Influencer marketing seems to be the buzz word 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?
Let me try and answer 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, 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 audience intended.
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:
nouninformal: a person, especially a lawyer, who uses unscrupulous, fraudulent, or deceptive methods in business.
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?
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 the 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 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. And, you email them with polite offers.
Influencer marketing may change titles, someday. Marketingspeak comes and goes, with the times. But the value of what an influencer can do for you - the RIGHT influencer - should not to be overlooked or ignored.