Even though influencer marketing becomes more and more popular, there are not too many “basic” guides about its role and mechanisms. Having that in mind here, at Brybe.com, we decided to keep sharing some of these “basics” with you in a set of our helpful guides – and this is one of them. Today we will talk about probably one of the most elementary – and at the same time most important – things in the entire influencer marketing for anybody who is interested in joining it as a client/company/brand. Who are influencers and what do they actually do?
What is an influencer?
An influencer is someone who has:
- the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of his/her authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with his/her audience – which sometimes leads to creating a connection and/or mutual trust that is stronger than most of the other marketing tools;
- a following in a distinct niche, with whom he/she actively engages. The size of the following depends on the size of his/her topic of the niche, his/her reach, and his/her knowledge about everything that is connected to it.
It is important to note that these individuals are not merely marketing tools, but rather social relationship assets with which brands can collaborate to achieve their marketing objectives – and that is what makes them so “special”. When you build a relation between an influencer and the client, you are sometimes being able to build a livelong trust and understanding that follows and concerns all further buying decisions (or at least some parts of them).
And what about social media channels and social media influencers?
According to We Are Social report for 2019, 3.484 billion people actively use social media – which is about 45% of the world’s population. Even though we have no statistics for 2020 just yet, we are sure – based on the trend from previous years – that this number only kept on growing and here and now it could be that over 50% of the global population is using social media channels.
This simply means that all these people are making some shopping decisions every day and they look after the “authorities” on their favorite social media pages – and that is why social media influencers have such power on these websites. Influencers in social media are people who have built a reputation for their knowledge and expertise on a specific topic. They make regular posts about that topic on their preferred social media channels and generate large followings of enthusiastic, engaged people who pay close attention to their views.
Types of influencers from the brands’ point of view
If you want to distinguish one or more groups of influencers – now when you already know who are they and what they do – you need to pick one of many ways of categorizing them. Since here, at Brybe, we are working with both brands and influencers looking for work – and they know themselves, let’s admit, pretty well – we want to present all these “kinds” of such above all for the companies’ convenience. Having that in mind below we decided to start with a little distinction of influencers from the brands’ point of view – starting with categorizing them by the numbers and the extent of reach they generate.
By number of the followers and the extent of the reach
Mega influencers are the people with a vast number of followers on their social networks. Although there are no fixed rules on how to categorize them between the different types of followers, a common view is that mega-influencers have more than 1 million followers on at least one social platform. When talking about mega-influencers you should also be well-aware that most of them are celebrities who have gained their fame offline – like movie stars, sportspeople, musicians, and even reality television stars. You will not see too many of these here on Brybe simply because they… cost too much. Some marketing strategies indeed include working with mega-influencers, but if you want to promote your brand that is not a multi-million corporation you should always think whether hiring a group of smaller influencers would not be better for you than paying hundreds of millions of dollars to just a one person.
Macro-influencers are one step down from the mega-influencers and the only difference between these two groups is their reach, accessibility, and, of course, their price. Let’s say that all influencers between 40,000 and 1 million followers belong to this group – so these would not be celebrities anymore, but still, some widely-known people that usually built their success online already. Since they are usually considered online experts – since they were able to build bigger audiences than micro-influencers – they work really well with raising awareness of your brand. If you are not-so-known in the world, picking a couple of macro-influencers who will create a good face for your brand and make it recognizable could be a really, really good move. However, you do need to be careful with this level of an influencer. This is the category most likely to engage in influencer fraud – some have only reached their position thanks to the followers they have purchased.
Micro-influencers are usually ordinary everyday people who have become known for their knowledge about some specialist niche. They are enthusiasts of tinkering, cooking, athletes of less popular sports, and so on. Although views differ, you could consider micro-influencers as having between 1,000 and 40,000 followers on a single social platform. They do not build recognition and trust equally meaningful with macro-influencers, yet are able of showing your product to a wide audience of a really specific niche – usually people that are an enthusiast of what they do and are willing to pay a lot for good-quality equipment for their area of interests. Additionally, micro-influencers usually pay a lot of attention to details and may refuse to promote your product if they do not agree with its quality – and it is strictly connected with their small communities that they would have lost if they would have tried to fraud or mislead them.
The nature of influence is changing. Micro-influencers are becoming more common and more famous. Some have risen from virtual obscurity to being nearly as well-known as traditional celebrities. This is particularly the case for Generation Z, who spend more time on the internet than watching television or going to sports or movies. In all reality, micro-influencers are the influencers of the future. The internet has led to the fragmentation of the media into many small niche topics. Even if you are into something relatively obscure, you are likely to find a Facebook group or Pinterest board devoted to it. And it is in these niche groups and boards that micro-influencers establish themselves as genuine influencers. Additionally, such influencers will usually be opened for barter and have a much lower financial requirement.
