September 10, 2021 (Updated: May 4, 2023)
A brand influencer is a person who’s paid to promote a brand. They interact with a company’s audience and their marketing team. Not every influencer needs a tremendous amount of followers to be successful in their role. In the past, only celebrities and dedicated bloggers filled these positions. Now, thanks to social media, almost anyone can become an influencer under the right circumstances and with the right approach.
Influencer marketing is a specific type of social media marketing. It relies on endorsements and product mentions to increase brand awareness and sales.
Influencers are people with a niche social media following of trusted supporters. Because of the goodwill they’ve fostered with their followers, influencers have the ability to shape their audience’s buying practices and decisions through their content and product recommendations.
Brands used to dictate how consumers viewed their companies. In print, radio, and even television advertising, they controlled the content and messages. With social media, consumers have more influence on how marketers approach the advertising process. Consumers today use networks of people who have shared values to get trusted opinions. For this reason, brands that partner with an influencer—someone their target audience sees as reliable—can in turn make the product seem more reliable and appealing. Other benefits of brand and influencer collaboration include:
Influencers have many options when choosing a social platform and home for their content. Instagram is one of the most popular platforms for influencer marketing because it showcases both photos and videos. When the app launched in 2010, it was easier to get featured on the suggestions page for accounts to follow. It was also easier to build a following if a creator had unique photos or content on their profile. This helped brands find people and hire them as influencers.
Now, more creators are competing for influencer opportunities. Trends have changed as content in certain areas has become over-saturated. This has challenged current and aspiring influencers to find new ways to stand out to brands. Typically, the youngest generation on any platform helps set these trends. They may even change platforms—such as moving from Instagram to TikTok—to get more followers or draw better attention to themselves.
Because video plays a key role in influencer marketing, it’s helpful to know how to effectively utilize this type of content. Download CopyPress’ free eBook on video marketing to learn more about this powerful marketing tool.
Influencer marketing is popular because it is financially beneficial for brands. Studies expect the influencer marketing industry to make $13.8 billion by the end of 2021. That’s up from the prediction of $9.7 billion in 2020. Over 75% of brands say they intend to dedicate a specific budget to influencer marketing in 2021. That money funds sponsored posts and content on popular apps like Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and TikTok.
Not every brand influencer has to be an actor, dancer, or celebrity. Broadly, there are three main kinds of influencers. They include:
Casual influencers are people who may not even consider themselves influencers. Within their own circle or niche, they’re known for their taste, expertise, or opinions. Casual influencers may make recommendations or set trends without intention. This type of influencer may be more helpful to small brands or startup companies. These influencers may also trade sponsorship for free products or discounts.
Career influencers run their social media accounts specifically for influencing. They build their personal brands and actively look for sponsorship opportunities to earn an income. They may work with both big and small businesses if the content or campaign fits their own budget and persona.
Passionate influencers combine different elements of casual and career categories. These people love their niche topics. This makes them excited to find sponsorship work. Brands enjoy their enthusiasm, trust, and belief in the products they promote. They’re also valuable to followers because of their relatable attitudes.
Brand influencers use their social media platforms to engage an audience. They earn the trust of their followers and then connect them with brands, products, and services via sponsored brand partnerships. Influencers share their content out through many channels. Some even take advantage of services like content syndication, which we provide at CopyPress.
Brand influencers serve as extensions of a brand. This means that while they’re paid or compensated for their partnerships, they’re not traditional staff members. Many influencers also enjoy and use the brands they promote in real life.
You can follow these steps to start a career as an influencer:
Choose a topic or niche of interest to specialize in. Your subject can be anything from music to fashion to food. It’s a good idea to pick an area where you’re knowledgeable and feel confident posting content or reviewing products. Some people work in two or three related niches. For example, some beauty bloggers may also create fashion or wellness content.
Influencers that are building their personal brands typically post content on one or two social media platforms. This can help you build a following and learn the marketing trends for one area before expanding. Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok are popular channels for new influencers.
Create a business profile on your chosen platforms to market your personal services. Add profile pictures and cover photos that represent your brand identity. You can also write a bio that shares who you are, your niche areas, and your professional contact information.
