2017 is a big year for influencer marketing; Internet search for the term “influencer marketing” has increased 90 times since 2013. Influencers in the online marketing domain are becoming more powerful and attractive to brands and professionals that are eager to utilize their platform to hack their growth. This phenomenon is supported by eMarketer data, which shows that 85 percent of marketers are now using influencer marketing strategies.
Moreover, Earned Media Value (EMV) data revealed to achieve identical media results, influencer marketing has been proven to be more efficient than other types of marketing. eMarketer further shows that the highest EMV for influencer marketing campaigns is in the consumer packaged goods food industry, tourist destinations, travel, and beauty sectors with $12 to $14 earned per $1 spent. It is an awesome Return on Investment (ROI) indeed.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Now, before we move forward too fast, let’s clarify the terms. What is “influencer marketing”? What is an “marketing influencer”? These are two different terms, and should not be used interchangeably. “Influencer marketing” refers to a marketing approach that uses various online platforms to disseminate messages through individuals with a strong following. A “marketing influencer” is an individual shares all kinds of messages through their strong following for marketing purposes.
Note that “disseminating messages” is an important part in both definitions. Sharing itself is far from “selling,” which is usually direct, blunt, and can be somewhat pushy. That being said, a good marketing influencer is someone who shares educational, inspiring, informative, or entertaining messages that appeal to followers without sounding promotional at all. Influencers have a good reputation; they are visible and actively interacting with their followers every single day.
These traits further explain why influencer marketing is a very attractive marketing tactic. The valuable content, which can come in the format of articles, ebooks, white papers, videos, and podcasts make them even more attractive. Because of their high value, many of these materials are used in various business decision-making activities and kept for future references. This being said, influencer marketing is getting more indispensable due to its organic influence.
What Kinds of Marketing Influencers Are Available?
In general, there are many kinds of “marketing influencers,” which belong to two categories.
The first category is the “celebrity” influencers. They became famous through conventional means, such as print and TV appearances, but they also became famous through online exposure. They can be quite influential in various interests and passions, such as Richard Branson, Kim Kardashian, Gigi Hadid, Anthony Bourdain, Tim Ferris, and Robert Kiyosaki. They are famous for who they are and what they do on a daily basis, so whatever they are doing online attracts attention from the media and their followers.
The second category is the “niche” influencers, who are known and admired for their specific strengths, talents, and interests that are appreciated by their followers. Those influencers are further sub-categorized into various different niches, such as entrepreneurship, beauty, fashion, travel, cooking, book publishing, online marketing, and others.
These influencers usually don’t have an existing celebrity status, but are instead “regular people” with a strong interest and passion in something specific, which make them influential and, naturally, well known. They are considered as the subject matter experts with in-depth knowledge. For instance, in entrepreneurship, we have James Altucher. In beauty, Michelle Phan. In fashion, Dulce Candy. In cooking, Laura Vitale (Laura in the Kitchen). In book publishing, Jane Friedman. In online marketing, Neil Patel.
According to Ron Schott, the Senior Communications Manager at Microsoft, “celebrity” influencers bring mass exposure, while “niche” influencers bring weight in subjects and mass reach. Schott distinguished them as “celebrities” and “influencers,” while I call them “celebrity influencers” and “niche influencers.” Depending on the products and services to sell, you can choose the types of influencer to partner with.
12 Top Online Marketing Influencers
Below, I will be introducing you to 12 influencers in the field of online marketing. They are your go-to persons for learning how to market products, and use online services to gain better visibility, efficiency, and ROI. They are self-made gurus and experts who became famous due to their online efforts. You can learn a lot from them as I did. Moreover, they all publish articles on their blogs where they shed their super marketing insights for us. Follow their Twitter accounts to receive snippets of their wisdom as well.
Danny Sullivan is the founding editor of Search Engine Land publication. He has been involved in search engines and search marketing since 1996. His company, Third Door Media, publishes the Search Engine Land and produces SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He knows how serious search engine marketing is, and has the most updated strategies to learn from.
