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The Different Types of Influencers

When it comes to marketing, nothing is as explosively effective as reaching out to influencers. While it helps to drip in leads through a targeted advertising campaign for your content, this rarely leads to dramatic returns and is better for gradual, slow growth. More significant, sporadic, and exciting growth awaits by forming connections and collaborating with those who have an audience overlapping with your demographics.

However, reaching out to the wrong sorts of influencers for your business will be less effective or an outright waste of time. Though there are many ways to qualify influencers, you can best divide them into three key groups. Take a look below and you’ll see how each of these groups functions, what they respond to best, and whether they apply to your business and campaign. We’ll also go over some tips for reaching out to each of these types to get a “yes” more often, and to maximize results.


Well suited to big brands with a broad or global audience, celebrities hold a lot of weight worldwide or in specific regions. Everyone’s seen famous people in commercials for products, and it really works to draw attention, but there are important drawbacks to consider. For one, they can also get into scandals or controversy that might rub off on your brand. Celebrities are also busy, there are no sure-fire ways to get seen, and you will likely have to make it worth their while to prioritize working with you over the other offers they get.

Despite these issues, one celebrity endorsement could shoot a small or medium-sized business into the big leagues. Celebrities who are somehow related to what you offer are ideal, such as a famous country musician supporting an American, hand-made guitar business. Even if you can’t be that picky, a celebrity who merely likes your product enough to work with you is like striking gold, even if the connection seems a little tenuous.

A celebrity can reach out all through the world, bridging the gaps of age, gender, income, and more. If you want to work with a celebrity, remember that their image is also a type of business, so come up with an idea that makes you both look great and that suits their personal brand. Always do your research! A bad offer, such as beef jerky to a vegan, could lead to them getting offended and calling you out.

Industry Experts

Image via Flickr by tylerhoff

While Celebrities are connected to millions of people through fandom, there tends to be less relevance between them and the businesses they partner with compared to other options. Enter: the expert influencer. These people, groups, businesses, etc. have a significant following, albeit usually smaller than a celebrity’s. The strength of experts, however, is that everyone connected to them is interested in their industry, whether it be new technology, health and fitness, video games, or anything else.

Experts are a great fit for social media campaigns, as their posts tend to get much higher engagement than those by celebrities. Experts are also often trendsetters, so they make a great fit if you’re looking to launch a new product or business.

Just consider that you will have to reach out to a number of experts in related industries, most likely, before you get a response. A business that sells affordable off-market antiques online may be appealing to experts in the furniture, home decorating, gift-giving, and historian industries, for example, but none are a perfect fit. Don’t make your first interaction an offer to work together. Instead, engage with their content, showing your involvement in their space, and then reach out once you have a great idea that you know would appeal to them.

Niche Influencers

These are the opposite of celebrities, in that they have a relatively smaller audience, but are highly relevant to yours. The best form of niche influencer is someone who is a fan of your business, a passionate customer who also happens to have a relevant blog, social media page, or other place filled with other potential customers. Niche influencers are a wonderful opportunity that no business should pass up, although they are especially worthwhile to businesses that are just starting out and need a mix of engagement and conversions.

Niche influencers have the highest average engagement and conversion rates through the content they release, due to their highly-specific audience. While it may be tempting, do not attempt to use niche influencers solely for sales. Get involved on an even more personal level than with experts, and show that they really mean something to you.

For instance, imagine a developer of educational phone games for toddlers, and a mommy blogger with an audience focused specifically on technology and software for parents of small children. The business could reach out to her and build rapport, but instead of merely asking for a shout-out, they could ask if she and her little boy would like to be early testers for their new app. This is not only more genuine and thoughtful, but it would naturally lead to a more interesting, engaging blog post from her about the experience.

It’ll be a great asset to your marketing if you know which types of influencers are ideal for your products, content, and audience. Always remember to bring value and to consider your offer from their side. Niche influencers usually desire more attention to build their fledgling brand, while Celebrities are as big as they need to be and usually want money or a certain spin on their reputation. Everyone in between will be unique and interested in certain benefits from working with others, so try to figure out what they’d like best and if all else fails, just ask politely.

By filtering out the less viable influencer options for you and staying genuine, you’re bound to make a big splash that could further support your business in the future. That said, don’t be afraid to experiment a little. Even if it seems like niche influencers are ideal for you, go wide once in a while and reach out to a big name, or stay humble with the opposite strategy for a business normally meant for bigger influencers. A celebrity could love what you do enough to freely endorse you, or a niche blogger could go viral. You never know!

About the author

Shane Hall