Inspirational and stories of normality

More and more often we hear about influencer marketing or influencers. And more and more often there are people who earn money by being influencers. With incomes that are by no means negligible!

By now, influencer marketing has changed the world of work in no small measure, creating new jobs and business opportunities. If all this seems impossible, know that many well-known companies have shifted some of their advertising investments to influencer marketing.

On this page, you will learn everything you need to know about influencer marketing.

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is a form of marketing based on the influence that certain individuals exert on the buying power of others. In the 1990s it was the Testimonials, today it is people like you who have gained notoriety on the web.

Influencer marketing was already being talked about in 2014, the year of the Harvard Business Review article “3 Reasons to Kill Influencer Marketing”. Back then, marketers were still moving by parameters that could not always be detected and analyzed.

The variable nature of viral influence has remained the same, so Harvard was undoubtedly right about that. Today you can be top of the league by virtue of viral content and tomorrow capitulate without warning. There are no half-measures, you have to be valuable at all times to stay at the top. In surveys of top marketers worldwide, it is clear that around 25 percent of them foresee a decidedly catalytic role for influencers in the coming years.

What makes Influencer Marketing today that factor to always include in the budget of a successful campaign? Who are influencers and why have they become so important for companies? No one can avoid at least making an assessment of whether to include an influencer in their marketing plan. This is because in just a few years, perhaps the most important factor in advertising has changed: the channel.

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The Time and Space of Influencer Marketing: When and Where the Story Wins

An Influencer is a person like you who tells a story or shares his or her daily life through the Social Networks we consult every day on our smartphones. Nothing transcendental. Going on Instagram or Facebook is like having coffee. The influencer inserts himself with his stories into that crack of space-time in which we are all subject to influence. This is, using simple words, influencer marketing. The authenticity of stories by those who are like us no longer fears the competition of those lofty experiences operated by the big names up to five years ago.

If until a few years ago the consumer only came into contact with Ads through extra-digital channels, i.e. newspapers, radio, TV & the like, today the parameters are subverted. It is the consumer’s experience in relation to the product that has completely changed. The influencer is part of an era in which the consumer is at the center of marketing dynamics. This is one of the main differences between traditional marketing and influencer marketing.

There is no more story, only stories. The advent of social media brings the authenticity of real life to the web, for those who want to tell it. Instagram above all, but also YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, become a place for meeting and sharing, real Communities to which we pay more attention than any TV ad. As we become part of this or that Community, we in turn are objects of study, and we are giving rise to our User Experience (UX).

In other words, we are providing very clear input to careful analysts who, based on the analysis of the data we ourselves provide with our clicks, can easily know what interests us, when, and why. They can at the same time know with a good approximation which influencer has the most hold on us. They can save quite a bit of money although, like any emerging production phenomenon, there is still no well-structured pricing system for the use of influencers. Find out also how to collaborate with influencers. In the following paragraphs, you will learn more about influencer marketing.

The four pillars of Influencer Marketing

Artificial Intelligence and the study of neural networks come to our aid to know and trace the exact profile of net surfers, the so-called Persona (ideal user, for a specific product/service). By knowing the consumer, by tracing their precise profile, the Marketing Specialist wastes less and less time and knows exactly who he is addressing, and what to propose in terms of products.

Consequently, he also knows exactly which influencer marketing to employ to increase the visibility of his own products and brand, and what will fully satisfy his increasingly select audience. This process is fundamental to influencer marketing.

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The conflict between influencer marketing and old marketing practices, however, is still there. If the consumer today flees from advertising because he is bored or because of the lack of authenticity or because he does not recognize himself in the influencers, the disappointment could be even greater if his “ordinary person” comes to him in the role of an Ads subject, with the well-told, but the perhaps unspoken, story. Reputation and authenticity are everything for an Influencer.

