The rise of online influencers

Ten years ago, the word influencer was pretty much unheard of on the internet. Fast forward to the present day and influencers ads everywhere on the web.

What is an influencer – Influencers seem to be categorised by their huge number of social media followers. These people seem to experts in their particular niches be it beauty (the most popular one) or any other category which they promote. Influencers use different social media platforms to connect with their audiences. The most popular ones being you tube, Facebook, Twitter and instagram. There are many more other less known platforms out there too. Influencers are all kinds of online people be it bloggers, journalists, activists and even celebrities all trying to get their points (and products) out there.

What is Influencer marketing – Influencer marketing is the collaboration between an influencer and a brand. Brands will usually choose influencers to work with based on their high engagement, and genuine followings. Brands will work with influencers in several ways. Many influencers can create great engaging content for the brand, they can also give valuable opinions on products (reviews), and can also host giveaways for the brand.

The rise of influencers – The popularity and rise in the use of social networking platforms encouraged many brands to develop a powerful online presence. Prior to the rise of online influencers it was common place for brands to work with well known celebrities to promote their name and products but the growing online presence of brands gave rise to competition. Brands are always on the lookout for new techniques to not only get more customers and clicks but also strengthen their presence and many have recently switched from self promotion to using influencers.

Why using influencers is beneficial for your brand – Research has shown that influencer marketing is effective and that it helps boost traffic and customers. Working with niche influencers is especially effective as it connects your brand and product to that particular audience. As influencers are “real people” rather than high end celebrities, they are often seen as real consumers too, meaning people who would actually go out and buy your product. This in turn develops a certain type of trust when it comes to reading their reviews and recommendations.

Becoming an Influencer – As a blogger I’m often asked by friends and people I meet, how can they do what I do. Unfortunately they only see the good side of it – the payments, the press trips and the so called “free” products. Of course looking in from the outside it seems so easy, who wouldn’t want to get freebies or paid for writing. What they don’t know is that it can take years to build up your presence. Everyone starts with zero followers and zero audience. You have to work hard to get people to follow you and to get brands to work with you. I’ve no idea how many emails I’ve sent to brands in the past 5/6 years but I guarantee it’s in the tens of thousands. It’s not all about freebies it’s about your audience and good content. It takes time and work and I’m still learning 6 years on.

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