You’ve probably heard the term “influencer” floating around over the past decade. Thanks to the rise of social media they’ve become powerful members of the marketing world, so it’s best to know what they are, what they do, and why they matter to business owners. 

In this guide, we’ll be telling you everything you need to know about business influencers, including:

  • What is a business influencer?
  • Why they’re important for business owners.
  • Examples of business influencers.

What is a business influencer?

An influencer is a person with the power to affect their viewers’ purchasing decisions or behaviour. 

Influencers gain authority in their industry by building a strong reputation. Their reputation comes from their knowledge, experience, or expertise in a particular subject. 

They normally build up dedicated followings of people who pay close attention to them and engage with their content. 

Generally, there are 2 kinds of business influencers – dedicated influencers and influential business owners. 

Business owners

Successful business owners are influential in their normal business behaviour. People like Elon Musk, Richard Branson, or Jeff Bezos would fall into this category. They probably wouldn’t call themselves “influencers”, but they’re such large figures in the business world that everything they do will inevitably be influential. 

They will still use some of the same methods as traditional influencers like social media posts, endorsements, and public announcements, but it’s largely secondary to their main roles as CEOs. 

Dedicated influencers

Actual “influencers” are online personalities in who promote brands on their public channels. They have dedicated followings of various sizes, depending on the industry they’re involved with, and use that following to make money through marketing. 

Businesses will approach influencers and ask them to publically review, endorse, or use their products so they’re seen by the influencer’s followers. 

The advantage of using influencers over traditional marketing is the direct line they have to their audience, coupled with the trust and respect their audience has for them. It’s similar to a personal relationship, so followers are much more likely to take their recommendations and buy the products they recommend. 

There are a lot of channels that influencers can use, including:

  • Social media sites like Linkedin, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • Live events like conferences and charity events.
  • Guest posts and blogs on other platforms.

People know in their hearts that the products these influencers endorse are usually paid promotions, but they’ll hope that the influencer in question wouldn’t risk their status by endorsing a bad product. 

Not all influencers are paid by businesses. Some of them just review products, comment on news, and offer insights into industry developments. They act more like a general service for consumers and business owners, valuing integrity and knowledge over paid promotions. 

They can still make money from monetising their channels with ads, selling their own merchandise, or speaking at events, but they tend to shy away from personal endorsements. 

Why they’re important for business owners

There are 2 main reasons why business influencers are important for business owners. They are valuable resources that can help you stay updated on news and trends, and help you promote your own products and services. 

Stay updated

As it’s part of their job to keep their fingers on the pulse, following business influencers on social media is the best way to stay informed. Larger influencers will keep you in the loop about social trends and public conversation, but you should also follow small scale influencers more related to your industry for more specific information.

Business promotion

If you’re a small business owner, you probably won’t be able to get a hold of Bill Gates for a collaboration. But smaller scale business influencers are always looking for new partners to invest in or collaborate with. 

Getting your business mentioned by them will be a huge marketing boost. Being seen by their audience will bring more opportunities for new customers and investors all over the world.

Examples of business influencers

As we mentioned up above, there are different kinds of influencers. There is often some crossover because large business owners often branch out into advisory, leadership roles in the public eye. 

Influential business owners

These are some examples of business heavy weights who are, by default, business influencers. 

Richard branson

Best known as the founder of Virgin, which has now acquired more than 400 groups. He’s very outspoken about his methods for success, having published a range of books about his experiences, and frequently posting inspirational quotes on social media. 

Elon Musk

The founder, CEO, and Chief Engineer at SpaceX. Elon musk has become a incredibly influential public figure thanks to his outside-the-box approach to innovation. He tends to base his inventions around human needs and progress making him a siginificant voice on social issues. 

He has over 30 million followers on Twitter, and posts daily updates about his collaborations, future plans, and recommendations. 

Arianna Huffington

International media personality and founder of The Huffington Post. In 2016 she started Thrive Global, a startup company dedicated to health and wellness.

She has appeared in The Guardian’s “Top 100 in Media List” and Forbes’ “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.” 

Arianna is an outspoken business owner with a dedicated following who value her insights on modern day work culture. 

Business influencers

These are examples of people who would probably define themselves as influencers first. They are worth following for their insights, and reaching out to for collaboration. 

Their followers are usually in the hundreds of thousands and they focus on promoting small businesses. They’re always on the lookout for new partnerships and investments.

For small businesses looking to expand their marketing outreach, these sorts of people are the ones to reach out to. 

If you are looking for specific contacts, check out sites like Feedspot. They have a media contact database where you can get in touch with loads of influencers that are open for collaboration. 

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