Who is an influencer? And how do they work?

Influencers (or as they prefer to be called “content creators”) are “individuals with the capability of affecting the opinions and actions of others” (Boon, Kurtz, MacKenzie & Snow, 2016). 

Social media influencers are part of the “digital reputation economy” or “attention economy” as it has been coined. According to professor, Alison Hearn (2010), they are “Living an online, self-branded representation of ‘the self’ as a form of affective, immaterial labour that is purposefully undertaken by individuals to garner attention, reputation, and potentially, profit.”

Those with more than 5 thousand followers can charge and collaborate with brands. Read more about who is an influencer

OK, but what do they do?

They create content with an without seeded marketing messages. These two types of content are known as “anchor content” and “filler content” (Abidin, 2017). 

Influencer Jillian Harris is a master of anchor/filler content (L: Baby Annie’s Birthday “filler content; R: Cookbook plug; timed to Thanksgiving “anchor” content)

Filler content = their real lives. It is crafted to appear like you or me (amateur). They give their audience a glimpse into their lives that is likened to “backstaging”. This type of content is not crafted for profit, but rather the main motivation is to drive narrative and build community. There are 6 main types:

  1. Developmental milestones
  2. Family occasions
  3. Errands
  4. Confessions
  5. Reactions
  6. Logistics/AMA

Anchor content = this is high quality, highly scheduled, and is crafted for profit. There are 4 types of filler content:

  1. Traffic referral
  2. Product giveaways
  3. Product placement
  4. Product collaboration
Here are a few more examples from Jillian Harris on the left “filler” on the right “anchor” for partners: Sage Wellness (product placement); Smash & Tess (product collaboration); Telus (traffic referral); Penguin Canada (product collaboration)

Not sure where to start when it comes to influencers? Then The Talk: Influencer 101 could be the seminar or workshop for you. 

Covering the history of influencers/content creators; types of content they create; how they monetize; organic vs. paid eWOMM, who is an “influencer” vs. “advocate”, and much more. 

After getting a primer on everything influencer we will jump into a post-it note exercise about the 3 questions you should consider when deciding if an influencer program is the right strategy for your business. 

To bring this talk to your office – let’s find a date.

2 thoughts on “The Talk: Influencer 101”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *