers
  • YouTubers
  • Podcasters
  • Social Posts 

When it comes to influencer marketing, Instagram is the gold standard for marketers. According to the latest BI Report, nearly four in five (79%) brands predominantly tap Instagram for influencer campaigns, compared with Facebook (46%), YouTube (36%), Twitter (24%), and LinkedIn (12%), per Influencer Marketing Hub. 

How to Get Started

Interested in hiring an influencer to promote your brand, product, or initiative? There are several platforms available to help you scour profiles of influencers that best suit your needs. 

To find social media influencers:

  • Use tools like BuzzSumo to find trending content and the authors that write it.
  • Browse through LinkedIn for authority figures with experience in your industry.
  • Search Twitter using hashtags to find micro-influencers
  • Use Google to see recent blog posts related to keywords for your sector.
  • Use a tool like Sprout Social to look for trending topics and hashtags for your brand.

For platforms like BuzzSumo and SproutSocial, you can filter by:

  • Number of followers
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Industry/Niche
  • Cost per post

Influencers make money by promoting your business in exchange. They oftentimes post their profiles on platforms as they look for sources of income. You can also directly reach out to an influencer on social media — oftentimes, they are highly active and can answer any questions you have. Direct outreach is a great way to get connected and start a conversation.

How many posts would you like? What type of post (i.e., Instagram Story, Carousel, Single Post, etc.)? These are all important questions that can help your overall social media strategy and make the most out of your influencer partnership.  

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