What are influencers and why are they crucial for the growth of their business?

If you’ve been staying up-to-date on the news in the world of marketing, advertising, or business, or just spend a lot of time online, you’ve probably heard the terms “influencer,” “social media influencer,” or “influencer marketing” before. As more and more people spend a greater part of their day online, they have begun to use the Internet not only as a means of connecting and communicating with people or for entertainment, but also as a reference and guide to determine their shopping habits and where and how to spend their money. In tandem, the concept of “influencers” has become an increasingly popular buzzword as well. But what is an “influencer” or “microinfluencer?” According to Pixlee, “Influencer Marketing is a form of marketing that focuses on targeting key industry leaders to drive brand message and awareness to a specific market of consumers.”

Top of images shows icons for a variety of social media platforms including Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, Vimeo, WordPress, and Twitter. Below, a quote from the article reads: "They can be actors, models, music artists, designers, athletes, journalists, talk show hosts, reality tv stars, authors, bloggers, podcasters, and so on -- anyone who has a recognizable name and face, and some sort of online following of fans who respect them, admire them, and value their thoughts, opinions, and advice."

Why you should use one?

Why use influencer marketing? Forbes explains. Personal recommendations, they found, from someone you trust and respect — even if they’re a stranger and even if they’re being financially compensated for saying so — is the number one factor affecting how people choose to use their money. Moreover, influencer marketing achieves the following all at once: provides you with creative content, earns you credibility, and helps you gain exposure through another person’s (often quite large) network.

Where can you find them?

Influencers can be found almost anywhere and everywhere, in virtually every industry and on every social media platform. They can be actors, models, music artists, designers, athletes, journalists, talk show hosts, reality tv stars, authors, bloggers, podcasters, and so on — anyone who has a recognizable name and face, and some sort of online following of fans who respect them, admire them, and value their thoughts, opinions, and advice. However, there are two platforms in which the concept of the influencer has really taken off in recent years, Instagram and YouTube. The people who make waves on these platforms are foodies, home chefs, dietitians and nutritionists, beauty gurus, fitness instructors, DIYers, interior designers, life coaches, comedians, gamers, photographers, philosophers, activists, and more. CloutDaily has a great piece about the top microinfluencers on Instagram.

A collage of four different photos. The first and largest features a hand holding a smartphone showing a series of photos against a background of a laptop. The other three show a tan brunette woman in a white long-sleeved shirt at the beach, smiling slightly as she looks directly into the camera while one arm is casually slug across her head, a blue house with a green lawn and white picket fence against a blue sky with white clouds, and finally, the dark silhouette of a hiker as he climbs a mountain while the sun rises on the horizon behind him.

Some names you might recognize in this sphere (or not, depending on how much time you spend on the social Internet, what your interests are, and what kind of creators you follow), are Huda Kattan, a beauty blogger, Cameron Dallas, an Internet personality who even has his own show on Netflix, Joanna Gaines, who you might know best from HGTV’s show Fixer Upper, but who also has a substantial online following, or Louis Cole, a travel blogger who documents his travels all over the world.

On YouTube, you might find influencers such as German Garmendia, a comedian and musician with a whopping 33.1 million followers, or Ruben Doblas Gundersen, a gamer who posts videos of himself playing video games, reviewing them, and providing comedic commentary along the way.

However, you don’t need to attract world-famous influencers (or spend thousands of dollars doing so) in order find people who will promote and benefit your brand or business. In fact, if you are a smaller, local company, finding smaller, local influencers may actually be a better fit (and ultimately have a better pay-off) for your business (like creators right here in Flagstaff!).

How can you get influencers on your team?

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And there’s many ways to get them on your side. The number one way — and probably the most obvious one — is to offer to pay them directly in exchange for representing your brand (such as wearing a t-shirt with your logo on it), or putting together a social media post reviewing a product or service you sell and talking about their experience working with you, or star in a commercial for your brand — the same way, say, athletes have been promoting brands like Gatorade and Nike for years now. However, you can also offer to provide them with something else of value instead of money. For example, suggesting, “we’ll give you a free wine tasting at our winery if you post about it on Instagram.” Moreover, if you are able to build a strong personal relationship with them, or if you know they already love your brand or have mentioned it before, you may able to benefit from their status without even having to spend your hard-earned cash. Sometimes, even just making them aware of your brand and what you do can be enough to pique their interest and help to reach new audiences and potential customers.

When you should be cautious (and how to avoid potential pitfalls)

However, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when deciding who to choose to represent your brand. Believe it or not, there are some influencers who may have “purchased” their followers and fans, meaning that some portion of their supposed “audience” are actually fake profiles created by themselves or someone else (not authentic, actual fans). In order to counter this — and to get the biggest bang for your buck — you should look for influencers that have a high level of engagement with their followers. Regardless, these influencers are much more valuable than ones that one that has many followers but little engagement. You should also ask to know audience demographics and to include tracking links — their audience should align with your target market and make sense for your brand and your industry. Finally, give your influencer(s) a little leeway to just do their thing. Having influencers produce content for you works best when you provide them the editorial freedom to use their own unique voice and when they genuinely believe in and support you and what your company does.

Want more information or need help finding the influencer who’s right for you? Mountain Mojo Group works with influencers from around the world. Contact us at 928-440-5301 to find out how an influencer can help you boost your brand.

Mountain Mojo Group is located in Flagstaff, Williams, the White Mountains, and Page, Arizona and provides top-quality marketing solutions and design! Our team works with small businesses all across the state of Arizona, providing a variety of marketing and design services including, social media management, photography, videography, strategy, web design, graphic design, SEO, and paid search engine marketing. Our team of creatives is ready to tackle your next marketing project. Contact our team today at (928) 440-5301 or stop by one of our offices located throughout northern Arizona.