Getting an influencer campaign off the ground is complicated—more so than it seems at first. Among the seemingly endless questions you need to ask yourself just to get it going is: should I use an authoritative influencer or a peer influencer? The truth is that neither option is inherently better than the other. The right choice for your campaign will come down to a variety of factors. To help you decide, let’s first take a look at what constitutes an authoritative influencer and a peer influencer.

Authoritative or Peer Influencer: Which Is Right for You?

Authoritative or Peer Influencer: Which Is Right for You?

Authoritative Influencer

An authoritative influencer is someone who is seen as an expert on something. It could be fashion, healthcare, cooking, etc. These people are seen as authority figures due to their knowledge and experience, not their fame or fortune, which helps to separate them from celebrity influencers. The audience trusts them because they have more knowledge than they do on the given topic.

Every niche has its authority figures. For every field, there will be those who study it, work with it, and perfect it, making them more trusted when it comes to looking for advice and opinions. Can an authoritative influencer also be a peer influencer? Yes, there can be overlap, but most influencers will primarily be one over the other.

Peer Influencer

A peer influencer is trusted by their audience not because they know more than them on the given topic, but because they are so similar to them that the audience trusts that their opinions and experiences will match their own. They are trusted by their audience in the way a friend or family member is trusted—at least when it comes to opinions and recommendations. This gives them a special type of credibility as well as rapport with their audience.

Peer influencers can overlap with authoritative influencers. However, an influencer that is more of a peer than an authority figure will be more casual with their audience. Their tone will be lighter, their language more accessible, and their connection with the audience more concrete.

So, Which Is the Right Choice for You?

First of all, keep in mind that you do not need to settle for one or the other. You can use multiple influencers or you can work with someone who is a nice blend of both. There is no arbitrary reason to pick one over the other.

However, there are other reasons that you might. If your product is in the health and wellness niche, your customers may be looking for reassurances from an expert that your product does what it claims to do. The words of that authority figure will mean more than someone who seems more ordinary telling the audience how much they like the product.

When might a peer influencer work better? In pretty much any situation where people are more likely to seek the ideas and approval of a peer than an expert. For example, if your niche is fashion, your audience does not need a designer or fashion journalist to tell them it is good; they care more about what their peers think.

In essence, in high-stakes situations—health, finance, etc.—an authoritative influencer will likely be needed. For lower-stakes situations, the words of a peer matter more.

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February 23, 2018

Authoritative or Peer Influencer: Which Is Right for You?

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