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Different Influencer Types & How to Choose Which to Work With

In last month’s article on common influencer marketing mistakes, we touched on the fact that it would be an error to work exclusively with bloggers. Bloggers are great – they can create thoughtful, long-form content with numerous USPs and marketing messages weaved in, and their articles are easily searchable on Google where they’ll stay long-term. However, they’re not the be-all and end-all of influencer engagement.

New digital platforms are springing up all the time; there was Vine in 2013, Periscope in 2015, Instagram’s ‘Stories’ add-on in 2016, and there’ll probably be something else soon enough. Every time a novel platform launches, it levels the playing field – everyone starts out from scratch, meaning new people have a chance to rise to the top and cultivate an audience if they’ve got the skills to create content that resonates with other users.

Of course, almost all bloggers are active elsewhere too, promoting their articles or sharing different types of content to keep their audience engaged, but there are also plenty of influencers who pick a platform and focus all of their efforts on it, without having a blog or website. Whether it’s a fashionista who just prefers the visual nature of Instagram, or a photographer who shows off their work on Pinterest and doesn’t even think of themselves as an ‘influencer’, these people can benefit your brand too.

Podcaster's studio at home

6 Types of Online Influencer

Here is a list of different types of online influencers to consider, and further down we discuss how to go about picking the right type to work with:

  1. Bloggers – the ‘original’ influencer type, a kind of one-person magazine primarily sharing their writing and often lots of great photos too
  2. Vloggers – video creators, most commonly on YouTube but occasionally on another video-sharing site such as DailyMotion
  3. Social media influencers – people who create or share content with the wider public on any social network (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn etc.)
  4. Podcasters – creators of audio content series, similar to radio but available on-demand rather than live (e.g. on iTunes, SoundCloud or their own site)
  5. Forum moderators or users – people highly involved with a particular forum (such as a niche forum site, or an expert in a particular topic on a larger one such as Quora or Reddit) who share content and may manage advertising on the site
  6. Your customers – you know that most customers, and all repeat customers, love your brand already so they can make great brand ambassadors! Yes, their ‘audience’ may be very small, but a recommendation carries a lot of weight when it comes from a friend or family member. Plus, with a little nudge you can get them sharing content about your brand online at little or no cost.

Young female vlogger recording a make-up video for her vlog.

Which Influencer Type Should You Work With?

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help narrow down the selection of influencers and choose the right ones for you and your campaign:

  • Where does your audience hang out? Don’t plump for a social network just because you’ve heard it’s popular. Be aware of who you want to reach and find out where they hang out online – for example, only 14% of Snapchat users are aged 35+ so that’s not the place to promote your luxury cruise holidays.
  • What are your campaign goals? Do you just want to boost brand awareness, or encourage some particular action? A sponsored forum discussion for example can be a great way to gather feedback on a new product, whereas a vlogger may be best placed to help you illustrate how it actually works.
  • What type of content does the campaign lend itself to? Don’t try to push a square peg in a round hole. If you’re selling books, is an Instagrammer sharing a photo of the cover really going to show off the product better than a fiction podcaster reading their favourite excerpt?
  • What is your budget? Different types of content require different amounts of time and effort to create. A 3-minute YouTube video is obviously more labour-intensive than a single photo for Instagram, so you should expect to pay more to work with an equally-influential content creator.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of influencer types (think journalists, celebrities etc.), or of all the things you should consider when deciding who to work with. However, the influencer playing field is enormous and ever-growing, and hopefully this article has given you the tools to narrow that down and decide which one or two platforms you should begin your influencer search on. If the prospect still seems daunting, find out more about how we can help make the process easy and hassle-free.

Which types of influencer do you expect to work with in 2017? 

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