When it comes to marketing for a business or product, one of the most important marketing tools is an influencer program. In fact, an infographic published on Ciceron reveals that 74 percent of global marketers have stated that influencer marketing will be part of their strategy in the next 12 months. Because people are much more likely to trust the advice of other consumers – rather than brand advertising alone – influencers can greatly shape the success of a business or industry.

WHAT IS AN INFLUENCER?

Influencers are those people who have a significant impact on the opinions and actions of other people. An influencer can be a regular person, a journalist or reporter, an expert in a field, or someone with celebrity status. In marketing, an influencer is a person who’s connected to a key role – typically the promotion of a product or business – through a community, a social media outlet, a consumer group, or an industry or organization. By offering praise for a brand, an influencer fulfills their role by encouraging consumers to buy the brand. Influencers are responsible for introducing new customers to the brand, sharing brand content, offering brand testimonial, writing reviews or sharing ratings, creating content about the brand, telling stories about the brand, and interacting with other consumers about the brand. Because influencers are so important, many companies have put in place influencer programs.

When it comes to social media, influencers are those people that have a huge friend list or following, are constantly updating their status or page, are “in-the-know” about what’s fashionable or popular, are always discovering new trends, and whose words are considered to be fact.

CHARACTERISTICS OF AN INFLUENCER:

While influencers can be nearly anyone, regardless of job title or status, all influencers have a key set of characteristics that make them great at what they do. All highly effective influencers are engaging, are considered thought leaders, are trustworthy, are great communicators, and are convincing and persuasive. If these are characteristics that define you, you may have what it takes to become an influencer.

Business Influencers

HOW TO BECOME AN INFLUENCER:

Being an influencer has a number of benefits (we’ll get to those soon), especially if you’re acting as an influencer in your own market. However, just like all things in life, becoming an influencer takes time, patience, dedication, and hard work.

Blog often: If you want to become an influencer, one thing that you’ll absolutely have to focus on is blogging. If you’re not already blogging regularly, then starting up a blog that you update daily will help you on the road to having influence. Not only do you need to blog frequently, but your blog needs to be relevant and engaging, original and exciting, too.

Build an online community: If you write a great blog but no one reads it, then the point of blogging is moot. If you want to start influencing, then you need to have a large online community of friends and followers who put value in what you say. Start reading and commenting on other people’s social media posts, make connections wherever possible, and be an active and engaged member of the social media world.

Do your homework: One thing that makes influencers influential is the fact that they’re regarded as credible and reliable thought leaders. If you jump on the bandwagon for promoting a product that’s not really as great as you make it sound, you’ll immediately lose your credibility, and therefore your power as an influencer. Not only should you research products, but your audience as well. There are a variety of free online tools that allow you to gather data about the target audience you want to reach. By better understanding your audience, you’ll have a better idea of what content to put out that is influential.

BENEFITS OF BEING AN INFLUENCER – INFLUENCER PROGRAMS & INCENTIVES

Being an influencer comes with some big perks. First of all, by becoming an influencer, you get the fame and honor of being considered an expert in your field. Think of Neil Patel, the founder of KISSmetricsand CrazyEGG – most people in the online marketing world not only know his name, but turn to him for advice for things ranging from ecommerce to website optimization. In addition to having a lot of power in your field, being an influencer also gives you exclusive access to other experts, quality-bloggers, and influencers. Of course, one of the benefits that comes with being an influencer are the incentives offered by many influencer programs.

Some companies participate in what are known as influencer programs. Basically, influencer program is an attempt by a company, business, or organization to attract great influencers. Influencer programs can be incredibly beneficial for the business itself, as well as those who are doing the influencing. One influencer program success story is the LinkedIn Influencers Program.

In order to attract influencers, many businesses rely on influencer incentives. Often times, these incentives are financial, such as actual cash payments or business gift cards. While financial incentives tend to work – and are loved by those doing the influencing – there are other, non-financial incentives that a business may offer instead.

SOME TYPES OF INFLUENCER INCENTIVES INCLUDE:

  • A social rewards program
  • Points to use for purchases
  • Free products
  • Recognition in the form of featuring the influencers, writing a blog post about them, or offering them a public “thank you”
  • A donation to an influencer’s charity of choice

While the benefits of becoming an influencer are many, don’t expect an incentive (outside of the fact that everyone will hang on every word you say) to be offered by every brand you act as an influencer for.

Regardless of whether you’re a business who needs an influencer or a person who think you have what it takes to be influential, the benefits are numerous. By incentivizing influencer programs, businesses have the opportunity to attract the best and the brightest that the influencer world has to offer. And by becoming an influencer, an individual has the opportunity to build up a reputation as a thought leader and source of wisdom about a particular industry or brand.

F.A.Q.

What is an influencer in social media?

What is an influencer in marketing?

What is an influencer in business?