There’s no question that social media is taking over marketing for almost every industry imaginable. It has exploded over the past several years and companies without a social media marketing platform are suffering – that’s how important social media has become. In fact, influencer marketing grew by one billion dollars from 2017 to 2019, and many new companies have appeared offering a range of services that meet the demands of influencer marketing. It’s now estimated to be an $8 billion business.
It’s not simply a case of posting to social media, as many companies are finding. It’s finding the right influencers to post for you in order to reach larger audiences and provide credibility that most new social media users simply don’t have. Let’s look at some unique ways to find social media influencers for your industry niche – and find them in minutes!
What is a Social Media Influencer?
So what exactly is a social media influencer? It’s a person who uses social media and has established great credibility in a specific industry. They have access to large audiences and have the ability to persuade others due to their enormous reach, their resources and their authenticity.
They use their social media platform to promote products and services of various brands. The influencer is able to impact an individual’s purchasing habits due to his or her authority or their relationship with target customers. The goal of most companies is to find an expert who has an online social media following and can promote their products and services.
There are many different kinds of influencers, including well-known celebrities like politicians and artists, “macro-influencers” who have less than 1 million followers, “micro-influencers” who have a minimum of 500 followers and others.
Social Media Cybersecurity Issues
Influencers can drive customers using social media, but there are some cybersecurity issues companies need to be aware of. Internet hacking is one problem, and data can be breached on the influencer’s followers. Data like names, phone numbers, email addresses and birthdates have all been hacked, along with unsecured passwords.
Another, larger problem is fake influencers who can evade being detected. Instagram, for example, has a problem with people buying fake followers, so influencer vetting is one of the most important things to do before delving into any influencer marketing campaign.
One way to vet a supposed influencer is through online tools like Nuwber, where you can reveal the true identity of a person who claims to be a legitimate influencer. Using phone numbers and other data, you’ll be able to find their real name and information, which may or may not be who they claim to be.
Another way a company can protect itself from fake influencers is to use an influencer marketing agency. They generally have data security policies in place that can weed out fake influencers, and have the experience needed to find authentic influencers. They also adhere and comply with FTC regulations and run FTC compliant campaigns.
Several top influencer marketing agencies include Viral Nation, Go Fish Digital, Obviously, SugarFree and others.
There are other issues and dangers with using influencers. For example, there are inauthentic partnerships. The influencer claims they have a solid relationship with their audience, but the reality is they don’t. There are also ethical conflicts, when the influencer is paid to represent your brand and they end up doing things you don’t want reflected on your company. If that happens, you’ll end up with an influencer induced ethical problem.
If an influencer is involved in scandals or other issues, it can hurt the company he or she is working for. Think about Tiger Woods, who was an influencer for Nike, Tag Heuer and others. He was accused by many of infidelity, which put a bad light on the companies he represented. It was estimated that the investors who used Woods in advertising lost $12 billion as stock prices dropped, and additional millions in social media accounts as followers dried up.
Fake followers are another problem companies have to deal with. There are websites that offer “follower packages” or “genuine likes” to help influencers appear more popular than they really are. They use inactive accounts or bots on a person’s follower list, but it skews the numbers and they’re phony.
Finally, problems crop up when influencers change. After all, influencers are human, and they can wake up one morning and decide they don’t want to represent your brand any more. Or their lifestyle changes and it’s inconsistent with a company’s product or service, and when their followers find out it will hurt your social media campaigns.
Working with Agencies vs. Software
For many companies and brands, the choice is either to work with an influencer marketing agency or use influencer marketing platforms, which is software. But there are significant differences between the two.
If you’re not familiar with influencer marketing platforms, they’re designed to provide influencer discovery tools for brands, and some are able to offer searchable databases of potential influencers by using algorithms. Some of the more notable platforms include Famebit, BuzzStream, Heepsy and others.
One of the problems with influencer platforms is that they offer a limited selection. They can help companies find micro-influencers, who work hard to monetize their social media followers, but celebrity influencers and macro influencers are much harder to find using those platforms.
The top influencer marketing agencies have access to many of the world’s top social media influencers, which is something you won’t find with software. The agencies also have experience vetting and selecting influencers who are appropriate for a brand’s particular image and marketing strategies.
Another advantage of having an influencer marketing agency is that they can develop a creative strategy for a company. With software, the company has to generate the creative strategy before anything can be accomplished. With an influencer marketing agency, you can grow and refine your marketing campaign over time. The other advantage to having an influencer marketing agency is that they can save you a lot of time and money searching for the top influencers. You’ll be able to draw upon the agency’s knowledge and experience in finding the right influencer, and using him or her in the best ways.
Social media influencers can be a great advantage in promoting a company’s product or service. Using influencer agencies is the fastest way to find the right influencer for most companies.