Not so long ago, mainstream advertising belonged to corporations and big companies. Marketing and advertising budgets concentrated on radio, tv, print and billboards.  However,  with the appearance of digital and social networking came along the rise of new ways of advertising and the growth of digital communities.

What is an influencer?

An influencer is a person that has a lot of power in the social media world.  Once, most big corporations chose to employ celebrities as presenters for their products.   Yet, we all knew that when they appeared on a commercial they were paid to promote these products and usually it wasn’t believable.  Today, on the other hand, influencers build their own community of followers, in their field of interest.  For example, in the field of cooking it’s as simple as making appetizing food, uploading good pictures, adding recipes and helpful tips on how to prepare these dishes.  Very often, if it’s good they become popular, and, as a result, an “influencer” is born along with a community of cooks or “followers”.

What does this mean?

The big advantage of building a community in a particular field is that most of the followers are attracted to the content that is uploaded and believe the advice that is given.  In the “real world”,  most of our purchases are made by recommendations we get from someone that we trust. The same thing happens in the “digital world”.  The bigger and better one is able to build a community, the easier it is to use this person as a presenter for the product. Consequently, if he recommends the product, his followers will most likely want to buy and use it too.

So, what is promotion by using influencers?

Promotion by using influencers has many goals such as creating brand recognition and awareness, generating real sales through links to sale pages and creating a buzz over new products. In the old days, when a commercial was up and running it would be on tv, radio and even in the newspaper. Eventually,  we would receive the message and some of us would even buy the new product and become a paying customer. The advantage of promoting with influencers is you can now target an accurate audience directly. For example, an influencer who likes to workout and exercise can build her own community because her followers like to see how she works out. If one day she uploads a post and lets her followers know that she has bought a new set of weights with which she is very happy, there is a good chance that some of her followers will go into the same store and buy exactly what she used rather them listening to a commercial on tv or radio. Why? Because her community trusts her.  As a brand, many times this type of promotion is very effective because it converts into a direct sale.

Are the results Immediate?

We have a few different ways to promote with influencers.

1. Brand Awareness – This is the classic and most known type of promotion.  We use this kind of promotion when we want to raise our brand awareness. In other words, in the past, the aim was to advertise in many places so that in the end, someone would get the message and buy.  So too is the aim with raising brand awareness through the use of influencers.  Here, the brand is reinforced since  followers, who after seeing influencers buy and use the product in various situations and differing social media, instinctively , whether consciously or not, want to buy and use the product too.  As with traditional ways to strengthen brand awareness, the results, using influencers, are not always easily measured and may or may not be known immediately.

2. Performance – This type of promotion is aimed at encouraging an immediate purchase. The promotion is done in the form of direct feeds where the influencer uploads content with a link to buy the product . We can see clearly that the purchase was done through a specific influencer. This type of promotion is more measurable and the results can be checked accurately.

How can we know if the influencer’s followers are real?
In social media,  sometimes we can see a large amount of people that have many followers but with a minimum amount of interaction. This phenomenon usually means that these influencers have bought their followers in order to look attractive to companies and brands. Using this type of person as an influencer won’t get the brand any results.  However, there are a few technological solutions to this problem which we use to analyse followers so that we can check the effectiveness of the influencer and if the community is authentic and of high quality. These technical solutions will give the brand an effective result.

How much does a campaign using influencers cost?

Well, the cost is really based on the needs and goals of each individual brand.  One available option is to choose an advertising agency which understands and specializes in this field. The agency’s role is to find the right influencers, build a good, creative campaign and mange it. This option will get effective results but is expensive.
A second option is to use a technological platform that has an active influencer base which has been thoroughly checked.  With this option, you can manage your campaign automatically by signing in and choosing influencers and goals which are relevant for your specific brand.  This option eliminates the need for finding and using a more expensive advertising agency.

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