We hear a lot about influencer marketing these days. If you’re paying any attention, you know that you want to be associated with influencers, to seek them out. You also know that you’d really like to be an influencer yourself.
So what is an influencer?
At its most basic level, an influencer is someone with a large social-media following. That following represents a lot of purchasing power. Your goal is to build a relationship with that person because you want his/her endorsement. Mentioning you and your great product on a regular basis in the influencer’s blogs and social media posts will help elevate your own status because that person is highly regarded, trustworthy and widely read.
What separates an influencer from a wannabe?
The most obvious differentiator is the size of a social following. But it transcends quantity. An influencer has integrity and experience. An influencer walks the talk, is an industry thought leader and has name recognition.
Let’s say that Sara is trying to be a travel influencer
Sara talks about her fabulous vacations and has a website and travel blog with endless photos of herself at glamorous destinations. Clearly, Sara doesn’t go anywhere without her selfie-stick. She loves resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean and apparently spends a lot of time poolside with frothy drinks. Her social media followings continue to grow, but there’s never any activity or comment. Her blogs receive very little response.
Zoe, on the other hand, is an adventure junkie who’s been traveling all over the world for more than 30 years. She has a website, blog and more than 200K followers on her social sites. Unlike Sara, Zoe travels because she’s interested in how other cultures live. Their customs, history and politics, their food and architecture. She shares with her readers the best ways to get around—the tuk-tuks, chicken busses and trains. Where to find the best farmers markets, lodgings and interesting, off the track attractions. You trust Zoe’s recommendations because she’s built trust.
Zoe is an influencer
People want to be mentioned on Zoe’s social sites and blogs because she’s widely read by real travelers—not those who just hang out at resorts. Travel product companies love to be mentioned in Zoe’s blogs. They want to get recommendations about their pickpocket-proof clothing, convertible backpacks, the latest USB charging stations, etc.
Influencers have Instagram accounts, YouTube channels, social sites, and blogs. They’ve spent time developing their communities and built their brands that make fellow travelers or wannabes want to follow them for their content—not just their words.
Zoe keeps it light and lively, yet informative
Zoe has visited more than 30 countries on every continent. She has cultivated her community, and her loyal followers read and share her content. It’s lively and informative, and there’s always a nugget to tuck away for her readers’ next trip.