It’s no secret that influencer marketing has been around almost as long as the concept of business itself, from word-of-mouth recommendations to celebrity endorsements. What has changed dramatically in the last few years however, is the type of influencers that rule the roost. In today’s marketing spheres, untouchable celebs and all-powerful critics have made way for, amongst others, the blogger, the social media persona and the vlogger.
That said, it can sometimes be tricky to see how one influencer type differs from another. Why would one work with a vlogger in place of a blogger or content producer? And what advantages does employing a social voice have over a more traditional, print based one?
At this point, it is worth noting that almost all influencers will engage with their followers and readers through at least two of the three types we are discussing. However, every influencer has a primary platform – the one on which they have the largest influence.
This post focuses on identifying the differences between these, as well as which will work the best for your brand and overall business goals. Notepad and pen at the ready…
1. The ‘Social Star’
Chatty, bubbly and always up on the latest trends, the social media influencer is at the hub of the ever changing industry they specialise in, pouring an immense amount of energy, time and effort into building and maintaining a large network of allies through constant interaction. Although the number of social channels to consider has increased dramatically of late, with Snapchat and Instagram’s rise being the most marked, the way that influence works on them all is pretty similar. The social influencer is much more reactive than a blogger or a vlogger, often being lead by trending topics and hot conversations and hashtags, as opposed to previously planned content.
Unsurprisingly, social influencers will demonstrably be followed by huge numbers of people, but it is the engagement you should pay attention to when identifying someone who has real power through a social channel. A content churning, multiple hashtagging machine does not a genuine influencer make.
Should I work with a social star?
There is significant research that suggests consumer habits are massively swayed by social media. In a survey conducted last year by Pricewaterhousecoopers, 45% of buyers claimed that their purchasing decisions were affected by social media reviews and content. You don’t have to be a Pricewaterhousecoopers analyst to work out that social influencers are a good bet if you’ve got a product to sell.
Where social influencers come into their own however, is brand reputation. If you are concerned with getting your brand actively talked about and showcased to a wide audience, a social influencer can provide you with staggering exposure and OTSs. The influencer will be able to advise on how best to do so.
2. The ‘Blogger’
Blogging is the millennial superstardom, if done right. A whole groundswell of previously ‘normal people’ have become online celebrities due to their newfound ability to share their stories and adventures. The blogger’s influence is largely inbound, namely through a dedicated and constantly growing readership. For all the hype around visual content becoming ever more dominant, evidence suggests that the power of the written word is stronger now than ever.
A blogger is, effectively, the content strategist, researcher, SEO manager, writer and editor of their very own online magazine, and, largely speaking, will be drawing in readership numbers that could rival, nay trounce, actual magazines. The blogger has influence through being able to build up a long-standing relationship with their readers and revealing aspects of their own lives that develop a connection hard to replicate.
Should I work with a blogger?
Because bloggers naturally have much more space to share their experiences than the restrictions of social content, they are often a great fit for brands that provide a service. This is because a blogger’s appeal is experiential, everything they share and write about is drawn from personal experiences. Therefore, a service that the blogger can experience using and then post about is the ideal partnership.
Of course, this is not the only way brands can work with bloggers. Blogger influence is directed towards readership, and although a good blog will be drawing new visitors in every day, this type of audience is largely already established and invested. A blog’s readers already trust the voice they read – the groundwork is done. Therefore, a brand looking to market to and engage with a specific focused, engaged audience should seriously consider a blogger as a great way to do this.
3. The ‘Vlogger’
Tapping into the recent marketing zeitgeist, a vlogger’s medium is visual, namely, video. Creating regular filmed segments, the vlogger literally speaks to their audience in a more visceral way than either social or blogger influencers. Because of the candid and open manner of engaging with followers that vlogging allows for, the vlogger’s influence is particularly powerful.
Should I work with a vlogger?
As already heavily hinted, vloggers are very good at showcasing physical products, as they are able to show themselves actually using them, as well as their results. A brand looking to launch a new product, particularly one that fits into a popular vlogging genre (e.g. beauty, travel, food) would do well to dive into the pool of video content stars to do so.
Undeniably, visual content is also incredibly shareable, and has huge potential to ‘go viral’. As a case in point, hugely popular vlogger Jenna Marbles, who is now rocking a cool 16 million subscribers to her YouTube channel, went from relative obscurity to 5.3 million views of her debut video ‘How to Trick People into Thinking You are Good Looking’ in just one week. Her second video was featured by the New York Times. If this kind of reach would be a blessing rather than a burden to your brand, vloggers may well be the way forward.
Although the world of online influencers may seem hard to permeate and figure out, each platform, channel and content form has its own unique benefits and subtle ways of working. Getting to grips with which of these will work best for not only your brand, but your specific objectives, is essential.