We talk about influencer marketing here at Hireinfluence all day, every day.  We work with influencers; we work with brands on influencer campaigns.  We understand that even people who have heard the term “influencer marketing” may not know exactly what that means.  Sometimes the lines around what defines an influencer can be gray, so in today’s article I will break down what influencer marketing is, and what defines an influencer of a brand.

Influencer Marketing Defined:

Influencer marketing is when a person in the social media sphere is able to sway the buying decision of consumers.  It should be noted that not every influencer must have 100k followers (or more) in order to hold this type of influence.  Read on to learn more.

Influencers for Brands:

According to Google, a brand influencer is someone whom discovers, understands, innovates and implements a brand. Segmenting and engaging the brands audience – employees; stakeholders; partners; suppliers and customers.

This is one definition of a brand influencer, but influencers are so much more.  Influencers come in many different shapes and sizes as we discovered in yesterday’s article.  Influencers can awaken to their full potential through many different avenues.

Different Avenues of Influencers:

The Casual Influencer:

You are probably familiar with this type of person, The Casual Influencer.  In fact, I would guess that you not only know at least one person like this, but you are Facebook friends with them and you have wondered about products they are using.  My favorite example is from personal experience.  A lot of my real-life and Facebook friends are yogis.  A couple happen to be fairly popular yogis, but not to the extent that they would qualify for “influencer status”.  When they post pictures of themselves in fancy poses, wearing super funky yoga clothing, you better believe my first comment is, “Awesome pic, what leggings are those!?”, and my second move is to hunt down the cute yoga outfit.

You might be surprised at the number of Casual Influencers in your life.  How often are you tempted to go out and buy something your BFF is wearing in her latest profile picture, or go eat whatever your vegan buddy on Instagram has just shared via picture and recipe?

The Casual Influencer for Brands: The Casual Influencer, while an unlikely choice for most brands, is a great pick for smaller, up-and-coming, indie brands on a budget.  Brands that are bootstrapping or are not ready to delegate budget to marketing will do well hiring Casual Influencers.  Such brands can trade product or services for an influencer campaign.  The best example of this is Lululemon who started selecting Brand Ambassadors at an early stage.  They would choose a popular yoga teacher in a city where they placed products in boutiques or Lululemon retail stores.  The yoga teacher received clothing for free to wear while teaching.  Students attend the class of their favorite yoga teacher and voilà; Lululemon clothes start flying off the shelves in Middle America.

The Career Influencer:

The Career Influencer is a person who starts a social media profile and personal brand with the intentions of becoming an influencer.  Consider that person who is reaches a turning point in their life.  They are sick on the 9-5, they want more freedom, and they know that working for themselves and working online is the perfect combination to bring them what they want.

The Career Influencer for Brands:

 Sometimes The Career Influencer is a perfect choice for brands.  After all, this type of person wants to succeed as an influencer and that is their number one job.  Even if a Career Influencer begins their work as a side job while working a full-time job for income, quite often their passion alone is enough to build a strong following in no time.

The Passionate Influencer

The majority of influencers you run across on social media platforms are of the passionate kind.  Sure, they may have started out as The Casual Influencer or The Career Influencer, but anyone who has any type of serious influence evolves into The Passionate Influencer.

A Passionate Influencer is someone who absolutely, completely, and totally loves what they are doing in life and wants to share it with the world – via social media (since that’s just the way we do it in the world today).  Some people who are super passionate about cooking may never share their skills, tricks of the trade, or recipes on a broad scale.  Those who are good at what they do, and choose to share their cooking adventures through a blog or Instagram account often find that their passion is contagious.  People begin following their articles and posts, and soon enough they have amassed over 1 million followers just by posting 2-3 pictures a day about their cooking.

The Passionate Influencer for Brands:

 The Passionate Influencer is one of the most highly sought-after types of influencers for brands.  The attraction makes sense; these are the influencers who share unique content with followers.  Their followers love The Passionate Influencer for whom they are and what they have to say.  Brands want to partner with people whose words are contagious, whose heart can be felt in every post.  Why?  Because that means their brand’s products will be shared in a similarly passionate way.