What is an "Influencer"?

March 28, 2017 / by Shiho Hashimoto Shiho Hashimoto

What is an influencer

Let's get back to the basics. In order to start utilizing and succeed in "Influencer marketing", you need to first understand what the term "influencer" really means. Who are they?

In a survey conducted by the marketing solutions provider Linqia on November 30, 2016, 170 marketers in the US were asked about their company’s planned budget on influencer partnership for 2017. The result was that only 4% among them would decrease the amount of money spent on Influencer Marketing Strategy while over 70% confirmed that they would keep the same level or invest more.

This result proves that Influencer Marketing will become more and more trending in the US. In this digital world where information is exchanged at a lightening speed,  it becomes easier to connect and learn from each other. This will push Influencer Marketing even further to become one of the top marketing tactics to use all around the world.

Related Blogs on Influencer Analysis

So, let’s take an in-depth look at what Influencer Marketing is and who the term “influencer” depicts.

According to Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs”, it can easily be understood, that after fulfilling the psychological, safety and love/belonging needs, people will have tendency to desire self-esteem. The so-called “Esteem” need in the pyramid means that people want to be respected by others. From the psychological perspective, human is defined as rational creature, which means that in order to reach the high standards or status in the society, they must sketch their own strategies to follow. Typically, these strategies’ objectives are to seek knowledge and to become experts in their own field. The more knowledge they gain, the more accurate information they give and the more effectively they can contribute to the society. As a result, those people will attain more rewards and respect. Eventually, unconscious race starts among them. People look at the one who is better, and admire. Then they learn from that person.


The Marslow Hierarchy of Needs
Source: Phsychology Today

The admired people become famous and influence others’ attitude and behaviours. They also become the topic of many conversations.

The Internet appeared at the right time when wars were ending and people were starting to recreate the world. Until it exploded at the beginning of the 21th century, the Internet has done its job impressively by giving freedom to people to share information. When social media platforms started to grow, those aforementioned “admired” people became even more famous than ever. They gained loads of followers/admirers on social media networks and their tweets and posts spread even more widely.

These are the people that we marketers define as “influencers”. Every aspect or attribute of these influencers is considered to be iconic. People tend to imitate to be better or to feel more like belonging to a specific community.

We covered the case on Beyoncé being an influencer in this blog post. There are many other famous examples such as Kim Kardashian, Meghan Rienks, and the like. 

The number of shares, comments and mentions about different influencers has increased dramatically in recent years. It is high time for you to seriously work together with influencers if you create content for your business, and are focused on inbound marketing. Content marketing and “influencer marketing” are mutually beneficial, as content cannot be broadcast without influencers who have the power to spread the information to a wider audience, and influencers always need new content to consume and share with their “admirers”.

We will continue sharing more ideas about influencers and influencer marketing in our future blog posts so don’t forget to subscribe to our blog!

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Tags: Brand Ambassadors, Brand Insight, Brand Management, Influencer Analysis, Influencer Marketing, Brand Visibility Metrics, Trend Tracking, Brand Health Index

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