If you’re on social media at all, you may have noticed the spike of so-called “influencers”. Whether they’re your own friends or friends of friends, the number of regular people trying to make a living from this increasingly popular marketing trend is staggering. And we don’t really blame them. There are a ton of perks from being a successful social media influencer. Our favourite- getting to stay home and watch The Price is Right (is that show still on?).
But what really constitutes an “influencer”? Is it a ton of followers? Does it have to do with being super wealthy? Is it a picture a day of you shamelessly drinking some tummy-flattening tea or covering your face with that black clay mask? The answer is no to all of the above. It takes a lot more than that.
When we get down to brass tacks, being an influencer is about garnering enough trust from your followers to impact their decisions. When it comes to social media marketing, this usually means buying decisions. It’s basically friendly mind-control (kidding, kind of). Generally speaking though, it’s in large part about leadership.
Whether you want to become an influencer or find one to partner with, knowing the different types of influencers is important. This will help in understanding what type of power they have and how best to interact with them. Here are 5 different types of influencers.
This is probably the most obvious. Celebrities were, after all, the original influencer. With all of their money and fame, people tend to look to celebrities for what’s trendy and hot right now. While they often have the most followers (and thus widest reach), celebrities are great for driving traffic and sales but are notoriously tough to connect with. It’s not like people like Rihanna or Drake have a “Contact Me” button on their social media pages.
If you do have the resources (i.e. a crazy amounts of cash) and connections to collaborate with a celebrity, keep in mind that they may not necessarily be the best bang for your buck. Compared to niche or micro-influencers, celebrity influencers tend to have a much lower engagement rate. Check out our article on why micro-influencers have a leg up on celebrity influencers.
When it comes to getting an amazing (natural) butt, Jen Selter is an authority figure. When it comes to 72-hour marriages, Kim Kardashian has the market cornered. Authority influencers are those who gained the trust of their followers based on their extensive and in-depth experience with a topic. Their connection to the niche goes beyond a hobby. They often write books, do speaking gigs, host podcasts or run their own businesses based around this topic.
The benefit or working with these types of influencers is the distance their recommendation and opinion on something goes. If you’re a cosmetics company, for example, getting a shout out from beauty guru and YouTube sensation Michelle Phan is like hitting the lottery. Because of her authority on all things makeup and beauty, her opinion goes a very long way with her followers.
Social Media “Sensations”
Some people are social media sensations for no other reason than that people like what they’re up to. This includes platform-specific “sensations” who are known for something as specific as how-to hair tutorials to something as general as comedy. If you’re a brand looking to collaborate with this type of influencer, try to find one who is already talking about your product or who likes products similar to yours. Also, make sure that they are on-brand and a natural partnership. There’s nothing worse than working with an influencer whose recommendation screams “I was paid to say this”.
Micro-influencers are social media users who often specialize in a particular niche and use their feeds to share these interests. Unlike traditional influencers, micro-influencers have a much more humble amount of followers ranging from about 1-100k. The thing with these baby influencers, though, is that their followings are ultra engaged compared to their more popular counterparts.
Benefits of working with micro-influencers include their relative low cost, their authenticity, their level of popularity (popular, but not too popular), their creativity, the trust their have with their followers, and their insanely high engagement rates.
Successful bloggers are influencers but influencers are not always bloggers. Let me explain. Bloggers own their entire space (i.e. their blog) where they have complete control over what their followers are exposed to. An Instagram influencer owns only a miniscule sliver of Instagram where people pass through on a much lighter whim. This slight but very important difference gives bloggers much more control and allows them a much higher level of focus from their audience.