Fame is Not Influence
As I write this, Kim Kardashian has 34 million followers on Twitter and another 44 million on Instagram. Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift have similar sized followings, and that is great. To be clear, they are called followers but frankly they are fans. Many are hanging on every word and picture these celebrities have to […]
To be clear, they are called followers but frankly they are fans. Many are hanging on every word and picture these celebrities have to share.
There was a time when Kim Kardashian could earn $10,000 per tweet endorsing a particular brand.
What if you can’t afford Kim Kardashian or someone lesser known for your brand?
What if on principle you won’t pay but prefer influencers to speak about your product or service simply because they believe in it?
What if you are seeking someone of true influence rather than someone famous?
Influence is Contextual
Not every person who is famous is influential, nor is every person who is influential famous.
If you are truly seeking influencers then before you take any action, you need to be clear on your objectives.
Are influencers key to meeting your objectives? Is it about reach? Speed to market? Leveraging word of mouth over traditional advertising?
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People and companies seeking influencers can often get caught in the belief that fame translates to influence when, in fact, influence can be more contextual.
Context can make someone a local influencer or someone knowledgeable or experienced about a particular topic within their subject matter expertise.
It is not about someone or some organization being seen collectively as influential, but a number of factors, including audience that suggest the influence.
Target Multiple Influencers Around Your Theme
People, brands, and organizations are better served by an influencer who has a 100 followers who are keen listeners, highly engaged, and who have shown their support by sharing and amplifying messages in the past.
100 followers acting on your behalf because they respect what you have to say is better than a million followers who will only act if there is something in it for them like a free perk.
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) March 27, 2013
Identifying influencers requires digging deeper to illuminate the factors that inform that person or entity’s influence. Obviously, the size of their following should be considered but not as the sole criteria. You need to look closely to confirm those followers are following for the key reasons you want: they are aligned with the kind of messaging, content, and, ultimately, objectives you are focused on.
How can you decide whether the influencer is right for you? Here are a few questions that may help:
- How conversant is the influencer with the followers?
- How active are the followers themselves?
- Which followers does the influencer engage with the most?
- Are there many of them or just a few?
Do not see this as trying to find that one, and only one, influencer who can meet your needs.
You will want to target multiple influencers because the context of influence means that you will find a number of influencers around one or more key themes. You can end up with a number of people or entities that span a spectrum of influence or whose influence overlaps.
In social media, you can focus on one main conversation and discover adjacent conversational tangents that are also important and influential. Think of it as peeling an onion with the removal of each layer revealing a new conversation.
Finding a Community Leader
It may look like a bit of work and it is. You are seeking multiple influencers by their interests and general willingness to help. You are not seeking someone famous and certainly not infamous. You want the person known within the community or field of expertise as the one to go to for knowledge, advice, or a respected opinion.
While Kim Kardashian may have attempted to Break the Internet on more than one occasion, your goal might be different.
You want to find and engage influencers who already exhibit an affinity for your brand, product, service, or goals. Having them on your side because of true interest and commitment far outweighs having someone on your side because you helped their bank account.
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