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Influencer marketing: what is it?

Influencer marketing is something that has gained prominence during the past decade. Its rise in popularity coincides with the rise of Instagram and YouTube. But what does it mean to be an influencer?

Posted 06 May 2020

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Influencer marketing – A brief explanation

When was the last time you wanted something but had no idea which product was a good buy? These days, markets in most fields are saturated with an abundance of products that all seem to do the same thing but at drastically differing prices. So how do you distinguish and choose something that’s right for you? One way is to surf the internet and check out reviews of products that initially catch your eye. The world wide web seems to have everything you could ever want, at your fingertips. People who buy things online also like to talk about them and are encouraged to share their feedback by social media platforms. Other people read and take on board the articles written and found online. Thus, there is a community that talks about everything from vacuum cleaners to makeup, cars and even planes with reviews for every single one of them. And businesses want their products to sell, so they approach the people who have the most listeners and followers with the aim that these followers will buy the product being promoted via their recommendations, to the influencer’s audience.

The new wave of digital marketing

This particular way of marketing has been around for at least a decade, and many influencers have popped up all over major social media channels. As mentioned above, the most popular channels that influencers use are YouTube and Instagram. Both are popular worldwide, with millions of potential customers accessing and consuming content every day. The main market that’s had a big presence right from the start has been the cosmetics industry – with a whole host of influencers, each addressing their respective niche audiences. A notable and successful case study within this particular market is that of Kylie Jenner. She grew her business through the influence of Instagram to become one of the most successful cosmetics companies known today. Other influencers within this industry have also created their own brands associated with their name. This is also very profitable for cosmetic manufacturers because partnering up with an influencer with a large following means guaranteed reach and profit. Jeffreestar is also another influencer who is very popular on YouTube, as shown below.

Jeffreestar YouTuber

Current trends

In recent years, lifestyle and travel bloggers have been hogging the spotlight. These markets may have been slower in gaining traction online because these particular sectors already had prominence in mainstream media like television. There are specialist companies that also provide services that cater to your travelling needs. However, mainstream is just that. Run of the mill with no USP to make them stand out. People now want unique and customised experiences more than ever, and they want to experience the lifestyles and cultures that are different from their own. Experiences that a tour guide wouldn’t be able to provide. And this is where influencers come in.

Lifestyle and travel influencer marketing campaigns provide you with content from people who live in a destination. As the audience is also familiar with the influencer, it has more of a personal touch. The result is that people following them are more likely to visit the recommended places as opposed to seeing them on a TV ad. When an influencer’s target audience experiences it for themselves, it becomes a unique experience to them. This explains why there are a lot more travel influencers around than ever. Perks include promotions for hotels and restaurants which lead to more customers visiting them. One advantage for influencers is being able to travel at lower prices as they get sponsored by these hotels and even airlines to fly and showcase their first-class services.

Travel Vlogger

Even real estate has its own niche on the YouTube channel where they showcase lavish penthouses and mansions. To us ordinary folk, this is merely eye candy, but real estate agents get their name out there as providers of luxury properties, and potential buyers will become interested as they see that the videos can garner millions of views.

real estate

Delving deeper into influencer marketing

There are different levels of influencer marketing. These categories include the huge influencers, medium-sized influencers and more recently, macro-influencers. The huge influencers have been on the scene for almost as long as influencer marketing has been a thing. Thus, they have massive followings upwards of a million. The biggest solo YouTuber is Pewdiepie, who has over 100 million subscribers right now.


He is known for his let’s play and game commentary videos. But his relationship with YouTube hasn’t always been plain sailing. Because of his following, even a giant like YouTube appreciates that they have to respect him despite them being at odds. His recent antics saw him battle it out with the biggest Bollywood record label T series to reach the 100 million subscribers milestone. A single person going against a whole music label is something only made possible because of YouTube’s global influence. Mid-sized influencers have anything between 100k and a million followers. The smaller have between 5k and 40k and micro have fewer followers and often focus on something niche. In the case of niche influencers, their followers are incredibly loyal and are persuaded by the influencer through their knowledge on the subject matter.

New strategies to differentiate your brand

Morioka Shoten

An example of such niche environments but in the physical sense include a tiny bookstore called Morioka Shoten in Ginza that sells only one book; more precisely, multiple copies of one title that changes weekly. It also has a small book inspired art exhibition on the walls. This fascinating concept attracts many customers from around the world. It is one of a kind, with the books available in the shop selected according to the owner’s taste. This creative concept turns the shop into a form of an art gallery in which the product is showcased with the utmost care, and the information and content available delve deep into the subject matter. Unlike other shops in which many different products are sold with little information about them, this particular way of selling flips the recognised concept of what it means to sell a product, on its head, with great success.

Social media advertising – future opportunities for your business?

Social media and its influence continue to grow, and this global phenomenon affects the majority of people who live in the developed world with access to the internet. The developing world is also catching up in terms of connectivity, and the majority of the population will be online at some point in the near future. This brings along with it, a massive audience and a huge marketing opportunity. Being on social media is definitely the right way to go; however, localisation of your content aimed at people who live in the target market is also paramount as not everyone speaks English. Click on the following links to delve deeper into localisation, content marketing and cultural intelligence.

Interest in video content continues to grow, along with the list of specialist influencers in niche markets. Consumers are also becoming more knowledgeable in terms of market positions and where businesses stand. Businesses will also have to work in more creative ways if they want to capture the attention of these well-informed consumers. To get your content out there to potential customers, creating content in the language of the intended market is the best way forward. ALM Translations has a long tradition of providing top-quality marketing translations by translators who not only have a highly developed understanding of their language but also the all-important cultural nuances that make all the difference. For more information on video content, click here.

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