It is no surprise social media has shifted the marketing industry - brands and organizations now have the chance to reach hundreds of thousands of people. Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter, Medium, etc. etc. - the platforms are seemingly endless. But here's the catch, not everyone knows how to use these platforms to the fullest potential.
Except for the influencer.
What or who is an influencer? Great question. As defined by our friend's at Cambridge English Dictionary:
Akin to the reality TV stars of the early 2000s, influencers are putting their lives on display for the world to see. And no matter how much someone wants to believe that a YouTube star is more "real" than a cast member of The Bachelor...it simply isn't true. An influencer's content is curated to appeal to their target audience. Still, a social media influencer carries a new edge, just as the reality TV star did...but the biggest difference is that the influencer is no longer beholden to a network or single brand - they have options.
The tides are turning away from traditional marketing (think Mad Men) to a new realm of spreading the word - and it is essential that any company or organization know how to best use these newfound messengers.
Working with influencers can be exciting - these are hugely popular people with millions of followers. In the spring of 2016, NBC had an average of 119.85 million viewers over the course of 7 days. That same year, the YouTube channel RyanToysReview saw 596.8 million views (149.2 million per week) and this even included a 9% slump in his viewership.
That's a lot of eyeballs.
Not to mention - these folks are making serious money, but that is a conversation for another time.
Here's how to engage with someone who has turned their social media presence into a career.
Find common ground. Identify an influencer who would be interested in your work. If you are running a hot sauce company, look for a social media personality that focuses their content on food and ingredients. They need to feel bought into what you are doing - if not, it won't work.
Make the ask. What is it that you are hoping to accomplish with this influencer? Have a clear ask for them so that your work together is crystal clear. If you are hoping they will help raise funds for your cause, repeat their campaign goal over and over and over again.
Build the narrative. Many influencers, arguably all, are focused on making their viewers fall in love with their personal narrative and interests. To crack into this, it falls on you to find what narrative will easily appeal to their audience and align with their daily stories. If your message does not resonate with the influencer's audience, your collaboration simply won't work.
Make the investment, but DO NOT invest in an influencer until you know they are 100% bought in. As mentioned above, influencers with a lot of pull are making millions of dollars and they expect high-caliber treatment. Before you spend any of your hard-earned money, be 100%, no doubts that this relationship will bring the influencer into the fold of your work and uplift all parties involved.