Influencer marketing as a public relations strategy has exploded across all brands and sectors since it was first rose to popularity 20 years ago. This started with the increase of bloggers sharing content and experiences, expanding with the growing popularity of social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram as spaces to share, and reaching new heights now with TikTok, podcasts, and influencers becoming more niche and specific about the audiences they market to. Consumers turn to influencers because they trust them, agree with their opinions or styles, or simply want to hear the input of an impartial party. Even influencers who enter into paid agreements with brands or companies still use the products they support- and even if they don’t, their personal brand becomes associated with those products regardless, so they may as well be doing so.
Influencers have become increasingly more important for growing sectors like fintech, blockchain, high-tech, and financial services. Competition is steep as more companies enter the markets, and audience education is key to standing out from the crowd.
Influencer or Celebrity?
With all the popularity influencers in certain industries have garnered for themselves recently, one question that may need to be cleared up is: what is the difference between a celebrity and an influencer?
What sets apart an influencer from a celebrity is how they gained their popularity. Celebrities become popular due to the work they do, such as making music or acting in movies or TV shows, and brands sometimes choose to hire them as spokespeople for certain campaigns due to their wide-reaching popularity. Influencers, on the other hand, earn their status by becoming resources within a very specific, niche market and speaking directly towards that specific audience, making them experts in the space, and then their popularity and reach can sometimes grow into other related topics from there.
Influencers and Brand Growth in Fintech PR
As interest in fintech has exploded in recent years, we have seen an emergence of influencers in the space as well. These individuals often come from a journalism background, with a built-in audience interested in learning about a growing industry. Fintech influencers often present their thought leadership in content like blogs, newsletters, and podcasts, and use their social media platforms to amplify the reach of these.
Growing brands have found that partnering with an industry influencer is an excellent public relations strategy to bring awareness to their fintech and its capabilities, especially during the building process. In the early stages of building a brand, a company may not have many (or any) announcements or big updates to share, meaning there are not as many opportunities for news-driven media to get to know the company. Since many influencers are looking to be the first to introduce new brands, platforms, and capabilities to their audiences, they make the perfect partner for fintechs in this stage, and a huge PR win for the company.
Branding does not happen overnight; it’s a process, and messaging to different audiences will not always be the same. Fintech influencers know their own audiences better than anyone else, and they are inherently looking to help new brands grow. Therefore, working with them can also help newer fintechs hone their messaging and learn how best to reach specific subsets of target customers- a major PR goal for new companies.
Collaboration, Not Competition
One of our favorite characteristics of influencers in the fintech space is not only the support they show to the brands they partner with, but also the support they show each other. We love to see these folks shout each other out on Twitter or LinkedIn, host events together, or even compile resource lists like this one. Many influencers attribute their own success as thought leaders in the space to others they have collaborated with, learned from, subscribed to, and spoken alongside of. It’s what we love to see in a space built on partnering and collaboration- and we love to be part of it as well!