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  • Writer's pictureLexi Hutchinson

4 questions to ask yourself when trying to understand the effectiveness of social media influencers

Since 2015, the social media user growth rate has averaged 12.5% year-over-year. As a result of this constant growth, the number of U.S. social media users in 2022 represented 80.9% of the total population. Given this reality, an increasingly higher number of consumers are being exposed to the sway and trends of social media influencers.

Social media influencers’ ability to influence the buying decisions of consumers, have led organizations to embrace influencer marketing and integrate them into their communication strategies. Not surprisingly, many PR practitioners are recommending this tactic be used as a cohesive part of their digital objectives and strategies. To better understand how building relationships with social media influencers can benefit organizations we must begin by asking ourselves four simple questions:

1. What are the types of social media influencers?

There are a few different types of social media influencers to know about and consider when your organization begins to build relationships with these individuals. The first type of influencer to examine is a nano-influencer. By checking the right engagement boxes, social media users who have anywhere between 1,000 and 10,000 followers can make money from their posts with advertisements and paid promotional media. Although the amount of money these influencers can make will vary depending on their popularity, their average is around $100 per post and $115 per video post. As nano-influencers aren’t celebrities, their followers consider them more relatable, genuine and authentic. As these influencers are typically highly engaged with their followers, they can often become valuable assets for organizations.

Next, there are micro-influencers to take into consideration. A micro-influencer has anywhere between 10,000 and 100,000 followers. Micro-influencers promote relevant products and interests that align with their specific expertise, and partake in consistent engagement with their community. Micro-influencers are focused on a specific niche or area and are often regarded as an expert or specialist on a particular topic. Micro-influencers will frequently have a uniform audience, and are a cost-effective option to connect with an organization’s publics.

Macro-influencer will have anywhere between 100,000 and 1 million followers.. These influencers use their platform to produce an abundance of quality and entertaining content that appeals to a large demographic. Macro influencers are much more expensive and often have other titles such as celebrity, TV personality, or community leader. In this scenario, Macro-influencers are harder to consider for hire due to price increases and a general lack of authenticity overall because of their larger audience.

Lastly, a mega-influencer is someone with a million followers and up, usually someone with celebrity status, who is highly visible and active on social media.Their immense reach on social media and ability to set trends with the click of a button makes their rate almost unattainable for small organizations and incredibly expensive when it comes to influencer PR and marketing. Think of the Kardashian family or Selena Gomez.

2. What is influencer marketing?

Influencer culture has become pervasive in the age of social media marketing. As the use of social media itself trends upward in this digital age, the demand for social media marketing and PR grows with it. A decade ago, society was limited to only celebrities when looking to influence, yet the idea of influencer marketing has opened up a wide range of possibilities as the market is saturated and companies rely on influencers to help promote their products and services. An influencer's ability to gain social proof while remaining authentic to their audience is exactly what a marketing or PR agency desires when seeking an influencer to represent their brand. “When brands choose to partner with an influencer, the influencer becomes attached to that brand,” stated Emily Wilson, a social coordinator at Mindgruve, a global digital agency. “It is a strategic thing to do when partnering with an influencer because it can bring their favorability and likeability to a brand that wants to break into a new market,” she added.

3. What strategies are you trying to accomplish by using the influencers to your advantage?

When implementing influencer marketing, some effective strategies to keep in mind include finding an influencer that mirrors your company's values and morals. By doing this, you will be able to shape and define the conversation into a meaningful exchange in which both parties advocate for a strong message and build a strong community. “This type of marketing is a new way to go about business nowadays,” stated Dave Hutchinson, a marketer at Neurorestorative. “If you can get important and influential people to endorse you and spread the message that your company is relentlessly trying to foster, then all of us marketers should hop on board,” he added.

4. What are some advantages that come with influencer marketing and PR?

Various opportunities arise when using an influencer to your aid when in influencer marketing and PR. As the market of influencer marketing is constantly changing, companies will often see positive results. With a raw and honest connection to the person they are being influenced by, consumers can connect with people they admire. “As someone who has worked on Influencer/PR behind the scenes at a marketing agency working with paid media, they aid in each other's success,” noted Wilson. “If a brand has the budget to pay an influencer to promote their product, they are paying for the influencer's loyal fans who trust their opinion as well as potentially reaching new customers.”

By Lexi Hutchinson

Lexi Hutchinson is a senior at San Diego State University. She was born in Denver Colorado and raised in San Diego. She earned her associates degree before transferring to a four year university to continue her education at SDSU and earn her bachelor's degree in Journalism and Public Relations with a minor in Communications. She hopes to work in entertainment PR after graduating in the spring.

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