What Is Influence? A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Influencers

If Kim Kardashian tweets about how much she loves a new LA coffeehouse, you can bet those barista’s are in for one hell of busy day. That’s called influence and believe it or not, you don’t have to be a celebrity to have it. In the social media world, there are influential leaders, called “influencers,” who though great social content, have garnered a high following and extensive reach. These influencers can be marketing gold if utilized correctly by a brand, and can cash in on a pretty penny just for sharing their opinions.

Influencers aren’t just popular on social media, they have an incredible impact on their followers attitudes and brands are widely recognizing their value. This is why many marketers are increasingly including them in their marketing strategies. Because of the heightened popularity that influencers are receiving these days, everyone wants to have the coveted position without understanding the criteria of the role. So what does it mean to have true influence?

Beyond likability, these are essential characteristics of influencers: 
They are experts. Influencers tend to have a niche or field of expertise. Whether it’s technology, fashion, food, or wellness, influences have taken the time to immerse themselves in knowledge of the industry. This education involves actively researching and staying abreast to any new information or releases in the field.

They are highly involved. Influencers are deeply connected with their tribes. By engaging with their audiences they are able to have the most influence and impact. According to SimplyMeasured.com, the 3 keys to engagement are relevance, reach, and resonance. Therefore, community engagement is a key factor to successfully influence someone. 
They are the consumer. At the end of the day, influencers are consumers who just possess referent power. They have been appointed leaders because of their ability to relate and persuade their community, but they still hold the same beliefs and values of their audience.

When selecting influencers to work with your brand, it’s important to remember that a person giving sound advice or having product knowledge is not enough. They need to possess all of the qualities listed above and simply have that ‘it’ factor to attract and persuade their audience to heed their advice.

What does influence mean to you? Who are influencers you trust in your industry? Let us know in the comments below.

Originally published at ourlmsblog.tumblr.com.