Conduct online research to find out what’s popular in your niche. Look at trending hashtags and competitors’ posts to understand what your audience wants. You can use analytics to track your own content and check follower responses when you change your routine or post something new.
Use your research to shape a content strategy. Decide how you want your feeds to look and feel to followers. Some influencers share only business content. Others have a mix of personal and professional content on their profiles. Decide what works best for your audience and what is sustainable for your creation and posting habits.
Some studies claim to know the best days and times to post on social media to get the most engagement. While not all influencers follow this advice, most have a regular posting schedule. You may choose to post daily, weekly, or bi-weekly content. You can also use social media scheduling software to share content.
Create a dialogue with your followers on social media in order to build your relationships with them and establish your persona. You might use stories to ask questions or share polls. Consider answering questions or responding to direct mentions. Being an influencer means valuing the community you create, it’s worthwhile to put effort into conversing and engaging with your audience.
Let brands know when you’re open to collaborations. Put the information in your bio or conduct outreach and contact brands you want to work with. Some influencer talent platforms also let you submit credentials and get matched with a brand that shares your niche and values.
There are three common types of compensation for brand influencers. They include:
Ranking influencers can depend on their platform and audience. Trying to compare an Instagram influencer to a YouTube influencer to decide who’s more successful isn’t an equal match. In fact, many of the most successful influencers work across platforms. Some of the best recognized and most successful influencers by follower count include:
This Ukraine-based YouTube channel follows six-year-old Diana and her brother Roma. Their 79.7 million followers tune in for children’s songs, toy reviews, and family vlogs. Diana works with brands like Barbie, Target, and Walmart.
This group of American sports and comedy enthusiasts met in college. They originally gained popularity in 2009 after performing and posting trick shots on YouTube. Now, their 56.5 million followers on the platform enjoy sports stunts, battles, and comedy sketches. They partnered with YouTube’s brand in 2020 to release a documentary called “Dude Perfect: Backstage Pass.” It discusses their journey from a one-hit viral sensation to global recognition on the site.
Charli D’Amelio is a 17-year-old American TikToker. She puts her 10 years of competitive dance experience to use on the app by sharing trending dance videos. As the most-followed TikTok user with an audience of 120.5 million, she often collaborates with her older sister Dixie to promote brands like linktr.ee, Ulta Beauty, and Morphe 2.
Similar to Charli D’Amelio, Addison Rae is a 20-year-old American former dancer who shares trending dance videos on TikTok. She shares lip sync videos and content from brands like Nintendo, American Eagle, and NBC with her 82 million followers.
Huda Kattan is a makeup artist and beauty blogger. Working as an Instagram influencer with a following of 49 million people let Kattan create her own beauty line. She shares makeup how-tos, beauty reviews, and sponsored content for brands like Harrods.
Lele Pons is a Venezuelan-American content creator. She started her influencer career on the now-extinct platform Vine. Pons moved to YouTube before branching out into singing, acting, and writing. She shares content with her 45 million Instagram followers for brands like EyeBuyDirect.
Troye Sivan is an Australian singer-songwriter who started gaining attention in the mid-2000s for his performances on televised singing competitions. As an established musical artist, Sivan also partners with brands for influencer marketing. He shares his original songs with his nine million Twitter followers and partnership content with brands like Optus.
Austin Mahone started his music career on YouTube singing pop covers. He gained 9.1 million followers on Twitter after signing with a record label. Besides promoting his own music, Mahone works with Clubhouse Media Group, an influencer-based marketing and media firm.
Andrew Bachelor, better known as King Bach, is a Canadian-American content creator and actor. Like Lele Pons, he got his start on Vine before moving to YouTube and TikTok. He also has a Snapchat influencer presence.
Frankie Greek is a social producer and content creator. She considers herself a Snapchat journalist. Not only is Greek an influencer, but she also develops Snapchat marketing for brands. Her experience in radio, television, and social media makes her successful in both areas.
Influencer marketing is now a staple in most digital marketing plans. Knowing how to become an influencer can help you determine your own path within this field. By identifying a niche and making yourself available to brands for partnerships, you can start developing your own engaging content.
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