What Is a Digital Influencer?

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If you want to launch a successful influencer marketing campaign, then you have to understand the nature of digital influencers and how they can help your brand. These individuals can make or break your promotion efforts, leading you to reach your ROI goals or worry about your remaining budget.

Knowing the difference between a digital influencer and casual social media user, as well as the different types of personalities who can promote your brand, can help you form a successful strategy and build long-term relationships with their followers.

What Is a Digital Influencer?

A digital influencer is someone with a social media following who encourages fans and followers to take action. Notice how I didn’t specify a large social media following? Yes, influencers can include celebrities, athletes, models, chefs, designers and other prominent individuals – but they aren’t limited to those sorts of prominent figures.

One example of well-known personalities are contestants on “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette.” These men and women gain thousands of Twitter and Instagram followers overnight. People are interested in looking like them and seeing what they do from day to day.

It has become a meme within “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” fandoms that some contestants go on TV only to boost their Instagram following because so many promote products and work with brands to exert their influence. From workout regimens to herbal tea, you can find these reality stars promoting products long after the seasons for the shows wrap up.

What Are the Main Types of Influencers?

While the “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” contestants are examples of celebrities, they likely are not the type of influencers you will engage with for your online marketing efforts. Brands need to attempt to collaborate with those who are considered experts in their respective niches. Those who will be willing to interact with various products and services and will reach an audience of people who will take action based on the social media content.

Every brand is different and requires different audience needs and sizes. Knowing the different types of social media influencers can help you choose the right individuals to connect with your brand.

Aspirational Influencers

Aspirational influencers are people that many social media users look up to. They want to be like these personalities and will mimic their behavior in hopes of getting the same results. Well-known health and beauty bloggers are key examples of aspirational influencers. Their fans may try specific products, workouts, or makeup brands in hopes of having the same body type or hairstyle as their digital heroes.

Aspirational influencers tend to be most effective with younger audiences. One study found that 15 percent of people ages 15 to 34 trusted celebrity endorsements and were interested in them, compared to 8 percent of those ages 35 to 49 and 7 percent of those ages 50 to 64. These younger audiences are also the most likely to turn to social media sites such as Twitter or YouTube to get their product recommendations, making them the ideal target for these personalities.

Authoritative Influencers

These are topic experts in their field. While a celebrity may seem like an expert in dieting, you would not turn to them to learn about tax prep software or the best way to invest in real estate.

Authoritative influencers are often used in B2B promotions and in sales of complex products. For example, Fortune 500 CEOs may recommend specific marketing products during a conference or share various productivity tools they use throughout the day online.

Authoritative and aspirational marketing often go hand in hand. People trust authoritative influencers as experts, but like the Fortune 500 CEO, often want to become them some day.

Peer Influencers

Peer influencers are also referred to as micro-influencers and tend to make up the majority of digital influencers online. These personalities are also some of the most powerful promoters. Micro-influencers are people whom we consider to be our equals. A great example of this user type is mom bloggers. They go through the same trials and tribulations as any parent: healing sick kids, trying to cook for their families, and worrying about the best schools for their children. They face the same challenges you do, and they’re ready to offer their advice from what they learned.

These users also fall into highly niche groups. They may be industry experts or hobbyists, and they often focus on one particular topic. Even though they may have only a few hundred followers, they have high influence levels because people listen to them and take action. Their personal relatability builds high trust levels with their audiences and makes them effective personalities who command change.

Develop Your Promotion Strategy Around Influencer Types

Once you understand the various social media personalities available to you, you can start to develop a marketing plan around them. You can categorize potential candidates for your campaigns and pair them with your products or channels for maximum effectiveness. Before you know it, you could be an influencer marketing pro, driving high-quality traffic and sales to your brand.



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