Influence vs. Influencer: What’s the Difference?

Digital Marketing
Influence vs. Influencer: What’s the Difference?
Thrive Marketing Strategies • January 5, 2022

To be successful in business today, it is essential to have individuals who support you and your business, as well as those who will advocate for your product or service. Looking outside of your business to those who have an influence on your market’s niche can have a tremendous impact on your company’s growth. Whether you need a few more orders to hit your monthly goal or you are looking to build a million-dollar company, influencers are a great partnership opportunity to explore. The right individual can help make your product or service stand out while personally connecting with your target audience and ultimately growing your brand


But wait… we’re not talking exclusively about social media “influencers.”


Think Influence not “Influencer

When most people think of an “influencer” they instantly think of Instagram… YouTube… TikTok. That tunnel vision hinders our ability to see true community leaders — industry analysts, PTA parents, or even the local high school football coach — as influencers.


Jason Falls, author of Winfluence, shares a different perspective on the topic of influence vs influencer. His ideas have changed the way we think about the term “influencer”. He encourages us to focus on the action or goal (verb) we want to see rather than simply describing what someone on social media does (noun). Someone or something really has no value to your brand unless they truly have influence over your target audience. Do we want “influencer?” No. We want influence. That is the verb. We want action. We want results.


You might be surprised to learn that having a professional, positive influence in your community from an admired individual is a stronger marketing strategy than a traditional social media influencer with 100k followers. Here’s why…


Allow credible sources to speak on your behalf 

A successful influence comes from someone who is established as credible by others. This means anyone can have an influence on your business — a teenager who tells their friends about their experience, an admired doctor who recommends your products to their patients, a PTA mom or dad who advocates on behalf of your business, or a business owner (like you) who uses a specific product or service to better serve their customers. However, it’s important to note that having someone who is admired in their field of expertise or among a peer group of your ideal customers will allow the influence to be louder. 


Reach the right people with the right content

Remember, when it comes to media, content is KING. Whether it’s you or an individual speaking on behalf of your business, you must focus on adding value to your audience through content. When you have quality content, you become part of the conversation. Once you’ve determined your ideal customer, it opens the door on where to begin your content marketing strategy, where to publish ads, what media outlets to submit your content to, what bloggers you want to write about you, etc. 


It’s important to keep your influence positive, exciting, and value-added in order to attract an engaged audience. By following this philosophy of influence over “influencers,” you will see a shift in awareness and the way your brand is viewed.

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