As I proceed forward in writing my book on influencer marketing, The Business of Influence, I continue to be amazed at how widespread influencer marketing has become today. I embarked on writing this book because it was the number one question I have been asked as a social media speaker. When friends of mine outside of social media began to ask me about the role of influencers, I knew that the topic had become mainstream.
The Old Topic of Influencer Marketing
Of course, the topic of influence is not new at all. We have been talking about the topic of social media influence here on Maximize Social Business for several years, including the dozens of posts published here by my colleague Raymond Morin as well as those published in the early humble beginnings of influencer marketing today, which was called blogger outreach, from Kristen Matthews. Before we had social media, we had celebrity endorsements on television, before that radio, and before that literally word-of-mouth.
The Influencers of Today are Not the Celebrities of Yesterday
The influencers that are at the heart of influencer marketing might not hold the same amount of influence or have as large of a community as those celebrities of the past. That is the point: With the democratization of first content distribution and then content creation, it was only inevitable until influence as we know it became democratized as well. We are all influenced by different people, content, and mediums, and while celebrities are still influential entities, it is without doubt that more and more entities creating content and developing communities on social media have emerged and often hold influence over niche communities. These influencers might not be able to sway the opinion of millions, but even being able to influence the purchasing decision of hundreds or thousands of people can provide companies with lucrative avenues to incite word of mouth marketing in a generation where advertisements are distrusted more and more.