The Rise & Rise of Social Media Influencers

Why & How Marketers Can Use This Channel To Reach Their Audiences

Things have changed a lot since I was a kid. If I told my parents I wanted to make a living playing video games or posting fashion photos on the internet, they’d have sat me down and told me to stop dreaming (especially considering my “fashion sense” at the time). But today, these jobs don’t only exist, they can be extremely lucrative for the individual and the marketers who engage with them.

In this blog, I’ll dive into the role social media influencers have to play in the modern marketing space, before taking a look at a few of the most successful influencers across Instagram, Twitch, and Youtube.

What’s The Big Deal With Influencers?

As marketers, the challenge has always been to convince people that the product or service you are offering is worth their hard-earned money. But the problem is, people are inherently sceptical when they know they’re being marketed to. “Of course you’re going to say your product is the best. You’re the one selling it!” So how does one overcome this issue?

This is where the influencer comes in.

Influencers are individuals who have built up a large following on a platform such as Instagram, Twitch, or Youtube around a specific niche: makeup tutorials, travel, gaming, you name it. Let’s consider an example.

Mary, a stay-at-home American mom, loves cooking, and her friends tell her she’s pretty good at it. She gives them advice on how to prep their meals and what they can do to make their food taste better. Mary decides one day to get a camera and make cooking videos that she can upload to YouTube so that she can share her passion and tips with the whole world. Things start off slow, but she gains more and more subscribers as word spreads that she’s offering great advice. Some time passes and Mary has almost 2 million subscribers, with her videos regularly racking up 50 000 views. She has an audience that not only likes her content but trusts her opinion.

Why influencers are so important to marketers.

As a marketer, you can tap into this audience through the influencer. Because the influencer already has their trust, you bypass the inherent scepticism or resistance many would have to the product or service you are trying to sell.

Let’s take a quick look at some popular influencers, the reach that they have and the companies they have worked with.

Lilly Singh is a Canadian actress and comedian who gained a massive following on YouTube doing comedy videos. She has an audience of over 14 million subscribers, with her content being viewed an average of 1.22 million times per day. Three of the sponsors she has worked with include Coca-Cola, Toyota, and Smashbox.

Ninja, aka Richard Tyler Blevins, is a video game streamer who gained a massive following on Twitch, mostly thanks to his high-level play in the video game Fortnite. He has 12 308 847 followers on Twitch, and his content has a daily average view count of 531 536. He has worked with brands including Redbull, Uber Eats, and NZXT.

King Bach, otherwise known as Andrew B. Bachelor, is an actor and comedian. Originally rising to fame on Vine before it was shut down by its parent company Twitter, King Bach was known for his Vine comedy videos. He has since moved onto Instagram where has an audience of 16 799 652 followers. Some of the sponsors he’s worked with include Samsung, Wendy's, and BET.

How Influencers Can Help You

Taking into account the reach that these individuals have, it’s easy to understand why marketers would want to connect with their audiences. But how would a marketer work with an influencer?

Different influencers offer different deals, but here are some of the influencer campaigns that you can take advantage of:

  • Giveaways and competitions – Products can be provided to the influencer to give away, or as a prize in a competition. You can enhance the effectiveness of this deal by offering limited edition items.

  • Social media takeover – A brand can partner with an influencer, giving them control over a social media channel for a specified amount of time.

  • Guest posting – Unlike a social media takeover, an influencer can be invited to contribute a single post or piece of content to a brand’s social media channels.

  • Affiliate marketing – Affiliate marketing involves the influencer promoting a product through a specific link on their platform. If any of the influencer's audience use the link to make a purchase, the influencer will get a commission on the sale.

  • Sponsored content – An influencer will work with a brand to create a piece of content that they will share on their platform.

  • Free products – If a brand trusts that their product is of high quality, they will often give it away to the influencer. Most influencers will review these products that they are given, but since it’s not a sponsored post they are free to say what they like about the item.

  • Brand ambassador programmes – Brand ambassador programmes are long-term deals that have been traditionally been done with celebrities, where a brand will hire an actor or a popular singer to be the face of their brand. However, influencers are gaining popularity amongst companies as their audiences evolve.

For marketers who are looking to connect with people, influencers are undoubtedly another tool you’ll want to add to your evergrowing toolkit.

The best way to support your influencer campaign is with a technology-driven inbound marketing strategy. Mpull is a Marketing Technology agency based in Cape Town, South Africa who can help you do just that. We have extensive experience crafting customer journeys that generate high-quality leads and keep customers engaged for years. Contact us to chat with our experts.