The newest influencer-type to gain recognition is the nano-influencer. Imagine that you would have started blogging or vlogging about your favorite hobby – which would in time bring you a couple dozens of hundreds of followers… boom, you are a nano-influencer! These people only have a small number of followers, but they tend to be experts in an obscure or highly specialized field. In many cases, they have fewer than 1,000 followers – but they will be keen and interested followers, willing to engage with the nano-influencer, and listen to his/her opinions. Logically, they are the cheapest to hire and their requirements will be the lowest –which does not mean that you can’t expect their coverage to be the highest-quality, as since they are just starting their influencer marketing career and do not have too much of deals going on, they will certainly pay a lot of attention to your request to keep getting such in the future.
By types of content
Bloggers and vloggers
Bloggers and vloggers are influencers in social media who have the most authentic and active relationships with their fans. Blogging and/or vlogging has been connected to influencer marketing for some time now and there are many highly influential blogs on the internet. If a popular blogger positively mentions your product in a post, it can lead to the blogger’s supporters wanting to try out your product – and this could lead to a great opener for fruitful cooperation.
If a blog is large and influential enough, you may be able to buy a sponsored post on their site or on their YouTube channel. This allows you to either write a post yourself or heavily influence the blogger/vlogger to write a post/record a video on your behalf. Unlike a casual mention in a blogger’s post or a guest post you have written – or inside of a vlogger’s video – you will have to pay for a sponsored post (and it is likely to be labeled as such). On the other hand, though, such people are usually really opened for barter exchange and they can get some of your products, try them out, write/record about them… and then just keep it for themselves. It sounds like a really good way of promoting your brand, does not it?
YouTubers and video content creators
Of course, blogs/vlogs are not the only types of popular content on the internet. Another favorite type of content is video – reviews, trailers, comparisons, and all different kinds of video materials different from regular vlogs. In this case, rather than each video maker has its own site, most create a channel on YouTube – which is one of the best ways of promoting your company via influencer marketing. Brands often align with popular YouTube content creators, as outside YouTube they might not be as popular and they are opened for cooperation that could bring them mutual profits and both allow them to make some cash and boost their channel.
Podcasting is a relatively recent form of online content that is growing in popularity – are more and more people suffer the limited amount of time and they do not have enough of it to watch a video or read an article while listening to a podcast is doable everywhere and you can, for example, do it when riding to your working place. We believe that podcasters might have their best times still before them and that sooner or later in some form they might become equally popular to some of the YouTubers or vloggers actively working in social media influencer marketing.
Influencers posting social media news only
Of course, bloggers, vloggers, podcasters, and YouTubers rarely rely solely on their existing audiences to just turn up to their site, hoping there is new material. They usually promote new posts or videos heavily on social media – which makes most of these bloggers, vloggers, and content creators micro-influencers as well. In fact, the vast majority of influencers now make their name on social media. While you will find influencers on all the leading social channels, the standout network in recent years has been Instagram, where many influencers craft their posts around a stunning image – which is sometimes just a picture bought from stock and they basically build their post on 0 content. Working with such people is going to be much cheaper for a brand and could be a great option if you want to be sharing some short messages like promo codes and deals with a possible as a large audience through social media platforms.
By level of influence
Mentioned above as a part of the mega-influencers group, celebrities are indeed a part of influencer marketing. Even though they might seem to you like one of the best options to hire, it is actually quite a contrary – they come from the old, original model of marketing, and even though their role in the influencer marketing business is noticeable, it fades every day and becomes less and less meaningful when compared with mega-, micro- and even nano-influencers. Everyone knows who a celebrity is so let’s leave that undescribed – let’s just say that celebrities may have many fans and gigantic social media followings, however, it is debatable exactly how much real influence they hold over those who follow them.
Key opinion leaders
Journalists, academics, industry experts, professional advisors… all these kinds of experts belong to this group. Industry leaders and thought leaders gain respect because of their qualifications, position, or experience about their topic of expertise. They “mean” something in this world and everyone interested in their specialization looks after their opinions – and thus they can easily become influencers “out of nowhere”, simply by having the attention of a lot of people even before joining social media channels whatsoever. On the other hand, though, the fact that many of them have built up their reputation offline could mean that they do not have such a large or active social following – thus making them a rather “inefficient” social media influencers and more of experts that you could go to when looking for a piece of advice for your brand.
Regular people with above-average influence on their audience and followers
You, me, everyone else – we all have opinions, but it does not mean that they are being listened to. These guys are different – when they speak, everyone around listens since they are considered experts in their niche, and even though usually they are not really connected to it publicly and are just doing that as their hobbies. Regular people with above-average influence on their audience and followers have the best communication skills and engagement with their audience. They have enticed their followers and become recognized as experts in their field. Their follower numbers very much depend on their subject of expertise. However, you will find that these people have incredibly high followings in comparison to others in their niche – which is a good starting point when finding a good one of yourself and looking to hire one of them for your social media campaigns.
And how to find them all?
As you can see, there is plenty of fish in the sea and you can pick whatever suits you best by all means necessary. Whether you are aiming to hire a celebrity, a key opinion leader who’s a blogger or a super-popular vlogger, or maybe a micro-influencer who would have shown your newest product to a small niche of his devoted followers – you will find them all here at Brybe. We are opened for all different kinds for influencers and we keep on recruiting new of them in all different types and kinds – so we are sure that amongst our ever-growing list of influencers you will certainly find a one (or more?) fitting your needs and suitable for building a bright future of your brand.