Influencers: Advertising or Content Marketing?

Influencers: are they informing you or selling you?

People talk about “influencers” but what is it? Influencers are opinion leaders about a specific topic, usually about a product or brand. The rise of influencers began through social media platforms. On these platforms, influencers serve as influential participants of online communities. This makes users consider them as a source of advice on specific topics, brands or products. Users think an influencer is a brand ambassador but it isn’t. An influencer emerges from social media and their contracts are short-term while brand ambassadors are high-end celebrities with a long term contract. Influencers can discuss any topic, that would depend on the interest of the influencer. The most common influencer are the ones that create content about fashion, beauty, and lifestyle. 

Type of Influencers

There are four types of influencers that are used to differentiate one from another. These types of influencers are snooper, informer, entertainer, and infotainer. The snoopers are influencers are famous by sharing random content with their users. The informers share their knowledge and are considered experts on the topic. The entertainers offer enjoyment and the infotainers are a mix of the informer and entertaining influencers. The most powerful one is the infotainer because they share their expertise by entertaining the user; adding more value to their content. Influencers usually partner up with brands for specific campaigns and in return, they get free products and the opportunity to add value to their personal brand. Influencers share their information with a content marketing technique but some users misinterpret this with advertising. What are the differences?

Influencers using Advertising

We relate advertising to traditional media but companies have found new ways to reach their audience through online strategies such as the use of an influencer. Advertising focus is on informing consumers about companies or products. With a direct approach, they talk to consumers; showing what they are offering and informing the benefits of it. A lot of companies are using influencers to advertise their products because they use social media to create online advertising. Platforms like Instagram allow influencers to inform when a post is sponsored or not. Usually, a sponsored post is used to educate a community with better results than traditional advertising and with the use of an influencer, it carries more weight because of their expertise. These types of posts are considered advertising, especially if the content of the post focuses on selling the product.

Influencers using Content Marketing

Content marketing has a long-term goal similar to what an influencer wants to approach. While advertising has a more general focus, content marketing focuses on offering valuable content to raise brand awareness to a specific group of people. Content marketing goes further than the main goal of informing the customers about their products; the same way influencers share their expertise towards products. Content marketing is an on-going process of posts and strategies and it can be shared through videos and pictures allowing brands or influencers to be more creative in sharing their content. 

So, what strategy do influencers use?

Influencers focus on sharing their message through content marketing, they include the products into their daily life routines and create content about it. This type of content marketing is a more reliable, affordable, and approachable strategy to reach communities. Users feel connected with the influencers because they relate to the stories they are sharing; even forgetting they are selling a product. This connection is important, it shows users’ credibility towards influencers regarding their expertise of any product or brand. Influencers create content marketing, but sometimes they integrate ad posts as part of a campaign they are working. Influencers understand that on social media, users don’t like to feel companies are selling them products this is why influencers go the extra mile and create creative content to engage with the audience, share their knowledge, and pray they influenced you in some way. 

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