A question of loyalty, of transparency. Hence the Federal Trade Commission’s introduction of dedicated hashtags, a clear statement of commercial intent, and a guarantee of greater transparency (#ad, #paid). However, although reflections on consistency and honest user loyalty are the order of the day, even the supposed lack of transparency has not dampened the phenomenon. We are increasingly susceptible to the influence of our fellow human beings, thanks to the empathic levers that we receive.

Authenticity, storytelling, normality proposed on the web and inspiration therefore represent the four factors that can concretely build a Brand reputation today. The effectiveness of a winning influencer marketing campaign is directly proportional to the growth in visibility and reputation of the Brand itself, precisely through the appeal to shared normality. Everyone is placing a certain value on the empathetic action of the influencer.

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Influencer Marketing: between User Experience and Engagement

What is the difference between Engagement and User Experience (UX)? The User Experience represents and defines the user’s experience on the wide-area network, the sum of its actions. It is based on the concept of User Interface (UI) and is defined by all those parameters that identify the user’s interaction with devices and the network.

Today, the interface most used by each of us is undoubtedly the Mobile, followed by the Desktops on which we all work, Tablets, and so on. Through the movements, we make on the net, each of us leaves something of ourselves, which allows analysts to roughly trace the various profiles.

We essentially receive and generate our User Experience, which is now subject to in-depth analysis in almost every area of Digital Marketing.

Engagement, on the other hand, is already the result of emotional involvement. It is generated by winning storytelling that leverages emotions and thus creates empathetic involvement. It is the child of a good proven User Experience to which the user is driven to return repeatedly by a sense of belonging, by the recognition of shared values and passions, and by feeling part of a Community.

Influencer marketing becomes a winner through the use and correct use of data, while Engagement can be its ultimate goal. The best victory of a marketing campaign is in fact the final loyalty of the user, who from an occasional buyer becomes a regular customer.

The 3 Influencer Marketing Players: Brand Value, Influencers, and Followers

In a well-done Influencer Marketing process that respects ethical and non-ethical spaces, none of the three comes before the other, none of the three is more functional than the other. The three actors in Influencer Marketing are:

  1. Brand Value. The first consequence of good use of influencers in marketing campaigns is certainly the growth of the Brand in terms of identity and value. Two concretely important values for the Marketing of the future, give the Brand a temporal character. In fact, identity is not subject to the fickle wave of viral content that might decay tomorrow: it is something more lasting. A valuable influencer campaign has the power to build that enduring factor, even when the influencer who contributed is perhaps no longer at the top of their game. Identity and value remain because they contribute to the creation of a community around the brand. The user’s sense of belonging is precisely what will always make him prefer a given product to another, often without any effort toward further research.
  2. Influencers. Ordinary men and women, with their stories artfully told. The recognizability and normality of the experiences brought to the web by influencers for pleasure and passion, leveraging emotions, inspiration, and closeness to common life. They are now a really well-paid occupation, exploiting the most accessible and user-friendly channels such as social media and blogs. Of course, one walks a tightrope. Since the people of the net (followers) always decide the fate of the influencer, success is something to be earned daily in the field. A field of merit and credibility.
  3. Followers. They are the basis of influencer marketing. The first success factor for the Brand and the influencer. They are the concrete components of the eventual Community that can be generated around the Brand and the Influencer itself. They are the profit generators. They are the People. Hence, the maximum attention of today’s marketers to what the User Experience and contextual analysis represent in relation to company profits. Equally maximal must be the influencer’s attention to never betray the expectations and sensibilities of those who remain the lifeblood of the influencer marketing process. Precisely with this in mind, Instagram (the social network most in use among influencers) continuously implements new regulations for sponsored content (Branded Content Policy) to protect the user experience.

User Experience & Personas: Winning Influencer Marketing

When we perform web searches (queries), express preferences, or read blogs, we are all someone’s Persona. Those who read beauty blogs, for example, represent specific personas and might be interested in cosmetics products. The Persona is nothing more than the typical consumer of a given product/service, and being able to identify its profile is the only factor that will present the Marketing Specialist with a real opportunity to reduce waste.

