Influencers vs Prosumers: Which can fulfill your content marketing needs?
With the advent of the social media, the age of influencers and prosumers is here. And the partnership between these people and brands is the key to accelerate the process of generating trust amongst the brand’s users through people who transmit authenticity, transparency and, above all, manage to achieve sufficient authority to be recommenders in their circle of influence.
As content marketing comes into its own and more and more brands create regular pieces of content, two- way communication between brands and its users has started flowing faster and further than ever before.
Who are prosumers and influencers?
- Prosumers: Prosumers are product and brand advocates who closely follow the brands they like and are active members of brand communities and forums. They are infrequent publishers of web content but wield influence in their peer group. To understand the prosumer better, think of that friend who knows everything about cars and probably has a favourite brand of car(s/he may or may not be the user of that car brand), and you would always seek this person’s advice before you purchase your next car.
- Influencers: Digital influencers are social mavens or active bloggers who create consistent web content in a particular category and on a specific platform and over a period have a built a loyal following of engaged users. Their followers not only trust them but eagerly look forward to their recommendations of products and services. Influencers exist in almost all high involvement/ aspirational categories such as beauty, fashion, travel, automotive etc.
What is common between prosumers and influencers?
Their approach to the market:
They are aware of the news and trends that arise in their favourite categories. Both prosumers and influencers closely follow and consume every little drop of content as they are thought leaders in their space. Their credibility resides in the fact that how much do they know.
The evaluation of their consumption:
These buyers share with their peers or followers their approval or dislike for the new product either in face-to-face conversations or on social networks. Their opinions are valued by those who want to listen to them and are usually asked for recommendations before making a purchase.
Difference between prosumers and influencers
Relationship with the brand:
Prosumers feel very strongly about the brands they follow and their products. Therefore, they are always willing to be a part of beta test groups, try samples, participate in brand contests etc. On the other hand, influencers are primarily motivated by what value they can add to the lives of their followers.
Influencers tend to stick only to the channel where they have already built an audience. Prosumers, who are heavy consumers of branded content, are popular on social media, discussion groups and sharing sites. They also share their opinion offline in their circle of influence.
How should marketers approach prosumers and influencers?
The prosumer already identifies with the brand and comes to the brand seeking useful and credible content. Therefore, brands need to start creating a lot of meaningful content centred around the needs of the prosumers. Great content will help a brand rank higher in the minds of the prosumer. Secondly, brands must engage prosumers in product development, market research and early testing. One way to do this is by releasing early betas for the prosumers. Another way to engage this audience would be to maintain lively and buzzing support forums, blogs, discussion boards etc. where they can voice their opinions. Finally, always encourage prosumers to share their opinions and experiences of the brand with their peers and in their community.
Influencers are category experts and need to constantly feed their channels with content that add value to their audiences’ life. Therefore, brands must look at constantly co-creating content along with the influencers that will increase the brands’ visibility and credibility. Brands must also be cautious that the content they co-create with the influencers should match the influencers’ storytelling style. Users immediately pick up major variations in tone of voice, and this sometimes causes a backlash for the partnering brand.
Identify relevant influencers and prosumers for your brand and use your content marketing initiatives to engage with them consistently. Also, consider these as special target segments when you are building your content calendars. With consistent effort, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of this strategy sooner than later.