Influencer Marketing is a business transaction just like every other operation that you’re performing for your brand. Influencers are choosing to create and share content about your brand in exchange for something. What this ‘something’ is varies, but it’s very important to understand that it does exist. So, exactly what makes an influencer want to work with a brand at all and what motivates an influencer to create content and share their views for their friends, colleagues, and followers to see?
Starting a blog today or signing up for a social media site is relatively easy. All one needs is a valid email address, a username, and a few posts- and voila you have now created possibly the next great content outlet. As noted, there are many reasons why a person may choose to join a platform to share their views and below we’ll explore the 3 types of influencer motivations to provide you and your brand with insight into the mind and thought processes of today’s Influencers. From simply wishing to connect with readers to actually building entrepreneurial empires from social platforms; the potential of today’s influencer has very few limitations. By understanding these intrinsic motivations, your brand will be prepared to better negotiate and integrate Influencer marketing into the sphere of your company wide marketing initiatives.
“The Hobbyist Influencer” Hobby or Passion
With the accessibility of platforms like WordPress, Blogspot, and YouTube, anyone can now launch their own blog or channel about a topic they are interested or passionate about. Hobby influencers are using content as an outlet to share their interest with like minded individuals. These influencers may not take content creation as seriously and are doing it for intrinsic value.
- Connecting With Readers: Many influencer’s start a blog or join a social media platform simply to connect with readers. Whether it be friends that are far away or likeminded individuals who share similar views, this type of influencer sees value in the connection between themselves and their readers.
- Free Samples: With the popularity of coupon’ing’ and other insider freebies, more and more everyday people are exploring their potential to cash in on their social authority and gain a few gadgets along the way. This type of influencer sees value in the exchange of sharing content for product compensation.
- Thought Leadership: Whether you’re a business professional, a student, or a brand; thought leadership is at the top of your list if you truly want to get ahead in today’s increasingly demanding influencer driven market. Sharing opinions and views in this manner allows an influencer to shape their image and gives him greater control of his overall “brand” value. This type of influencer sees value in the exchange of sharing opinions for a sort of “social points” system, where the more they share; the more points they obtain.
- Fits Lifestyle: There’s now a market for almost every influencer topic and many individuals are finding that becoming an influencer in a certain topic simply fits their lifestyle. For example, a painter may decide to be an art focused influencer or a teacher may decide to share her opinions on education by starting a blog. For these type of influencers the true value is in the ease of creating content and leveraging this content to become influential in their personal and professional lives.
“The Celebrity Influencer” Vanity & Celebrity
The rise of one way following social networks like Twitter and Instagram gave way for a new way to become a celebrity. Many influencers are driven not only by passion for a topic but by the strength of their follower counts. The more followers you have, the closer you are to being a celebrity. Vanity metrics like follower counts, being seen as an hip, cool or forward thinking or the ability to have access to products or events to share to their followers drives these influencers.
- Exclusive Samples & Events: Sure, celebrities and high-profile influencers have the resources to get many of the items that they’re routinely gifted by brands. However, the idea of gifting provides a certain value to the influencer in addition to any compensation already being received. This is where the idea of “exclusivity” comes into play. Many celebrity influencers receive early access to samples and are often the first to share this with followers.
- Gaining Exposure: No matter what level a celebrity influencer may be in their career, there’s always room to gain more exposure. For many of these influencer’s working with brands is a part of their overall PR strategy connecting them to existing and potential fans.
- Thought Leadership: To truly be influential, a celebrity influencer must claim a large share of a certain “topic”. For example a singer may be influential in fashion (Take for example Rihanna and Rita Ora) or an entertainer may be influential in a wide range of social and cultural topics (Take for example Oprah and Melinda Gates) and then there are rare instances where an influencer controls the majority of a topic (Take for Example Anna Wintour in the context of fashion publishing and markets). Most times these individuals don’t set out to be “traditional” influencers and it is more of a result of their career success.
- Fits Lifestyle and On Trend: Similar to the idea of thought leadership, celebrity influencers are motivated by aligning their brand image with that of similar brands and audiences. This type of influencer finds value in creating and sharing a lifestyle that fits within a desired celebrity schema.
“The Career Influencer” Job or Career
For some being an influencer is a career. There are individuals making millions dollars of year from sharing their opinions on blogs, social media, and other platforms. These type of influencers have built a business around their distinct point of view and use this to help brands leverage their very own messages. These influencers take content creation very seriously as it’s their source of income.
- Financial Compensation: Nothing is quite as convincing to an influencer at any level as monetary compensation. When brands are paying influencers are more likely to partner. The career influencer views creating content as a job and in turn is exchanging a service for money. Thus, you can’t expect these influencers to work for free as they are motivated by building a career from sharing their influence with brands.
- Career Building: In today’s rapid fire job market , there are experienced professionals at every level of the executive hierarchy. While searching for ways to get ahead and gain a competitive advantage, many turn to social influence as a way to gain exposure and brand or re-brand themselves as the ‘best’ in a certain topic or market.
- Thought Leadership: It’s common knowledge that to grow in your career you must become a proven leader. The relatively new world of influencer dominated marketing allows the individual to become a leader not only in their physical work environments, but also in the international landscapes of business. A lawyer can now become a leader in “green foods” or a CEO can become a leader in “social justice”, by simply sharing their opinions with audiences around the world. The career influencer realizes that there is an immense amount of value to be gained here and using this platform to further shape how she is perceived in hopes of amplifying or re-routing her career.
- Fits Lifestyle and On Trend: Similar to the idea of thought leadership, career influencers are motivated by aligning their career image with that of similar view points and audiences. This type of influencer finds value in creating and sharing a lifestyle that fits within a desired professional schema.