When social media became the new ‘thing’ no one realized how far it would come and to what extent it would change the way people market to each other. It’s now a major part of any marketing plan. One aspect that has come from this mix is the social media influencer phenomenon.
While social media influencers are extremely valuable to increasing the value and viability of brand management you must find the right mix between your business goals and the strengths of the influencer.
Influencer marketing makes the brands more personable by putting a well-known face to the brand. Who hasn’t seen this effect portrayed with tedious regularity by the Kardashian clan? Love ‘em or hate them they have parlayed a bad reality show into a mega enterprise comprising everything from t-shirts to perfume. They have developed the industry to a point far greater than any celebrity has in the past.
Sure, movie stars have hawked products forever with the marketer’s assumption that if Clint Eastwood loves an Audi then maybe I should buy one too. It often makes little sense to me and I’m sure the celebrities may feel the same at times. Many TV stars will use their celebrity in different markets so they don’t come across as soap salesmen in their major market. People like Tom Cruise will take a hefty fee for promoting a soft drink in Japan with his voice dubbed in Japanese because the Japanese market loves him. It might seem ‘beneath him’ to do it in America.
As influencer marketing heats up, and from experience I can tell you it is hot, companies are looking for the right influencer to promote their brand. A friend has a new game geared to sports heroes so it makes sense to have a couple of NFL players be the face of the game. It will cost him big time but the rewards will make the product go viral.
A recent eMarketer report revealed 84% of marketers plan on executing at least one influencer marketing campaign during the next 12 months. Separately, eMarketer reports that over 80% of marketers who undertook campaigns collaborating with social media influencers found them to be beneficial for driving both engagement and awareness.
This brings us to the matter of who will be that influencer for your brand? Influencers are much more than the celebrity persona but we will rank that number one in our list.
Let’s take a look at some of the types of influencers. Remember they only need to reach your specific demographic which may be local or global and they may overlap. These are types of general influencers, social media adds a whole new dimension.
I don’t put too much stock in a celebrity pushing products but millions do. The celebrity must have an affinity to the product they promote or they will be seen as phony. Celebrities can be those you would suspect to be famous or they can be the local TV broadcaster who relates to people as an authority figure as well as someone who comes into their homes every night on the news. An influencer can also be the person who has many followers in a particular niche. I’ve been following a DIY blogger for sometime because she has great ideas for renovations. A brand in that market could easily get value for her influence.
The online influencers who can create a campaign for a business that taps into the cachet of the authority will do well as long as the mix is right for both parties. Authorities want to see value to their followers in what they do for the marketer. It is their reputation and is their most valuable commodity. They may support the brand just for what the brand can give to the followers.
- Professional Writer
Be it a journalist or blogger, writers will influence people. Luckily the material I find interesting, whether it be news or business tips, people relate to by reading and following me. It’s important for companies to work with writers who can put their story in a valuable good light. There are so many people in this field because of social media that each and every niche possible can be found for people looking for influencers.
- Expert in the Field
I have some big social media clients like Microsoft, PayPal and 3M because I have written two books, one on business and one on social media so I am considered an expert in both areas. When those three mega corporations want to reach business people they find an influencer who can deliver.
Imagine starting a new skateboarding business and getting world famous skateboarder Tony Hawk to be your influencer. What you paid Hawk would pay you back in spades.
- My Brand
My brand on social media is a clearly defined demographic. People who follow me on Twitter, for example, are male entrepreneurs between 32 and 52 years old who earn an average of $150k US. I’ve worked at making myself an expert by being in the fray, giving advice, challenging the status quo and just plain putting myself out there. A prestige company can add to my visibility and as long as I respect and use their product I can feel comfortable in promoting them using my influence.
I’m a networker and connector. This type of influencer will get on board with a company that will benefit the consumer. I refer people to Moovly because it provides great video editing software for small business that rivals work produced by large production agencies. My connections are my lifeblood and give me more benefits than I can count. Being able to enhance my network is a positive reason I would want to work with your company and influence my followers.
I love start-ups especially ones that are disruptive technologies. I guess it’s because I like change, dislike the way typical business operates and feel if an advertiser thinks that way then I can work with them. Advertisers who want an edgier influencer can find one in the disruptor. Disruptors engage more than most on social media so by creating a debate on issues that effect change they will work hard for like-minded businesses looking for connections.
The insider is an exceptionally important influencer. He knows where all the bodies are buried, what’s working and not, so when people see something promoted by him they can expect that it’s valuable and right on topic. Working with an insider influencer is powerful and people ‘in the know’ will take notice.
Micro-Influencer is the buzzword among influencers or brand ambassadors on social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter and YouTube who engage with loyal followers and promote businesses and services very informally. Micros tend to have smaller but healthy numbers of organically grown followers allowing advertisers to reach groups of between 5000 and 10,000 who are more fully engaged and possible a better fit than celebrity influencers.
The thing to consider when looking for brand influencers for your company is that not all influencers are doing it for the money. I saw a commercial with hockey legend Bobby Orr promoting a pain reliever. I am sure he was compensated but I believe he uses the product for his aches and pains, and for those of us who still remember him, it’s a strong endorsement to buy the product. It seems to me that there are many motivators for an influencer to promote a company or product. I did a Twitter campaign for the largest piano company in the world, Fazioli. Of course, I charged them but heavily discounted it because the product was so fantastic. After the campaign ended I still promoted them to my platforms because they make a dynamite grand piano.
Find your influencer that works for your brand and make sure the mix is perfect between you both or the vision of a snake oil salesman will rear his ugly head.