(Part 2/ 3 on the topic)
“A trusted referral is the holy grail of advertising”- Mark Zuckerberg
(In the last part of the three-part series, we got to know about niche and niche communities. This part is about Influencers.)
The tribes of Influencers
Influencers wield power: the potent power that can affect/ influence the purchasing decisions of others. Influencers heft power thanks to one of the following aspects or a combination of them:
- Relationship with his/ her audience
Social media influencers are a brand unto themselves. They are not another marketing tool or a talking billboard. That is because, the person may have his or her independent, self-interest oriented, priorities when it comes to his own brand sanctity and positioning that may come from his association with a brand. In other words, they are Social Relationship Assets worth collaborating with which may help you achieve marketing objectives.
Influencers live and take breath in the social media and enjoy a wonderful reputation, thanks to their command of the niche they are into. Yes, first of all, they have superlative expertise in their area which they demonstrate so often in their community and have a decent following. They can be trend setters and have the power to give traction to the brands.
And guess what, the virtual world has more than 4 billion accounts on social media. That is a parallel planet we are talking about. This ‘virtual earth’ is a great marketing opportunity for brands who want to expand more and more and more.
Money is generally hard earned and people need more than a simple value proposition to let them part with it. We are not talking about impulse buying over the counter. Far from it, we are talking about complex buying decisions. He or she may need an assurance or guarantee that the value proposition is credible. This is where Influencers come into picture. All it may take is a soft nudge, the final push which result in a partly made-up mind to shift the delicate fence-sitting of yes or no to tilt towards a decisive, emphatic yes.
1. Niche of operation
2. Follower numbers
3. Content type
4. Level of influence
Influencers may be categorised as per the above-mentioned parameters.
At the close of the day, Influencing is a game of number and scale: quantitatively but also qualitatively.
|Influencer type by follower numbers
|Mega Influencers: 1 million followers or more
|Celebrities Movie stars Sports people Reality television stars
|Generally, only major brands approach mega influencers.
|Macro Influencers: 40K to 1 million followers
|B-grade celebrities Online experts
|Generally, wield a high profile and can be excellent at raising awareness.
|Micro Influencers: 1000-40K
|Knowledgeable about/ expertise in a specialist niche
|Can be highly effective in Influencing
|Nano Influencers: Less than 1000
|Expertise in highly specialised niche areas
|Carry tremendous sway with a small number of people.
Mega Influencers, when they offer a marketing/ advertising service in a collaborative mode may charge you heavily.
$1 million a social media post is not unheard of!
When it comes to Macro Influencers it is easier for tier 2, tier 3 brands to approach them. A word of caution is not misplaced here: reports suggest that this category may fake following thereby engaging in Influencer fraud. Some of the fraudsters resort to purchasing followers.
Micro Influencers, meanwhile have a level of influence with deep seated roots in terms of relationship and interaction with their followers. They have carefully cultivated following and want their followers to benefit from their sales recommendations. They will not want to harm their reputation by suggesting something spurious, be it a product or a service. Some of them may do it for free while others may demand a certain amount of payment for promotion.
They, coupled with Nano Influencers constitute the future of marketing. The Internet Media is now a fragmented place with niche communities ruling the roost.
Unlike any time in the past, even if one is into something totally obscure or even weird, one is highly likely to find an FB group or reddit subgroups dedicated for the same. And it is here that Micro Influencers call their shots.
The only challenge is that when it comes to marketing products/ services that need high-volume sales/ subscriptions, the Nano Influencers need to be approached in droves. The case may not be that different for Micro Influencer category as well. But it makes perfect sense to approach them if your product is niche and the Influencer is totally into it.
Influencer marketing (also known as influence marketing) is a form of social media marketing involving endorsements and product placement from influencers, people and organizations who have a purported expert level of knowledge or social influence in their field. – Wikipedia