Note that the existence of a consumer good is not necessary for a Persona to exist: even a Blog has its Personas, in this case, called Reader Personas, while the more connoted Buyer Persona refers to the typical buyer, and is the cardinal principle of Inbound Marketing.

Our good online experience identifies perfectly with our digital world, in which we build click after click, preference after preference. Once the construction of the ideal consumer model is complete, the marketer who decides to improve his or her brand value and increase sales and profits has only to identify the influencer who best matches the demands of his or her specific market, and contextually offer the right answer to the right people.

Today, there are an infinite number of influencers, even high-profile ones (think of Cristiano Ronaldo or Chiara Ferragni), so numerous as to have led to the rise of countless companies on the net, true influencer marketing agencies that offer advice on which one is best to use and the relative pricing, targeted on the basis of the type of business and the profile of the Personas of the moment.

In the virtuous circle of influencer marketing, the typical consumer is a conditio sine qua non for the influencer, who in turn is for the Brand and the consumer himself. For one it contributes to the growth of visibility and the building of the Brand, while for the other it remains the image to follow, leaving the final act of purchase to the emotions and experience of a well-crafted story.

In terms of Brand Value, the use of the right Influencer is an excellent card to play.

What are the tools of the influencer?

The Influencer Marketing phenomenon (which has also led to the emergence of new figures such as the Influencer Marketing Manager), as mentioned, was born by virtue of the existence and spread of Social Media. It can be said with certainty that the tools that best match the Influencer’s activity are precisely those social media that allow a high degree of freedom in visual and inspirational content. Of all of them, Instagram and YouTube are undoubtedly the most suitable and used. Facebook and Twitter follow, but also the combined use of two or more of them.

The user can easily interact with his or her favorite influencer, can comment, and play a role in the influencer’s experience. He/she can, through social media, feel part of the inspiration he/she willingly receives. Learn more about influencer marketing software.

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Why is Visual Content so important in influencer marketing?

By virtue of the aforementioned property of interconnection between User, Influencer and Brand Value, a valuable user experience wants emotions to be remembered, effective and creative storytelling that aims at immediate emotions. Instagram Stories and videos are and remain the delivery modes that best match the ultimate goal of an Influencer Marketing Campaign. Allowing the user to recognize themselves immediately through eye contact (which, if done well, can easily touch a person’s other senses) and the match of shared values, also brings them closer to the product proposed by the Influencer.

It is easy to see how difficult it is to be an Influencer today. One move in that highly meritocratic world, where the proposition of content (in this case predominantly visual, but above all indispensably inspirational) of a high level becomes the primary source of earnings. Being of interest is not a choice, for the influencer. It need not be for everyone, as analyzed in the previous paragraphs, but for his or her niche it is. It is a must.

It can be said that the first influencers did not choose to be or start working in the field of influencer marketing; they were co-opted first and foremost by the so-called followers (people, not yet buyers), to whom they offered valuable network experiences, so they knowingly decided to “follow” and remain loyal to that magical influence.

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It is the followers that an ordinary person becomes an influencer.

Subsequently, the power of this was also and above all escaped thanks to digital analysis tools. Great Brands have analyzed the value of proposing themselves only where, when and to whom they really wanted. In this way, they have increased the company’s profit, while also reducing losses due to all those marketing actions that were previously untracked and, consequently, unmanageable. This is one of the main advantages of influencer marketing.

They have created a new job, done by those who do it with passion: the Influencer. For these reasons, it remains extremely difficult to take the path of the Influencer without a Solid Reputation. A bit like the chicken and the egg. However, nothing is impossible when you start from a solid foundation. What are these foundations?

YouTube Marketing, Instagram Marketing, Storytelling, and Visual Content, for starters. Finally, question yourself about your own degree of authenticity: self-analysis will not please everyone, but it will certainly please some.

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