Influencer marketing is the hot topic right now among advertising and marketing agencies and their clients. The amount of pressure out there for organizations to seek out and engage with social VIPs is extraordinary, and a bit overwhelming if marketers don’t know what they’re doing. They’ll throw out a lot of fancy terms like “democratization” when it comes to social media, but it’s because they know the power really lies with influencers. Clearly, it’s a seller’s market for social media savvy folks who know how to work it.
Luckily, I’m slightly social media obsessed, and I love meeting people considered to be influencers. As a PR/social media professional, I firmly believe some of the most creative content is generated by them. So you can often find me on Instagram or Twitter making friends and constantly networking. I’m always on the hunt for ideas to complement my clients’ social media strategies.
Over the years, I’ve noticed certain characteristics among the most effective influencers. When a project comes up and I need a partner, they’re the first ones I contact – and not necessarily because I think they’re the best writer or photographer, or know the coolest hashtags people are using. It’s because they display certain traits I know will make us successful, no matter the client or project.
Here’s what these influencers have in common.
They regularly update and optimize their profiles. I can’t tell you how disappointed I am when I see an awesomely crafted tweet with an egg as a profile photo. Incomplete social media page profiles give a lukewarm first impression. The people who excite me know how to make a profile pop, or at least give me something I can work with when pitching to my client. The most effective profiles demonstrate creativity and uniqueness for maximum impact. An amazing profile is an easy way to build a positive first impression, and smart social media influencers regularly make this a priority.
They find ways to show they’re listening. No, this isn’t the old #Follow4Follow rule, but if I engage with you, I’d like you to engage with me in return. When I introduce myself to you on social media or mention you in a post, I’m testing the waters. If I don’t experience any interaction with you upon meeting you or tweeting you, I can only assume you’re too busy or don’t have a good system in place for managing notifications. The most effective social media influencers will say something like “@mareejones, thanks for the follow. Your bio is presh,” or something along those lines. Let me know you’re listening to me. It sets a positive tone for future interactions, and it’s a great habit to get into.
They know how to get a reaction out of people. The best social media influencers know it’s not the size that counts, it’s how you use it. I’m talking about your audience. If you have a Twitter following of only a few hundred people but a large number of RTs and “likes” on your tweets, this tells me all I need to know about you. I’m not looking for the largest number of followers per influencer, but rather the most engaged followers. I like people who can mobilize people, no matter how specific their niche might be, which brings me to my next point.
They put their audience first. The influencers I work with know exactly what their “thing” is. They know their voice and they know what makes their audience tick. Within the first few interactions with a marketer, they’re upfront about whether or not their partnership would be an appropriate one. Sometimes marketers read your tweets and think they know you. But no one can know you better than you know yourself. My favorite social media influencers actually have turned down ideas I’ve proposed because they knew it wouldn’t work for their followers, even if my request was as simple as a retweet. I respect this attitude and habit above all others.
They show their value. When brands or agencies engage social media influencers, they already have certain metrics in mind – goals they want to accomplish. Some of these goals can be tied to sales. Information such as case studies, metrics or analytics is so helpful to marketers in determining who they want to work with. Amazing tools and resources are available to generate this kind of data (many of them are free, people), so in 2016, there’s no excuse for not having this information. “Content is king, but data is god” is a common expression around the office, so getting into the habit of running weekly or monthly reports on yourself can position you head and shoulders above the rest.
Social media influencers hold a lot of power right now in working with brands. As I mentioned before, it’s a seller’s market, and the more you make the habits of effective influencers part of your routine, the more effective you’ll be at marketing yourself as a social media influencer.