It’s very likely that at some point in your life, you’ve been influenced by someone else. It could’ve been back in elementary school, when one of the “cool kids” started carrying a particular backpack or wearing a particular brand of sneakers. Suddenly, you wanted that, too. Or, maybe you saw a particular actor promoting a beverage on TV and decided it might be worth trying.

Today, it’s not just the cool kids in school and celebrities on TV who are convincing people to try new things or creating new trends. Digital influencers, such as vloggers, bloggers, and social media stars, also have the ability to sway the opinions of others and get people to take action.

Take a closer look at what digital influencer marketing is and how you can get it to work for you.

Defining Digital Influencer Marketing

Techopedia defines “digital influence” as the ability to create an effect, change opinions and behaviors, and drive measurable outcomes online.

Because of social media, blogs, and the internet in general, people now have lots of resources to turn to when they are looking for information or in the market to make a purchase. Digital influencer marketing can include everything from online reviews posted by consumers to recommendations made by bloggers/vloggers, and comments made on a video, blog post, or social media post.

Techopedia expands its definition of digital influence, noting that it happens because of three factors:

Reach

How far an influencer’s thoughts/opinions will travel.

Relevance

How much a subject or promotion aligns with the thoughts and interests at the moment. For example, an influencer post about the winter holidays posted in August won’t be particularly relevant.

Resonance

How well the topic connects with and engages with people. Resonance influences how long an influencer’s post will remain relevant.

Usually, all three factors need to be in place for digital influence to take place. Without reach, relevance, and resonance, it’s very unlikely that a post or video online will do much to effect change or convince people to act.

Digital Influencer vs. Traditional Influencer Marketing

Compared to digital influencer marketing, traditional influencer marketing refers to the use of influential people to sway the opinions and affect the actions of others, usually in an offline setting. Celebrity endorsements are a notable example of traditional influencer marketing, as are companies asking people to refer their friends or recommend their products to friends.

Traditional influencer marketing usually involves getting a celebrity to work with a brand for a long period of time. For example, former NBA star Michael Jordan has worked with Hanes for more than two decades.

Initially, digital influencer marketing typically saw brands working with bloggers and social media stars for one-off campaigns. But as the practice has evolved, digital influencer contracts are getting longer and becoming more like the contracts and relationships seen with traditional, offline influencers or celebrities.

The Benefits of Digital Influencer Marketing

Why has digital influencer marketing become so popular? In part because it works, and in part because so many people have embraced the digital world. Nearly three-quarters of adults in the U.S. use YouTube, according to Pew Research Center, and nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults are on Facebook.

Research from Google revealed that around 70 percent of teenage YouTube subscribers feel as if they can relate to popular YouTubers more than traditional celebs. About 40 percent of millennial YouTube users stated that they felt as if YouTube creators understood them better than their IRL friends.

Another considerable benefit of digital influencer marketing is simply that it works. More than half of women surveyed stated that they had made a purchase because of a post by a digital influencer.

How Brands Use Digital Influencer Marketing (Plus Examples)

You don’t have to look very far or for very long to find examples of brands using digital influencer marketing. Some companies, such as Daniel Wellington, have built themselves from the ground up using digital influencers. Daniel Wellington sends its watches out to social media influencers both large and small and also reposts user-generated content featuring its watches on its Instagram profile.

Car company Subaru has jumped into digital influencer marketing by using several hashtags and asking influencers to create and share posts with those hashtags. One is #meetanowner, which features people showing off how they live their lives with Subarus. Another is #Subarulovespets, which invites influencers and regular social media users to share pictures of their pets and cars.

How to Put a Digital Influencer Marketing Strategy Into Practice

If you’re ready to give digital influencer marketing a shot. Here is what you need to do to start developing  a strategy and execute a campaign:

Pick a goal

Figure out why you’re using digital influencer marketing and what you hope to gain from it. Decide on a goal that you can easily measure and track, such as increasing subscriber base, boosting sales by X amount, or attracting X new followers.

Define your audience and choose the right platform

Decide who you’re trying to reach with your influencer marketing. Then pick the platform that is the most appropriate place to connect with them. For example, Instagram tends to be the most popular platform for digital influencers.

Identify your influencers 

The best digital influencer for your brand is not just anyone. This influencer must be able to connect with your desired audience. As well as have  the right amount of reach, and track record for encouraging people to take action.

Decide how content will get created

Will you let the influencer have complete control over the content, or will you expect more of a collaboration?

Disclose, distribute, and track content

Your digital influencer marketing strategy needs to include details about disclosure.  This includes , how you’ll let people know that an influencer’s posts are #ads. Additionally, a plan for distributing content, and a plan for tracking and measuring the campaign.

Although digital influencer marketing shares some similarities to traditional influencer marketing, it’s really its own unique thing. If you haven’t jumped on the social media bandwagon yet and aren’t using digital influencers in your marketing. Now’s the time to get on board.

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