The internet appears to be swarming with social influencers these days—whether it’s bloggers with a huge following, famous people taking part in brand deals or even YouTube stars who do nothing but record their daily lives and upload to the internet.
It’s no wonder, then, that so many brands are climbing over themselves to partner with these people, who have built huge followings of engaged individuals—something that most people can only dream of.
As there are so many to choose from, how can you be sure you’re connecting with the right influencer for your brand?
The state of influencer marketing
Before we start looking at the types of influencers and what they are good at, it’s definitely worth a look at how influencer marketing is performing as a whole.
According to a survey created by Collective Bias, around 70 percent of the Millennial generation have their buying decisions influenced by their peers—that’s a huge proportion of people relying on others to recommend new products to them!
Facebook stands to be slightly ahead of YouTube in the battle for the most influential social platform, with 19 percent and 18 percent of consumer purchasing being influenced by posts on the platforms by influencers.
It’s also worth noting that influencers don’t strictly have to be humans. Mars Petcare conducted a survey and found that 30 percent of pet owners interact with celebrity animals, too!
Influencer type: Authority
Now that we know how popular influential marketing techniques are and how many people seek out the influence of others in order to move along the buying process. Now we can get onto the three main types of influencers that you will probably come across while delving further into the world of influencer marketing.
First up is a group of influencers who are often forgotten about which, ideally, shouldn’t be. People who are an authority in your area of expertise are naturally the ideal people to outreach to for influencer marketing; they have a presence, they have a following and they are also most likely pretty active on their social channels, too.
Because of their star status, as it were, it can seem impossible to actually get anything out of an interaction with them and this turns many people away from actively trying to approach them. However, as with all outreach opportunities, if you go about it in a polite and approachable manner, there’s nothing to say that the authority won’t acknowledge your request.
Influencers of authority are highly valuable, not only because of their status in the industry but also for SEO purposes. A link from an authoritative source back to a brand can be incredibly important for ranking factors, especially with a .edu or a .gov source.
Influencer type: Advocate
Many social influencers fall under this category, and they are one of the two most popular types of influencer that brands reach out to.
Advocates are usually individuals who have a strong vocal preference for a brand or brands, or a type of product or service already. Chances are that they are already influencers for other brands, so when reaching out, it’s important to establish any relationship that may hinder the promotion of your brand (e.g. a competitor).
They are a popular choice because they are actively looking for new brands to become a voice for, and they are much more approachable and willing to converse than authoritative influencers. Bloggers, vloggers, Instagram influencers—they are all advocates.
The more genuine the advocate is about a product, the more genuine their content will be, so make sure you’re approaching the right people for your brand. Targeting someone simply because they have a large following may seem like a good idea, but if that particular audience doesn’t have any interest, you will be wasting valuable time and effort on people who won’t pay much attention to your brand.
Influencer type: Celebrity
Brands are always on the lookout for celebrity endorsement; they are the most influential people with masses of followers who are hanging on their every word and waiting to jump on the next trend that their idols are following.
Celebrity influencers don’t necessarily have to have anything to do with your brand at all. Think about the perfume adverts you see on TV—do you really think that these celebrities walk around wearing various different perfumes on a daily basis? If they do, then we’d hate to walk past them on a windy day—the scent would be an overpowering mismatch!
No, celebrities simply use their status in society to boost your brand and product, and it usually takes very little effort, even if the promotion is them simply wearing your brand’s earrings on the red carpet or even hosting a giveaway.
Celebrity endorsements can be great for your brand and brand image, but with it can come the stigma that you are “selling out”, so it’s essential that you handle the endorsements carefully and choose the perfect celebrity image for your brand.
Which should you choose?
Depending on your brand and what you want to achieve, your budget and the needs of your marketing strategy.
You can never go wrong with authority, especially as any links back to your website are like gold dust for your rankings. If you have a mid-range budget and simply want to boost your brand awareness and encourage people of a specific demographic to invest in your products, advocate influencers are ideal. Celebrity endorsements are for the braver brands, and often work if the celebrity has been chosen for their love of a similar product—the more into it you are, the more enthusiastic you will be, and the same goes for celebrities.