The rush to hire social media Influencers is on. Many who do so, however, report, a mismatch between expectations and results, and consequently disappointment. Let’s not rush with our Influencer Marketing then, and instead plan out our strategy first. That begins with understanding a little more about influencers.
What is the correct definition of an influencer today?
What is an Influencer? While it’s true that everyone and anyone can be an influencer, that does not mean that today’s influencers are the same as last century’s definition of an influential person. The Internet has changed things.
Today’s Influencer can be defined as someone who:
- Owns at least one social media asset (Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Twitch, YouTube, WeChat, etc.)
- Has great—no, amazing—relationships with their followers.Influencers engage with their followers dozens if not hundreds of times a day! They work ‘round the clock to build relationships with the communities they’ve built, so they know how to speak to them, and have gained their trust.In terms of content for websites and social media channels, influencers bring trust and authority. They can also turbocharge your reach by exposing your brand to new audiences. But more often than not, the key benefit is the unique content they bring.
How Can You Integrate Influencers into Your Marketing Strategy?
First, understand what is the unique value-add influencers bring in terms of the content they can create for your brandadvertisement
- They bring passion. Influencers write about topics they are crazy about, and so their content brings passion.
- It’s not intrusive. Because influencers are creating content with a point of view and an approach that their followers have already ‘opted into,’ it is not viewed as an intrusion on their lives, but rather as original, interesting, and convincing.
- It’s niche. One of the biggest myths about influencers is that they are celebrities who post for photographers to promote fashion or tech brands. In reality, most influencers are just people (or animals) with very specific, niche interests and an audience that shares that interest.
Niche is the Key
Of these three factors, the biggest content opportunity comes from niche influencer accounts. These are accounts that are focused on a very specific area, such as a certain orange decoration that can be found only in Paris, a festival in Hawaii, or a famous martial arts master. It doesn’t matter, as long as they are crazy about the topic and—
- It shows.
- People choose to consume their content, because … they want to! Their community of followers come to their accounts daily (if not several times a day), to listen/watch/read/imagine what they have to say about the topic.
A good example of such a niche influencer (also called nano/micro-influencers) is Maggie from Once Upon A Pumpkin: she influences about… pumpkins! All she does is write and inspire people about pumpkin, and her content is wonderful:
Born to bring “Engagement content”
What is so powerful about working with this type of influencer, and having them create content for you, is that they are experts at creating engaging content for their audiences.advertisement
Today, to be a successful business, social engagement and connectivity is the key. Now, I am sure the writers that create your content are excellent. But…hiring Influencers to write for you from time to time means hiring someone who knows how to write in a way that is super engaging for their audiences, because they do it all the time. Influencers were born to write engagement content!
In addition, niche Influencers can fill in gaps in your content strategy when your team runs out of ideas…or your posts all of the sudden all look the same and…somehow boring…
Influencer content is so different—it is not an ad.
In addition, influencers are successful because they don’t write anything intrusive, even when it comes to promoting something commercial. In fact, professional Influencers will never push a hard sale, even when they endorse a brand or product. Instead, they intrigue their followers with their writing and production talent. They inspire, and evoke emotion with their content. And we know that consumers buy based on emotion, and later create the logic to support their decisions.
Here are two examples of how professional influencers create content to endorse brands naturally:
The first one is for Bank of America on Pinterest. As you can see, the couple doesn’t show the bank or anything related to finance. Instead, they create a good vibe for BoA.
And look at this breakfast—this post is for Chobani… Alison didn’t make an aggressive sale—there is no BUY NOW, or “Get a 10% off coupon.” Instead, she just shows beauty and creates a real desire to eat a delicious Chobani yogurt breakfast.
This is amazing—even when they endorse something commercial, these influencers keep their writing and producing natural and engaging in a way that appeals to their communities.advertisement
Own the Content
A last bit of advice: since the content these influencers create has real value, it makes sense when working with them to sign a Brand-Influencer contract where the content created is a prime objective.
In that contract, make sure that you retain ownership of any content the influencer creates for you. That way, you’ll be able to re-use and re-purpose that content anytime, anywhere.
Once you do that — and give the influencer the creative freedom to create content that feels natural — the sky is the limit.advertisement
Noam “NG” Gordon advises brands on influencer marketing and has built an online following of his own through the DearMishuDad online advice column.