What does the word influence mean? What is an influencer? What are influencers? Who are the influencers?
Influence means to have an effect on other people. Thus an Influencer is someone who is influential, or affects the behavior of others, which implies visibility (ie on a platform) and an engaged audience. The keyword here is engaged. Influence isn’t a one-way street, it is participative. What makes someone influential depends on how relevant they are to their audience. In that sense, all influence is contextual. One could be very influential in a certain domain, topic, environment or language and completely insignificant in another. Where someone is influential is called their “niche”. With limitless possibilities of ‘niches’, influencers are a very diverse crowd. With so many types of influence, the one that solicits the most attention in 2017 is the social influencer.
What is the definition of social influence? What is an influencer on social media? What does it mean to be a social media influencer?
For our purposes, a social influencer is an influencer that exists on social media (their platform is thus a social media platform) and their audience is digital.
What makes social influence unique is that following someone on social media is entirely voluntary. Unlike other types of influencers, who might occupy positions where their actions affect others regardless, social influencers earn their “follow” directly. It’s a choice.
This direct form of following means that their audience isn’t just an audience, it’s a community.
Why do people follow others on social media? It all relates back to niche. The more pressing question we should be asking is: why do people continue to follow an influencer over time? The answer is surely complex but one thing we can conclude is that there is a level of trust occurring between the influencer and the voluntary influencee. Whether it’s information or entertainment, the audience anticipates future content to be valuable. They trust their influencer to continue being relevant, otherwise they would unfollow. Furthermore, if they accord any importance to this influencer, it is likely that they trust their opinions. Various studies show this to be the case.
Influencer relationships are thus characterized by community and trust, two incredibly valuable commodities in the marketing world.
What are influencers in marketing? What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is when influencers use their influence to broadcast a brand message for marketing purposes: corporate communication, selling a product, advertising some services, launching a new concept etc..
Social influencers have decided to leverage their unique relationship with their audience by working with brands who want access to their community and trusted voice.
Influencers act as amplifiers who can reach consumers that are beyond the brand’s owned media channels and sphere of influence. That being said, it is not the same as buying ad space! Influencers produce and sell unique promotional content (be it social media posts, blog pieces, videos, reviews) that is curated for their audience. They offer a creative process in which they use their communication skills to shape a message, hence the dubbed name of “PR 2.0”.
The ability to curate entertaining and trustworthy promotional content is no small thing. In fact, it’s the secret behind “non-intrusive” advertising.
With all of these advantages, it’s no surprise that influencer marketing has become such a popular strategy. More than half of marketing professionals surveyed reported increasing their budget for influencer marketing in 2017.
To accompany this boom, the technology and practices used to facilitate influencer marketing have been forced to evolve, leading to the development of influencer relations.
What are influencer relations?
All commercial interactions with influencers can be considered influencer relations. In order to work with an influencer, you must have a way of communicating with them, compensating them, reviewing their content, and measuring their results. Influencers are communication professionals. Depending on the campaign type and style of content desired, the services rendered can vary as well. With all of these components to manage, a need for more structure to support these interactions has arisen. Upfluence software is a product of this need: a tool designed to centralize influencer relations, making them more professional and streamlined for both brands and influencers.
How do you measure influence?
One of the most ambiguous aspects of influencer marketing is measuring influence. This question ties back into the first: what is influence? Some classify influencers as having X amount of followers, other services such as Klout index them based on engagement. These ‘one-size fits all’ approaches are ultimately unsatisfactory though because they fail to address the most basic principle of influence: that it is contextual. Measuring influence is always relative, there are no static influence levels. Do you want someone who is extremely influential in a small group or moderately influential across many groups? Is low engagement in one niche considered high engagement in another?
Since influence is complex, measuring it requires complex criteria. To address this dilemma, the Upfluence search engine ranks influencers with a two metric scoring system composed of a relevancy score and an influence score. The relevancy score shows how relevant an influencer is based on the criteria specified in the search query: combinations of keywords, engagement rates, community size, language, location, platform type, how often they post, etc. You can learn more about the 20+ criteria here. The influence score is what determines the order in which the influencers appear in the results. It measures influence by engagement rates and community size. For blogs, the software factors in estimated unique monthly visitors. Not only is the two score system manipulable to accommodate different contexts, it is dynamic. With 10M posts updates a day, the relevancy ranking is always acting on real-time metrics.
The combination of these two scores permits for a more comprehensive evaluation of influence.