What is a Social Media Influencer & How They Help Businesses

A guide to successfully collaborating with social media influencers as a brand.

What is a Social Media Influencer & How They Help Businesses

What is a social media influencer & how they help businesses

Successfully working with social media influencers

Social media influencers have been around for a hot minute, but there's still a lot of questions about how influencer marketing can help businesses. Sit back, grab your favorite beverage (whether that's a flat white or a margarita) and let us fill you in on all things social media marketing. Our team stays on trend so we can help your business make the most of working with social media influencers.

Here's what we're covering today:

  • What is a social media influencer?
  • Types of social media influencers
  • How to find the right social media influencer
  • Metrics to measure the effectiveness of social media influencers

Enough chit chat, let's jump in! Before we start, it's super important to spell out what exactly is a social media influencer. It may feel like everyone and their dog are influencers these days...for real, dog accounts get some serious love. Should that pup that sounds like an old man when he barks be the new face of your company? Keep reading to find out!

What is a social media influencer?

A social media influencer is a presence on social media that has established credibility, trust, and has made an impression on one or more social media platforms. These individuals carry weight when it comes to influencing the public's opinion, making purchase decisions, and bring awareness to brands, products, people, places, etc. You get the picture, right? Basically, social media influencers are trusted online figures with a social media presence used to influence others.

Types of social media influencers

What kind of social media influencers are there? Social media influencers can look anything like an everyday person to a world famous celebrity. They can be micro-influencers or macro-influencers with an insane amount of followers.

When thinking about social media influencers, do you imagine #InfluencersInTheWild with a million followers, doing the most ridiculous things in public? Or maybe you thought of the Kardashians. Possibly you have a friend or niece who scored some cool trips collaborating as a travel influencer. We're about to break it all down for you babes.

  • Micro-influencers
  • Macro-influencers
  • Celebrities
  • Industry experts
  • Lifestyle influencers
  • Beauty influencers
  • Fashion influencers
  • Fitness influencers
  • Travel influencers
  • Parenting influencers
  • Gaming influencers
  • Food influencers
  • Activist influencers
  • Niche influencers

Let's get deep and personal. After all, this is social media we're talking about! You're about to learn more than you ever thought there was to know about influencers. Alright, let's get to it!

Micro-influencers: This category of influencer marketing has become a big deal. Size isn’t everything, you know. Brands have realized that individuals with just a couple thousand followers can still make a big splash. Also, these social media influencers can be more cost-effective than a world famous influencer. An individual with a smaller following on social media platforms can be seen as more relatable, while still having power to boost brand awareness, sales, and contribute to business growth. Generally, social media influencers are considered micro-influencers if they have between 1,000 and 100,000 followers. 

Macro-influencers: These are the big dogs. If a social media influencer has over 100K followers, they’re in the macro-influencer category. That means they have a wide network of followers, and they can increase visibility for your business, brand, product, service, or campaign. With a following this big, businesses should check engagement and verify if these followers are real people (bots and buying followers are no bueno) that are interested in the content the social media influencer is putting out there. We’ll dig deeper into what metrics to look at for influencer marketing in just a bit. So keep scrolling, honey.

Celebrities: What’s the difference between celebrities and macro-influencers? Great question! Not all celebrities are influencers, and not all macro-influencers are celebrities. Catch our drift? Celebrities are people like flashy movie stars, singers, mega famous people with talent or great luck. With a fan base and lots of attention, they can be a valuable influencer in the influencer marketing game

Industry experts: You could say you have an amazing product, service, or offering…but of course you’d say that. Now, if you have an expert in the industry vouch for you, people are more likely to trust the quality and value you provide. After all, it sounds much nicer when someone else says something nice about you. An industry expert will be in tune with their audience’s wants and needs and can educate and share all their wisdom about your brand. They’re like superstars in their own arena.

Lifestyle influencers: These are the people who share about their everyday life. Lifestyle influencers share everything from what coffee they drink in the morning to their date night, and everything in between. They’re typically looked to for fashion advice, travel, hotspots, entertainment, inspiration, food and drinks, etc. 

Amazon influencer marketing: An Amazon influencer is someone who collaborates with brands to promote their products on Amazon to their followers. Amazon offers an Amazon influencer program so influencers can create their own digital storefront with shareable links to the amazon products they’re promoting. It makes it easy to track the success of Amazon influencer marketing for businesses using Amazon for fulfillment.

Beauty influencers: With a beauty routine down pat and an endless supply of beauty products, beauty influencers are all the rage! They share makeup tips like the best clean makeup products to use and tricks like makeup contouring. Getting your products in their hands could mean great things for your business, influencers, and their audiences! 

Fashion influencers: Fashionistas are turning heads on social media platforms. From #OOFTD (outfit of the day) to covering the latest fashion trends, fashion influencers are putting their best foot forward…which has the cutest pair of shoes on the market!

Fitness influencers: The world of fitness is full of influencers sharing about nutrition, workout routines, athletic wear, post-workout products, and more. Fitness influencers can be Pilates instructors, gym rats, or athletes- anyone with a public love for fitness and a social media following!

Travel influencers: Jet setting with the nomads of the world, travel influencers have taken the world of social media by a storm. If you’re a business in the hospitality industry, travel industry, or a related industry, there’s no shortage of travel bloggers and influencers you can collaborate with.

Parenting influencers: Mom’s and dad’s are coming in hot with parenting advice on the internet. New parents look to these social media figures for favorite products, parental guidance, and relatable anecdotes. It’s a perfect opportunity for businesses to share products and services geared towards parents engaged on social media. 

