Welcome back! Now that you know exactly what influencer marketing is, let’s move onto some detail. In this week’s lesson I take you through a tour of the Influencer landscape. What social platforms are the prefered means of communication? And what characteristics should you look for in an influencer?
Social platforms – the building blocks of the Influencer landscape
In its early days, Influencer Marketing focused on blogs as these were the most personalised content platforms at the time. It’s come a long way since then. The evolution of online networks saw bloggers moving onto new platforms – most commonly Instagram or Twitter, depending on their area of expertise.
It was a gradual shift but nowadays it is without doubt that Instagram claims the title as network-of-choice for influencers belonging to the worlds of fashion, food and travel. And here are a few reasons why…
- Instagram is capturing the most sought after audience on the planet – that is millennials between18 and 24 years-old and earning $50,000 to $74,000 PA. For this demographic Instagram is the social media platform of choice, whilst the same age group that earns $25,000 to $49,000 PA prefer other platforms. Importantly, Instagram users aren’t just browsing through streams of endless content, they’re using it to discover new products and brands. In fact, 47% of Instagram users rank the platform in their top 10 channels for product discovery. (The Next Web)
- It is estimated that 59% of users visit Instagram daily (Pew Research Center) with the average user spending 21 minutes per day using the app. (#Paid)
- Nearly 60% of the 2,500 micro-influencers surveyed by Bloglovin said they felt that Instagram is the most effective platform for engaging with their audience, compared with 18% who think the same of Facebook. (Social Times)
- 7 out of 10 hashtags on Instagram are branded and 65 % of top-performing Instagram posts feature products. (SproutSocial)
By contrast with blogs, one older platform that has not lost its shine with the arrival of new communication mediums is YouTube. Perhaps this is related to the fact that it ranks as the second most-used search engine on the web (after Google of course), or that it has given rise to a whole new type of online celebrity. And personalised YouTube channels allow fans to follow their online idols intimately.
Recently, a couple of newer platforms have boomed, providing fresh territory for a new breed of influencers: Snapchat and Periscope. Every time you think that the social media landscape has covered all angles, a new niche grows out of nowhere. On paper Snapchat might seem completely inane with its throw-away content, but it is this exact feature which gives it an edge.
If you have ever questioned the power of Snapchat just plot the meteoric rise of DJ Khaled since 2015 to see how these platforms can help create superstars.
There are so few marketing specialists investing in the newer social media platforms that they must provide an area of great opportunity. It’s just a case of when (not if) someone finds a repeatable formula to utilise these markets effectively.
Characteristics of an Influencer
- They are their own brand
Through the command of their audience, an influencer is someone who has evolved to convert their own name or pseudonym into a brand. Their product is the content that they generate, and they know how to position themselves in the market. Their profiles don’t simply share information, rather they themselves are the creators of novel content which they share and discuss continuously.
- They nurture a community
On top of building a large following, an influencer will understand their audience, and care for their needs. They are the “curators” of their audience, they maintain a relationship with them, they interact, they participate in the conversation. For them, and the brands they work with, the quality and nature of their followers will always take precedence over the quantity.
- They are versatile
Influencers are real people, not companies, machines or corporations. This allows them to connect with other people and establish relationships. Whilst an Influencer requires a clearly defined field of expertise, they should also be versatile enough to traverse a diverse range of related subjects in order to find common ground with other Influencers and brands. In this way, their reach can stretch far beyond their immediate loyal following.
- They generate opinions
Of course Influencers will always have their own opinions, but they also influence the opinions of their followers and frequently invite them to share these on social networks. Whilst collective opinion can appear organic, influences are the people who can sway a whole group in a certain direction. This snowball effect can be a vital tool for any brand looking to grow a genuine reputation that is driven by consumer interests.
Finally, here are some numbers which help paint the picture. In 2014 Augure launched its ‘Status of Influencer Marketing Report’ in which it collated the opinions of marketing professionals worldwide as to what they believe makes someone truly Influential:
- 79% cited the Echo Effect – a person’s capacity to mobilise opinion and stimulate reactions when they talk about a certain topic.
- 73% cited Exposure – the potential audience available to an influencer when talking about a certain issue.
- 62% cited the Share of Voice – a person’s level of participation in the conversation around a specific subject.
In the next part of the Photoslurp Influencer Marketing course, we will get a bit mathematical, and teach you some tricks for recognising real influencers amongst the hoards of people claiming Influencer status.
CEO & Co-Founder @ Photoslurp