One of the hottest words has to be „influencer” – it is not only the most frequent phrase in marketing, but it is often used in everyday conversations. Many media use it, and it has become an integral part of our lives. But do we know who influencers are? What do they do, and why are they interesting for the fitness industry?
This article answer you all of these questions, plus it also gives you tips on how to become an influencer yourself who is followed by hundreds and thousands of people on various platforms.
Who do we call an influencer?
You must have heard the word „influencer” in recent years a lot – however, there are still many who are not entirely aware of who do we exactly call an influencer. What sort of work do influencers do? And why are they important from a marketing perspective?
An influencer is someone who has a considerable size of followers on various social media platforms, and the message they’re communicating can reach and influence the masses. Basically an influencer is anyone who can have a major impact on a large group of people. A more ubiquitous phrase would be „thought leader” – this word has the same meaning, and let’s admit, it has a better ring to it.
What does an influencer do?
Online thought leaders generally spread their message using a certain field of expertise – their knowledge of their craft helps them become credible experts who can build a loyal follower base. This trust is one of the main reasons why influencers can reach out to vast amounts of followers. This also enables them to control their followers’ opinion and influence their preferences.
Platforms used by influencers can greatly differ. While they used to share their thoughts on blogs, things have changed a little ever since. Written posts have given way to various social media platforms, and apart from Facebook, Instagram and YouTube have rapidly become the favourite spot for influencers.
No wonder why – these platforms bear a lot of promise for creating creative content allowing to build a large, active community, which is a cornerstone for influencer marketing.
Why does influencer marketing work?
One thing you should totally know about influencer marketing is that modern thought leaders are followed on a voluntary basis. People subscribe to their content, because they trust their opinion and expertise, or simply because they regard them as interesting people to listen to.
This is why it’s vital that an influencer have a multi-faceted, interesting personality. They should be open to trying new things, follow the latest trends, and refrain from sharing their opinion or listening to their audience’s feedback. Interaction, and keeping in touch with followers are absolutely crucial for influencer marketing.
Since we’ve already mentioned expertise as a must, it’s also worth noting that a truly popular influencer generally focusses on one specific field, and saturates their content on social media accordingly. Think about gastro bloggers, or Instagram celebrities who dazzle us with photos taken during their travels around the globe. All these people have one thing in common: their platforms build around one specific topic or theme, and they post interesting, relevant and diverse content for their audience accordingly.
The more you delve into a certain topic, the more efficiently you’ll be able to build a healthy-sized online community around you and your brand. And why? Well, people always seek content that is interesting and useful for them. Things that helps them switch off or offer a solution for a problem. Using hashtags for instance help users find relevant content and influencers that they can rely on.
And there is no slowing down: there are more and more topics and influencers out there. Instagram and Facebook are used by hundreds of millions of people each day, and each and every one of them have the chance to filter content according to their preferences. This is why finding a niche on a saturated market of online though leaders isn’t as hard as you might think.
How can you become a thought leader online?
One of the greatest miracles of the internet and social media is that – just by investing a tiny amount of energy combined with a little bit of planning – anyone can become an influencer. Many think that the best influencers are usually celebrities like actors, singers or television personalities – people who already have a steady follower base and don’t find it difficult to have a good reputation. But one can easily argue with this proposition. And why?
Many people prefer following influencers who are close to them by being everyday normal people. The kind of folks who become celebrated online not because of their already existing reputation, but their expertise or their exciting content. This is why the fitness industry is a fertile ground for influencers: there are so many ways of exercising and they can be showcased in so many different ways to those interested.
Many trainers have recognised the potential in Facebook groups and building an online community, but if you want a truly loyal clientele, posting a random picture from your trainings semi-regularly or writing a short post about healthy diets won’t necessarily make the cut. Apart from the quality content, a real influencer pays attention to timing, keywords, and many other – seemingly minor – things.
The first and most important milestone on the way of becoming an influencer is producing quality content. It can be visual or text-based content as well – the only thing that matters is that your content is expertly edited, entertaining and/ or informative, regardless of the medium you’re using. On top of that, you better watch our to post credible content – if you fail to do so, you might have a negative impact on your follower base.
Real influencers know how much and when to post on different media platforms. Most platforms’ visitor stats vary during the day or the week, so you should keep an eye on when to go live with your posts on Facebook or Instagram.
What’s equally important is that you post as frequently as you can: if you’re inactive for weeks, people forget about you very quickly, plus search engines rank inactive and/ or rarely refreshed pages much lower.
Like we said, anyone can be an influencer. However, if you lack the enthusiasm and the devotion towards a certain topic or your field of expertise, and your sole aim is to acquire more and more money, just stop before you’d get into it. Most people sense if someone is dishonest, and if you lack the candour, even a previously loyal follower base can easily abandon you.
No wonder why – the magic of influencer marketing (opposing to direct marketing) is candour itself. People follow a blogger or an Instagram celebrity because they feel like the influencer is just like them: their message comes across and their lifestyle is more than appealing. But if it’s loud and clear that an influencer is influenced by various brands and sponsorships, trust may disappear and followers will easily think they’ve been fooled or influenced. A little ironic, isn’t it? The aim of influencer marketing is to influence people – however, it shouldn’t be done drastically.
Does it manipulate or influence opinions?
Influencer marketing can be done in many ways. Direct product placement of indirect influencing are just one side of the coin. A truly candid thought leader – apart from influencing their followers through their posts – always keeps an eye on only posting sponsored content that does not exceed their own moral boundaries.
For instance, a fitness trainer can easily post sponsored content that promotes a balanced diet, or the importance of exercising in an increasingly lazy society. Health supplements, training equipment and applications or anything else that can be related to their field of expertise can be posted as sponsored content as long as they help to fix their followers’ problems. And if you feel like your work ethic, ideas and routine could help people get closer to their goals, you can be sure that with the proper amount of commitment, you can also become an excellent influencer.