Welcome To The Age of the Influencer

It’s easy to see that we’re in a world that utilizes influencers more than other marketing techniques. It is certain that you have come across influencers if you are a user of social media. You might have just in a naive state thought that these are popular people. These people do have a lot of followers, but chances are, they’re doing it for other reasons than fame.

There’s the fortune that comes with being an influencer now. You don’t even have to have a lot of followers to be considered for the gig. Companies and SEO agencies are recruiting people with just thousands and ten thousand followers to be their spokespeople. They will pay money for just a picture with the product. In this article, we will explore how marketing is changing due to social media influencers.


One of the Greats

You probably know one of the biggest influencers out there – Kim Kardashian. Kim is an influencer who built her brand on the bad kind of fame. Her leaked sex tape was scandalous at the time. Her mom though was not one to cry over spilled milk. They used their notoriety to build the brand of the Kardashians. A lot of Kim’s work used to be just showing up for brand launches. Now, she just needs to be seen with a product on her social media and people will buy it. She’s a major influencer and probably one of the first clear cases of brand influencing that there is.

Now of course, she’s created her own brands and this is a different story. However, her job used to be just being popular and using that popularity to launch products off the shelf.


A Friend or a Lead?

Influencing has to do with people wanting to hear from a person. A person with 15 followers, aka me, could not really be an influencer. No one is interested in what I have to say when it comes to what you should consume, wear, etc (although we are not discouraging you if you’re just getting started). However, someone with a thousand followers would be considered a nano influencer. This person has potential, and you cannot overstate this enough when it comes to a brand. If they are an ambassador of the product, they will probably officially have the brand in their bio. Instead of them filling out who they are, they will just plug in a line to your brand.

If it seems a little disingenuous, then perhaps that’s because it is. It’s a transactional relationship at that point. They are getting paid to promote the brand. They don’t even need to use the brand but just be perceived as using it.


What Businesses Need to Realize

There is a niche for every business. Finding a personality that represents what you stand for is just like finding a new employee. It’s a little bit like finding a model and a little bit like finding a marketing manager. The influencer is a bit of both rolled into one. When you get into business, then you need to see that you are constantly going to be recruiting more people as your business grows. If you are responsible for building a brand, then you certainly need to get an influencer. This influencer will be the person on social media that gets all their “friends” or your “leads” interested in the product. The product is a natural match for the influencer as their values, personality, and taste are in line with the product. You can get an entire market from friends of friends that are motivated by their desire to have what the influencer has.


But Are They Really Your Friend?

The influencer market uses buzz words that denote intimacy. There are the terms friends, like, love, laughing at your joke, sad, mad, and other emotions that emoticons use to depict a sense of emotional attachment to the influencer’s content. However, they are really reacting in a very personal way to an impersonal product. Their emotional connection to the influencer itself is often enough to sell them on what the influencer sells.

So really though, are these people really friends with all the people that follow them?

This is a definite “no.” They may be friends with the few they follow back, but followers are all about people that take an interest in the page, the person, or their products. Maybe really it’s a combination of all these elements. It is a lifestyle that the person is hawking. If you like their beachy sunsets or flowery dresses, you are bound to love the tropical tea that the influencer is an ambassador of.

On a small scale, the influencer doesn’t even really need to commit much to the brand. They simply need to agree to post one picture with the product in some cases. It’s just a spark that can fuel a fire in the influencer world.


Hot Potatoes

Sometimes people set their sights of influencers that are too big. A lot of weight loss teas target the major players that are celebrities. That can be exciting but is it plausible that this person really got their figure from drinking a tea that just came out six months ago? You don’t want to be like Proactive that got major celebrities to endorse it. But, people were left with subscriptions and a product that was really just not effective for major acne sufferers. You need to find people that actually will use the product and have the integrity to endorse it with a good conscience. Find people that aren’t so big that they’re probably not wanting to do some leg work to promote your brand as it should be done.

At the end of the day, you could be left with one big hot potato that you can’t really hold on to because the business is not sustainable. Go for real instead of glitzy and you will get started on a team player relationship with an influencer that holds promise for your brand.

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