Gaming influencers: The gaming industry is ripe for influencer marketing. Gaming influencers share reviews on video games and streaming gameplay. Truly, gamers will watch other people play games and soak up the commentary. 

Food influencers: Social media is full of Foodie’s sharing their favorite bars, restaurants, dishes and recipes. We’re getting hungry just thinking about it! Food influencers are great to have at opening night or to drum up new business.  

Niche influencers: Niche influencers are kind of like industry experts, but way less formal. They likely won’t have the credentials that experts have, but they have a very focused interest and audience on social media. For example, a niche influencer could be a pet influencer who share’s all about their specific breed, what toys and food they buy, etc. Didn’t we tell you? People love pets on social media! If your brand needs a little love, consider collaborating with a pet favorite.

How do you find the right social media influencer?

We all have our favorite social media influencers...and maybe our least favorite too. Social media influencers showcase a lot of personality, and they're not going to be everyone's cup of tea. That's why it's super duper important to find the right partnership, so influencer marketing aligns with your brand and marketing objectives.

Take some time to figure out what you want out of a partnership. Outline budget, goals, terms, type of influencer, and any expectations you have. Clear goals and communication are key to successfully working with a social media influencer as a brand.

Where to find social media influencers

If you have no idea where to start, don't fret. When it comes to finding social media influencers to work with, we've got you covered.

8 ways to find social media influencers:

  1. Social media platforms: Discover social media influencers directly on digital platforms like Instagram, YouTube, X (formerly Twitter). Consider where your audience hangs out and then find a social media influencer who aligns with your brand to partner with.
  2. Influencer Marketing Platforms: These platforms are a great way to identify social media influencers. Popular influencer marketing platforms include Afluencer, Influencity, Meltwater, Upfluence, and Grin.
  3. Google: Good ol’ Google is always coming in handy. Try searching “social media influencers for [your industry]” and find your perfect match.
  4. Social Listening Tools: Social listening can help you find influencers who are getting engagement on topics related to your brand. Hootsuite, Vista Social, and Brandwatch are tools that offer social listening.
  5. Social Media Influencer Conferences: There are conferences and events specifically for social media influencers. It’s a great opportunity to meet people in person and get a feel for their personality and presence. You’ll also be able to access a large number of influencers in a short period of time. We love efficiency!
  6. Word of Mouth: Ask around for recommendations from industry peers, co-workers, or your contact list that may have experience working with social media influencers or know how you can get connected.
  7. Influencer Agencies: Yep, there are agencies that can connect you with the perfect influencer based on your needs. Agencies do the heavy lifting, which could incur additional costs. That’s why it’s important to have a budget in mind when working with social media influencers.
  8. Platforms for Content Creation: Creator platforms include Instagram Reesl, YouTube Spaces, and other platforms that have content creators producing content on a regular basis. Check out this option to discover possible influencers to partner with.

Social Media Influencer Metrics to Track

It's important to understand what numbers mean on social media. Vanity metrics (numbers that look good but don't actually have real value) aren't going to help your business get results.

So if an influencer has 200,000 followers, but they bought a bunch of fake followers, they're not going to have high engagement or get real eyes on your brand. Bots won't buy your product or service, right?

How do you sort impactful influencers out from surface-level success?

10 metrics brands should track when working with social media influencers:

  1. Reach: The number of unique accounts that have seen the content.
  2. Engagement Rate: The number of likes, comments, shares, and saves an influencer receives on their content compared to the number of followers they have. If they have 300K followers, but only get 30 likes on their content pieces, that could be a red flag. We all have content that flops, but if it’s consistent, or they’re hiding these metrics, they may not have the influence you’re looking for.
  3. Impressions: The total number of times a piece of content has been viewed. Some users will view content multiple times but not actually engage with it. So this metric doesn’t take into account engagement, just visibility.
  4. Conversion Rate: The percentage of users who clicked on a link posted by the influencer. The link could be on their stories, bio, in the caption etc. This number shows how effective the influencer is in getting traffic to your website.
  5. Audience Demographics: It’s helpful to understand the demographics of their followers like age, gender, country, etc. That way you can find an influencer with followers aligned with your brand’s target audience.
  6. Follower Growth: This metric shows how quickly an influencer is growing their audience. If they’re gaining momentum consistently over time, that’s a sign of a healthy social media account.
  7. Sentiment Analytics: These analytics spill the tea. You can tell in the comments how people react to the content. You may say “Hey, all publicity is good publicity, right?” but it really comes down to if you want your brand associated with this influencer. Negative perception could carry over to your brand, if they’re representing you. Choose your affiliates and influencer marketing tactics wisely.
  8. Brand Mentions: How many times your band is mentioned on their account either by the influencer themself in the content or in the comment section by them and their followers. 
  9. Return on Investment (ROI): Let’s talk money, honey. If you’re investing in working with a social media influencer, you want to see some money come back to you. The goal should be to receive more revenue or value from the influencer marketing campaign than it cost you. 

It’s up to you how much revenue or what type of value you want to gain from influencer marketing. That’s why it’s super important to understand what a social media influencer is, set goals and objectives, and track the numbers. 

You’ve got this! And, hey, we love social media over here at Always Fresh! If you need a hand with your social media marketing or influencer marketing strategy, we’re happy to help. Drop us a note on our contact form, and we’ll get back to you lickety split!

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