Here’s How To Identify Your Market As An Influencer
Written by WEIV Contributor, Francesca Cassola
Social media has altered the way that individuals communicate with one another and now businesses have aligned their strategies to profit on how consumers view themselves daily. The introduction of popular social media platforms has transformed the ways we share, digest, and profit from content, allowing the creation of “the influencer”.
An influencer is an individual whose social media content impacts the views and purchasing decisions of those who follow them. Influencers operate on numerous platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and YouTube. They are loosely defined as “normal” people who have a social media following through creating content that satisfies their audience, compared to traditional celebrities who largely have an already built in fan base.
One is labeled as an influencer if they maintain a perfect storm of characteristics. A massive following helps, but this is only a part of the formula. An influencer has a defined niche for their content and is specific to one area. Establishing and maintaining an account that’s consistent in only posting content that aligns with their personal brand is essential. Indecisiveness in consistent posting dates is the quickest way to do damage to your following. Influencers are able to connect with their audience on a personal level, distinguishing them from celebrities. Violating that trust will leave to questions about your commitment.
YouTube personality and makeup entrepreneur, Michelle Phan is a modern day example of the influencer. Here’s how she acquired her six million subscribers and one billion video views.
- In 2007, Phan started recording and uploading videos on how to apply various makeup techniques. Phan was an early adapter into the niche beauty market, which caused her to gain major traction. Her instructions were clear enough that people received positive results from her recommendations and were left wanting more.
- Phan’s direct interaction with her fans was a part of her brand. She created response videos to questions from fans and gave updates on future products in her beauty line. Phan was aware of her audience’s hunger for content and geared her responses to satisfy. Establishing a sense of authenticity and reliability are imperative for an influencer to maintain.
- Phan was committed and consistent. She posted reliable, relatively uniform content, which established a sense of trust between her and her fanbase. Additionally, she incorporated relevant topics and holiday events into her content.
Brands can utilize the audience that an influencer has already built as opposed to having to do the legwork and build an appropriate consumer audience. For this reason, brands pay influencers to advertise or otherwise promote their products in order to reach a wider customer base.
In 2014, Forbes created the following formula to compare the relationship between brands and influencers: “Influence = Audience Reach (# of followers) x Brand Affinity (expertise and credibility) x Strength of Relationship with followers”. While a large following is something that every brand looks for, influencers can only truly be useful if they are viewed by their followers as a credible source to give advice on certain products.
The personal relationship between influencers and their followers result in people connecting a human face to the brands they trust. A company must look for influencers who have audiences that are likely to consume products related to the brand.