5 Different influencer types decoded


Influencer Marketing has been a hot topic in the industry for a while now, and this trend will definitely continue in 2017. The world has shifted to social media where consumers are inspired by so called Influencers for their purchase decisions.

A lot of people think that Influencers are equal to celebrities who endorse a brand or product online, but this is only one influencer type. There are a many different kinds of Influencers, and when you consider implementing an Influencer Strategy it’s important to understand the differences between them. Let’s have a look at 5 different influencer types:

1. Influencers


Influencers can have a web-only to a celebrity status. They should be looked at as short-term mercenaries who can help increase visibility for brands. They are active on multiple social media channels. Influencers are being paid for their collaborations: in money, products or services.

Key characteristics of Influencers:

  • Influencers post content about brands they have an affinity for or feel related to.
  • They are selective about which brands they choose to represent (or promote) to protect their personal brand image.
  • Influencers are used for short-term campaigns.
  • They treat their blogs and social media channels in a very professional way, and see it as a business.
  • Influencers work for compensation: this can be money but also product exchange or making use of certain services.
  • Influencers have a large following base. Their images and words have impact because their following looks up at them because of their knowledge and passion about the specific topic.
  • Most of them have certain areas of expertise (e.g. Fashion & Beauty, Travel, Tech Scene, Gaming, …).

Tip: Authenticity is key! If you are asking a celebrity to promote your brand and afterwards it turns out they are actually an advocate of your competitor your Influencer Campaign might backfire.

2. Brand ambassadors


While an Influencer might be put in the spotlight by a brand for short-term campaign, a Brand Ambassador is an Influencer type connected to a brand for on a long-term basis. They are hired to represent a brand in a positive light. You could see them as paid spokespeople or opinion leaders for a brand.

Key characteristics of Brand Ambassadors:

  • They have inside knowledge about the brand, company or organization they are an ambassador for, and can act as a spokesperson for the brand.
  • Most Brand Ambassadors are paid (often on a retainer basis), but there are also Ambassadors who link themselves to an organization for free because they want to support them (e.g. Charities).
  • They are usually an expert that relates to the brand, product or organization.
  • A lot of Influencers desire to become a Brand Ambassador because of the long-term collaboration.

Tip: Brand Ambassadors should relate to your target audience, and they should genuinely like & support your brand or organization.

3. Bloggers


Some Bloggers may be considered Influencers. This depends on the scale of their audience and their engagement level. Bloggers launch a blog to express a passion, and often generate a large following base that see them as Influencers.

Key characteristics of Bloggers:

  • Bloggers write about topics that are dear to them. Blog topics can be very broad: from a hobby, to a way to express themselves, to build a business or a personal brand.
  • Bloggers are keen on engaging with brands to build their audience, and establish relationships with brands.
  • Bloggers mostly work for some level of value exchange: visibility, recognition, free products or services, or money.
  • Their power to influence is seen as lower, but their advantage is the detailed content & information they provide their readers.

Tip: When you work with Bloggers it’s very important to check their motives during the selection process, as well as their credibility. Consumers don’t have faith in Bloggers who only write positive reviews.

4. Advocates


A true advocate will stand up for a brand, tell their friends and family members about an experience and drive new business for a company simply because they love the brand or what it stands for. Advocates can be divided in two categories: Brand Advocates & Employee Advocates. A Brand Advocate is a super fan of a brand, an Employee Advocate loves the company he works for.

Key characteristics of Advocates:

  • Advocates provide word-of-mouth for a brand of company without being paid for it. They do it because they are super fans.
  • They will take action if asked by the brand or company.
  • Advocates grow brands through their passion, knowledge and influence throughout their personal networks.

Tip: Don’t forget to regularly thank your customers for their loyalty. A little thank you might turn them into a very big advocate for your brand!

5. Fans


Fans are just people that like a brand: online and offline. So we are not only talking about Facebook Fans 😉

Key characteristics of Fans:

  • Fans are mostly very happy and loyal customers.
  • They talk about brands on social media because they like them or had a good experience.
  • Fans don’t expect compensation.
  • They crave engagement and recognition from the brand they follow.

Tip: Make sure you (cross-)communicate all your online channels, so people know where they can follow your brand and discover your brand stories to become fans.
Now you know the main 5 Influencer types and what each of these Influencer categories can do for your brand. Select & treat them well and your results will be incredible!

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