Table of contents
  1. 1. Definition of social media followers
  2. 2. Overview
  3. 3. Relevance to influencer marketing
  4. 4. Advantages and disadvantages of social media followers in influencer marketing
  5. 5. Best practice

Definition of social media followers

Social media followers are the sustaining force for any influencer marketer. They are the individuals who sign up to receive any updates that the influencer posts on any number of social media websites like Instagram or Facebook. These followers are impressed by the content of the influencer and want to try and emulate him or her. They also have a high potential to take action (e.g. purchase, share, try, experiment, etc. ) the products that the influencer endorses and thereby provide the revenue that makes influencer marketing profitable.

In most of the cases, the dual purpose of an influencer marketing campaign is to: 

  • Bring in new followers. These fans will be attracted to the influencer's personality and their fame in a particular field.
  • Leverage those fans to eventually sell more products or services. Those new fans will be able to serve as conduits for more expansion through word-of-mouth and shares on their own social media feeds.

 

Overview

Influencers driving social media supporters are a relatively recent phenomenon in the history of social media. For several years dating back to the earliest social networks, social media was seen as a means to reach potential customers and propagate ads. Companies at that time found that they did not have many ways to monetize those fans. However, as social media has been playing more and more significant role in our lives, social media marketing is also growing and soon become more competitive. As a result, marketers started to look for ways to distinguish their own ads as well as to communicate effectively with social media users. 

Modern marketers eventually discovered the world of social media celebrities. These men and women gained rapturous followings simply by posting photos on Facebook or videos on Youtube. Marketers noticed that the fans of these individuals wanted to emulate their idols primarily by looking like them and following their advice about certain products. Therefore, marketers started in the late 2000s to give contracts to influencers whereby the influencers received payment and free products in order to market those products on their social media feeds as subtly as possible. The field of social media influencer advertising now comprises over a billion dollars of transactions and commerce all targeted to social media celebrities. 

 

Relevance to influencer marketing

Social media followers are the currency of influencer marketing. The practical definition of an influencer is an individual with a large number of social media supporters who respond to him or her in a meaningful way. Fans help give business decisions currency and show whether or not certain marketing campaigns are working in a social media marketing sphere. Follower growth is also one of the key influencer marketing metrics to evaluate the performance of a campaign on social media. In most instances, companies that want to use influencer marketing attempt to gain as many social media supporters as possible by coordinating with the perfect-fit influencers. 

 

Advantages and disadvantages of social media followers in influencer marketing

Influencer advertising is a helpful way of gaining more fans for a business or brand. Social media supporters see practically every advertisement and sale that a brand sends out. Additionally, studies have shown that a friend on Facebook is significantly more likely to see and respond to an advertisement. Therefore, influencers with a large number of fans are able to indirectly promote the content to the friends of their followers, and may simply provoke their supporters to take action on the products of the collaborated company. Their influence and marketing skills can also push those same individuals to become supporters of a brand in a way that is strongly connected to the original social media celebrity. The main downsides are: 

  • Potentially high costs. There are high costs associated with running the campaign, designing the advertisements, and paying the celebrity in both fees and free products. The fame and desirability of influencers mean that they can often negotiate considerable fees for their services. Thus, brands are currently having influencer marketing platform such as influencerDB to help them find as well as analyze the value of influencers. 
  • The instability of working with a celebrity. A celebrity's changing tastes and declining fortunes could lead to a company wasting millions of dollars in an ineffective marketing or advertising campaign. Therefore, a well-planned influencer marketing strategy is always necessary for any marketer before executing any influencer campaign on social media. 

 

Best practice

There are a number of good examples of influencers from all different forms of entertainment. The most famous influencer on Instagram, in particular, is Kim Kardashian. She was able to translate her reality show fame into a massive social media presence on Instagram as well as a number of other platforms. Then, Kardashian used her fame to make connections with companies such as Calvin Klein. She appeared in posts that looked like they were personal and unaffiliated with any brand until one looked closely and spotted the logo of the product she was promoting. In addition, Kardashian has been able to sell products clearly and legally without harming her reputation. She sometimes places #ad before her sponsored posts. This addition fulfills legal and ethical requirements without taking away from the body of her post.