Leonard Kim had a humble beginning as he worked as a failed car salesman until he later cracked the code to selling. He now teaches how to build personal branding, get featured in publications, and hack the growth of your social media following through InfluenceTree (https://influencetree.com/course/), which he co-founded with a partner.
Bryan Kramer is a seasoned social business strategist, keynote speaker, executive coach, and best-selling author of business books on disruptive online strategies. His two books ‘There is No B2B or B2C: It is Human to Human’, and ‘Shareology: How Sharing is Powering the Human Economy’ have been praised for their authoritative thought leadership and high applicability. His works are the testament to his in-depth understanding of the intricacies and interworking of both social technologies and social behaviors.
Amy teaches small business owners, solo entrepreneurs, and trainers to build a highly-engaging email list to help to sell digital and physical products with ease. Her blog includes a long list of user-friendly products for e-commerce beginners, including complete novices.
LinkedIn is the number one B2B site with 277 percent more effectiveness for lead generation than Facebook or Twitter. Eighty percent of their users are decision makers with average annual income of $109K. This being said, LinkedIn is the perfect place to start a serious business networking activity that may lead to revenue generation. Melonie Dodaro can coach you on how to use this B2B platform for business growth, by creating an instant LinkedIn funnel.
Aleyda Solis speaks and writes in English and Spanish, making her language skills a competitive advantage among other SEO experts. She is the author of the highly-acclaimed SEO book in Spanish “SEO. Las Claves Esenciales.” She has spoken at 70 conferences in 19 countries bilingually. She is a sought after SEO consultant in European, American and Latin-American companies.
Andrea Vahl is a social media expert and consultant who co-authored Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies and worked as the Community Manager for Social Media Examiner. She is superbly passionate about teaching people to get better engagement with Facebook posts and Twitter tweets. She teaches at Social Media Manager School (http://socialmediamanagerschool.com). She also moonlights as a standup comedian in Denver and Boulder.
Joanna Weibe is the guru of copywriting for the web, although she said that she “stumbled” into it accidentally. She did not even like the term “copywriter,” so she changed it to “creative writer.” Today, she is a master in copywriting, whose copies turn leads into profits. If you want to learn the best-kept secrets in sales and online marketing, Joanna is your guru.
Andy Crestonia has figured out “the formula” for online marketing: attract and convert visitors with content and promotion. Thus, it is imperative for marketers to have the skills to distinguish the good from the bad. Andy is the “chemist” from whom you can learn all about developing this formula and applying the ingredients in your online business.
Abdullahi Muhammed is someone to look up to whenever you want to make 20X the impact with less work. His method does not involve vanity metrics like Facebook “likes” and bulk backlinks, but on specific and measurable metrics built with exceptional content that would earn high authority, improve brand reputation, and increase revenue. He and his team are highly ethical and always strive to deliver.
Allen Gannett founded a data-driven software company named TrackMaven that helps marketers to use data in marketing activities. The platform includes analytics, competitive intelligence, ROI optimization, pipeline attribution, and click and analytics monitoring, which can be connected with popular social media, analytics, marketing automation, content, and CRM platforms. His resources and blog pages offer tons of in-depth knowledge of data-driven marketing that you can adapt to your online business.
Jacob Varghese is an entrepreneurial digital strategist with strengths in inspiring, educating, and mentoring stakeholders, while at the same time providing solution-oriented strategies to increase revenues and decrease costs. With a strong reputation in hands-on digital marketing, he has been praised for growing businesses by integrating and adapting both online and offline marketing strategies, goals, and corporate cultures. He is currently director of marketing for Solufy, developers of the popular AKWIRE for IBM Maximo CMMS.
There is no doubt that 2017 is a great year for influencer marketing. Not only have the statistics shown a huge exponential growth, but also the quality of the influencers themselves. In the future, we can expect to see more and more marketers using influencer marketing for all kinds of products and services. And since this type of marketing both looks and feels organic, consumers wouldn’t feel being bombarded by ads and promotional materials. Influencer marketing may as well be the answer on why “advertising is dead.”