Social media has quickly become one of the most popular and effective means of promoting, marketing, and advertising a new product.  Many social media users have capitalized on the popularity of social media as a source of information by branding themselves as ‘social media influencers’.  

 

What is a Social Media Influencer? 

An influencer is someone who has established credibility in a specific industry.  They have access to a large audience/following and can persuade others through their authenticity and reach.  

Social media influencers have worked hard to brand themselves. They sell their looks, their lifestyle, and access to their lives.  Followers can see what influencers like, where they travel, how they live, who they share their lives with, what their hobbies are, and for our purposes, what products they use/endorse.  Their identity gives authenticity, which is something that businesses and brands can use to market their products.

Influencers who have grown their following have the opportunity to capitalize.  There are two primary means of doing this: affiliate programs or sponsored posts. 

 

Affiliate Programs 

An affiliate program is where a company will have the influencer post/promote their product and provide them with a specific code or link to share with their audience.  For every person who sees the promotion and uses the code/clicks the link and makes a purchase, the influencer gets an agreed upon commission. This is a safer way to work with an influencer because you are only paying them based on the sales they generate.

 

Sponsored Posts  

Sponsored posts are where the influencer is delivered a flat fee for a post/promotion of a product.  This means they are paid an agreed upon amount to advertise a company’s product to their audience regardless of any sales generated by the influencer.  Unfortunately, there are no analytics here, so your business won’t be able to track how effective your partnership was in generating sales. This type of influencer partnership is most effective for brand awareness.

 

Influencers and Your Brand

Influencers and companies can collaborate directly, through an agency, or platform.  Search through social media profiles based on your target audience. If you sell audio accessories, try hashtags like #tech or #headphones.  The more followers an influencer has, the more they will likely ask for in terms of compensation, so be aware of this when checking for follower count.  Use SocialBlade to analyze potential influencers before outreach. You’ll be able to view metrics for engagement and determine if the profile is legitimate and whether followers are real.

You can also reach out to management agencies like OBVIOUSLY or use social platforms such as Octoly, Pixlee, or FameBit to gain access to a database of influencers. Agencies broker deals between companies and determine terms for you. Platforms house a database of influencers, sorted by location, niche, followers, gender, audience size, and more.  This allows a business to simply search for influencers and connect immediately based on their specific needs.  

Fashion Nova, FitTea, HerbaLife, and the infamous FyreFest were all campaigns that took off based on the use of social media influence.  Simply search for any one of these hashtags on social media, and you’ll see what we mean. Famous influencers such as Blacchyna, JWoWW, the Kardashians, and just about the entire cast of TeenMom have been promoting these companies and their products, giving brand awareness to large audiences, and helping to increase their sales exponentially.  

 

Maintaining Control

If you’re growing your own brand, always remain in control of your influencing campaigns.  Whether you are branding yourself or your product, be authentic at all times. Determine your niche and find influencers with audiences that would be interested.  Understand that influencers you work with are direct representations of your brand and what you stand for. Control your network of influencers and ensure they align with what you stand for.  

Some social influencing campaigns are so successful that it leads to a collaboration where the influencer has a branded product from your company.  For example, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was an influencer who advertised Underarmour. Being so successful, Underarmour created an entire collection of gear inspired by “The Rock”.  This is great cross promotion. The influencer’s followers will purchase (offering audience expansion) and yours will too. 

As you can see aligning your product with influencers can help launch you to an entirely new level of visibility.  This is the marketing of our future. Social media is a constantly updated source of everything and everyone that is new and hot.  If you are looking for a new way to promote your product and make your brand known, investing in a network of influencers is an option you should consider.  

 

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