What is an influencer? - Dotdynamic
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Influencer Marketing

Influencer Marketing

If you read our recent post on 2018 digital marketing trends, then you will already be familiar with the term ‘influencer’. Influencer marketing has grown in the last number of years, which is no surprise since we’re spending more time online daily.

What is an influencer?

In simple terms – an influencer is someone who for one reason or another has amassed a sizeable digital audience because of their expertise in a specific area, relatability and likeable personality. This could be anything from gaming (jacksepticeye), to health and fitness (The Lean Machines). They have come to be a massive source of inspiration for their followers regarding what they buy and the places they go.

What makes an Influencer an asset for your business?

  1. Compared to celebrities, who for years were the go-to for many marketing companies to promote new products, influencers have an incredibly loyal following across their social channels. A report conducted by Defy Media shows that 62% of 18 to 24 year old’s would buy a YouTuber endorsed product vs a celebrity. Many consumers have come to believe that celebrities are only pushing a product because they’ve been paid to and doubt their authenticity. Influencers, on the other hand, tend to command more trust and their followers have confidence in them when they rave about a product or promote a service.
  2. Unlike traditional advertising which can be considered pushy and disruptive, influencer marketing meets your target audience where they’re already paying attention. As more consumers use technology, such as ad blocker to filter out ads, reaching those potential customers can become increasingly difficult. As more users instinctively skip or block ads and become desensitized to marketing messages, working with influencers has become a natural next step in extending reach and brand trust, particularly with younger audiences.
  3. The trust an influencer’s audience places in them is one that can’t be bought or replicated. They look up to them and can relate to them. The majority of influencers are just regular people who happen to have an online following who like the content they’ve been creating. That content could be YouTube videos, Instagram posts, Snapchat stories or a combination of all three. Working with an influencer to promote your product is a natural way to get it out there and land in front of consumers who you may never have reached otherwise.

Why should you do your research before working with an Influencer?

  1. Do your homework before approaching an influencer. A high number of followers can be impressive and may seem like a quick and simple way to instantly boost the visibility of your product to thousands of people, but in some cases, a large percentage of these followers could be bought, i.e., fake followers. Take Instagram for example; if an account with 411k followers doesn’t have the interaction to match, this could be a warning sign of a purchased following. Low levels of likes and comments or very generic comments on pictures can be a tip-off because purchased followers don’t like images. Bot followers tend to have usernames containing numbers and their accounts have no posts or profile pictures. You want to be sure you’re partnering with a real influencer otherwise you won’t receive the exposure you want.
  2. An influencer who has a high level of interaction with their audience makes a greater impression than someone who just has a lot of followers. They have a genuine relationship and feel like they know them because they’re regularly engaging with what they’re sharing and communicating through comments etc. You want them to be engaging in the content the influencer produces otherwise it’s just falling on deaf ears. As mentioned in our 2018 trends post, sometimes the influencer with a smaller, focused audience can make a more significant impact in the long run.
  3. Don’t try to have an influencer endorse your product if they don’t believe in it or if your product or service will seem out of place within their content. Make sure your product or service fits in with their audience and the type of material shared. Otherwise, you won’t make the impact you expect to.

Why should your influencer be transparent about working with you?

  1. If you begin working with an influencer, it’s important to remember that there are guidelines and regulations in place that require influencers to be transparent about paid sponsorships. If they don’t disclose this, they could be opening you and themselves up to legal trouble for misleading consumers and breaching consumer protection laws. Not only that, but there could also be a potential backlash from their followers who feel deceived and lied to because they didn’t know it was a promotion.
  2. In the USA the FTC has guidelines in place to ensure everyone sticks to the rules. Similarly, in the UK and Ireland, YouTube videos, Snapchat stories and Instagram posts by influencers must display clearly if its a paid sponsorship or an ad. They must also disclose if they’ve received a free product or service in return for promoting them on their social channels. Rules and guidelines are continually changing as influencer marketing grows and transparency is blurred.


Working with an influencer can be a great way to get your product out there in front of your target audience, it’s cost-effective and provides you with additional content that you can repurpose for your business’s social media when an influencer campaign has run its course.
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