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Marketing to You: Ms Independent,Confident, and Ambitious

Influencer Marketing: Are You Ready?

Sammy not just getting by

by Book Coach and Author Advisor, Yvonne DiVita

Influencer marketing seems to be the buzzword of the day. Maybe you're wondering what it means. Who are all these influencers? How are they marketing themselves? Are they all that important? How do you connect with them? Check out this article by Influencer Marketing Hub; it will open your eyes. 

However, let me try my hand at answering some of the questions around this buzz phrase. 

First, let me tell you a story. A story that begins, "Once upon a time..." 

Once upon a time, I was a struggling entrepreneur, wondering where I could take my talents, how I could make my talents work for me, and stumbling along in a fog because I wasn't ready to actually jump off the cliff.

My work as a web content writer was a form of marketing, though I never promoted it as such. I could tell most website owners - the CEO of the company, for instance - were clueless about the actual content of their sites. They hired web designers who were very good at the whole design thing - color, flow, shape, even word placement on the page. But they weren't writers, so the actual content that explained what the company was about, what they were selling, how they were selling, and even to whom they were selling was lost in jargon and industry-speak.

The sites, back then, were beautiful but unsuccessful in marketing to the intended audience.

I knew this. I used it to my advantage. I am grateful to all those amazing designers because they made my work easy for me.

 I found a few brave souls who could see the value in having a professional writer add their content. And, in the story, I got by.

Who wants to just get by? Raise your hand.

Ah, I don't see a lot of hands. No one wants to just get by. Even those of us who are working on our second or third act want the rewards we deserve.  Our talents are more valuable than ever because if we don't use them and share them, they will disappear. In today's world, it often seems as if actual talent is overlooked for... here it is... influence. 

Not just any influence. The world is clamoring for influencer marketing. Which is a form of - how shall I put this? - shysterism. Yes, I made that up. The word is shyster, but it has become shysterism in many ways. 

While this term is most often used to refer to a lawyer - Dictionary dot com writes

informal: a person, especially a lawyer, who uses unscrupulous, fraudulent, or deceptive methods in business.
I believe it applies to the concept of influencer marketing today. I believe this because many folks who are considered influencers did not get that way through the school of hard knocks. They either bought their way to their recognition as an influencer or they cheated. I'm not going to cite examples. You can easily find your own. 
Today, let's not talk about them. Let's leave the story where I create a successful brand that takes me into influencer-land and begin to talk about you and how your influencer marketing can succeed properly. You see, my movement into influencer marketing wasn't as well thought out as it could have been. But, it grew to serve me well. And today, I am grateful for both being an influencer and working with other influencers. 
  Influencer marketing baby blankets
Influencer marketing applies to working with people online who have a large audience or following. Generally, you want someone in your industry, but sometimes you can do tangential marketing that works wonders! That's engaging popular folks online who support a brand or industry that is tangential to yours - so, if I create unique, colorful, soft, beautiful scarves, I might want to work with bloggers who help people learn how to use a scarf in unique ways, as they dress for success every day.
If I make baby blankets, I might want to work with folks who cater to new moms who love baby blankets but also want some attention to themselves.
Influencer marketing is best served by learning about, understanding, and openly engaging with your prime audience. It's not about you. It's not about your influence. It's not about giving away free stuff. 
It's about being approachable. It's about understanding social media and using it effectively. I believe LinkedIn is a PRIME resource for this today. Are you on that platform? You should be. Connect with me, if you are. 
Now, let's answer those questions we posed at the opening of this blog post.
Who are the influencers?
My influencers are women of a certain age who are still young, vibrant, and not afraid to share their talent with the world. They are bloggers, and Instagram stars, and women who aren't afraid to speak up.  I want to connect with them to show my target audience that we can, indeed, be the rising stars of our second or third act.  Does that help you define your influencers?

How are they marketing themselves? 
Influencers understand online and offline marketing very well. They use videos, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and all other online platforms to show off. They practice, practice, practice to make sure their work is exemplary. True influencers work hard to be more than good at what they do. The key here is that they are doing something close to their hearts - cooking, talking about pets, teaching, traveling, whatever it is that creates passion in their soul. 

Are they all that important?
Yes. They are today's celebrities. When a celebrity talks up your product, it sells. That's a fact of life. Celebrity endorsements are among the best ways to market today. However, the public is shying away from movie star-type celebrities and embracing fun, talented folks who are popular online. Because those folks are actually regular people. Just like us. (mostly... ok? Not all of them are regular folk)

How do you connect with them?
There are a variety of ways to connect with them. I am not going to list them all here. What I want you to take away from this post is the recognition that true influencers are really just folks like us who worked hard, put in the effort, kept learning what they needed to do to improve, and never gave up.
And now, they attract a great deal of attention. Sometimes, most times, they get paid to endorse or talk up products and services. They do it because they can, because the products and services have touched them in some way, and because it's their livelihood. 

You connect with them by liking and sharing their content. By leaving comments on their content. You make your own content so compelling they can't ignore you. You work hard and put in the effort and recognize the value they bring to your own audience - and you budget cash to work with them. Then you email them with polite offers. (some have contact forms to fill out - fill them out; make the effort to connect)

Influencer marketing may change titles someday. Marketingspeak comes and goes with the times. But the value of what an influencer - the RIGHT influencer - can do for you should not be overlooked or ignored.
Are you ready? (Hat tip to Susan Gilbert, who inspired this post after reading her How Thought Leadership Differs from Being an Influencer)


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