Often painted as either a mysterious dark art or as a revolutionary new concept (or both together), in reality marketing to influencers has always been around. In fact, the object of marketing is to reach those who influence purchasing decisions and to, well, influence them.
What has changed is the profile(s) of an influencer. Increasingly, those who influence are not necessarily those with obvious, hierarchical or “legitimate” power.In a flattened and democratised world, influencers are often those who have been awarded referent or expert power through recognition of the value of their opinions.
Often (but not exclusively) these influencers will be active on social media channels, blogging, tweeting or otherwise sharing their findings, opinions and knowledge with others.
Influencer Marketing has arisen as a distinct subject in recognition of the need to influence a wider range of more-difficult-to-identify people.
And how do you influence them? Not by shoving glossy brochures at them but by sharing useful, valuable information on a topic of interest. Which is where content marketing comes in: building influence, trust and thought leadership through the development and sharing of valued information.
In fact, there is a sweet spot where influencer marketing, content marketing and social media strategy overlap:
Success is engaging influencers via social media channels and sharing with them content which is so good they want to share it with their own audience.