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Influencer Marketing: A Series. Part 1: An Introduction

By Kadence Influencer MarketingPublished on May 10, 2019

“Influencer marketing” has become somewhat of a buzz concept on the recent marketing landscape. The idea of persons influencing others to take action or make purchasing decisions however, is not a new one, but it is one that has evolved, especially in the age of social media.

Influencer Marketing: A Series. Part 1: An Introduction

An Introduction

“Influencer marketing” has become somewhat of a buzz concept on the recent marketing landscape. The idea of persons influencing others to take action or make purchasing decisions however, is not a new one, but it is one that has evolved, especially in the age of social media.

In this article, we’ll focus more specifically on “Social Media Influencers” since that has become the dominant trend and vehicle for modern influencers and the brands that attempt to partner with them.

Social Media Influencer

We can define a social media influencer as someone who has organically developed their personal brand on social media platforms such that they connect strongly to a network of followers in an authentic fashion.

These social media influencers take the time to craft and curate their online personalities/brand (sometimes considered one and the same) and to align it with a certain lifestyle and industry whether it be travel, fashion, photography or business, to name a few of the more popular categories. Herein lies one of the first ways that we might be able to distinguish a social media influencer from the traditional brand ambassador. Brand ambassadors typically come from many areas and professions and grow to the point where they are seen as influential, e.g. movie personalities, musicians and other entertainment celebrities. The difference however is that these individuals did not set out with the goal of becoming an influencer, the benefit of being influential developed with the territory.

And while we’re all familiar with the most popular of social media influencers such as Kim Kardashian and Kendal Jenner, many times the large majority of powerful social media influencers are people that you most likely have never heard about (and that are much less scandalous).

Influencer marketing then, can be defined as brands partnering with these influential personalities to drive the awareness and engagement of their product or service, ultimately leading to increased sales. What makes these social media influencers appealing to brands? Two of the key attributes that attract brands to social media influencers are authenticity and credibility within their brand space.

As the millennial target segment becomes more important and their purchasing power and decision making power increases (with Generation Z close behind), it has been seen that many traditional marketing channels and strategies no longer resonate with these target groups. The traditional television or radio advertisement is seen as an attempt by a brand to sell you. Of course, there’s also the fact that many persons have turned away from the traditional channels of media consumption altogether.

Social media influencers therefore, represent an opportunity for brands to have a more authentic conversation with their target customers, one that feels more real, and one that engages them within the online spaces they currently occupy. It’s the opportunity to have relevant conversations with your target audience without interrupting their consumer journey.

In part two we dispel some myths associated with social media influencers and pay more attention to the specific ways in which they differ from the traditional brand ambassador model.