At the turn of the century, we have all witnessed social media proliferate, both in content and value. According to a 2019 report, around 3.5 billion people (or about 45% of the world’s total population) are active in social media. It is inevitable that a few key figures will stand out among these billions of people and be looked upon as influencers for the rest.
Thus, the emergence of a new marketing strategy: influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is not just about marketing through celebrities. It involves utilizing online experts in the targeted promotion of products and services. Recent statistics indicate that almost 68% of company-based marketers in the US are or will use influencer marketing this year and that influencer content takes up about a 20% share of US advertising budgets.
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Essentially, influencer marketing is the strategic partnership between businesses and individuals whose presence in social media can be defined as influential. A company can go to a marketing agency to create influencer marketing campaigns in the same way advertising agencies make and run traditional campaigns.
These influential individuals can direct their followers’ purchase decisions, which is why social media influencers have become vital to businesses’ marketing. An influencer can market products or services because they have the knowledge, authority, and a unique connection with their follower base.
Influencer marketing is distinct from celebrity marketing, although the former spawned from the latter. Influencers on social media are specialists whose followers share an interest in a common niche, unlike celebrities with a generic fan base.
What Is a Social Media Influencer?
Social media influencers are critical individuals in various social media platforms who have established a reputation of expertise in a particular niche or field. These people regularly publish relevant content on their preferred social media channels and generate substantial, engaged, and enthusiastic followership. These social media influencers have such solid followership and reputation that they can influence a vast number of people’s purchase decisions.
Brands and businesses have found that social media influencers are a vital marketing channel because they have the ability to create trends and direct people toward their products or services.
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What Kind of Social Media Influencer Can You Start As?
As a beginner social media influencer, you will need at least the essential equipment and software. If you have a smartphone, digital camera, and at least one social media account, you are pretty much set to start as a blogger. You can record content such as photos and videos and start posting away.
Bloggers are basically influencers in social media if they have a significant enough followership and dynamic, authentic relationships with these followers. For example, there are highly followed blogs about health, parenting, personal development, finance, and many other topics that consumers find relevant. It is not enough that you are posting content related to your chosen niche, but credibility and reputation are critical to the success of your blog.
Blogging has taken on several formats. It gave birth to vlogging or video blogging. You can shoot content with your smartphone or digital camera, and you can post straight away. Or you can take things up a notch by learning graphic design or investing in video editing software to do enhancements on a computer. As a startup, you can find plenty of affordable laptop options to run these programs and facilitate your posts. The best thing is that you can pick which channel you are most comfortable with:
YouTubers. Video is a quicker way to deliver content than traditional written content. A recent study found that man’s attention span has dropped about 25% in the last few years. This means video content might be more captivating to today’s audiences. YouTubers have channels that a number of people subscribe to for advertisers to want a spot in their videos.
Podcasters. More recently, podcasts or episodes of spoken word content have gained popularity. It is another form of video content that is more spontaneous than recorded videos and published as recorded. You can record yourself discussing a topic on your own or with guests.
As a written or video blogger, YouTuber, or podcaster, it is not enough that you just come out with content every so often and just rely on your existing followers to just show up to your channel or site looking for new posts. Social media influencers need to promote their posts, as well. With the saturation of social media personalities, stand out from the rest by being more creative, innovative, and dynamic with your content.