Did you know that 65% of small business owners believe that social media helps them stay engaged with their customers? This means that well over half of all SMEs are now aware of just how powerful and influential online sharing platforms can be. It should come as no surprise then to find that brand advocates are 70% more likely to be perceived as a valuable source of information by the audiences which regularly interact with them.
The Birth of the Social Media Influencer
The modern social media influencer is an individual or an entity with opinions which are considered useful to an online audience. The term ‘online influence,’ in this context, is used to refer to any one of these individuals or entities with the power to shape the actions, beliefs, and ideas of internet users on social networking platforms.
These days, it is common practice for tech-savvy businesses to utilize the skills of a social media influencer to plan, create, and distribute engaging content. In fact, those companies which are quick off the mark when it comes to realizing the true worth of the social media influencer are the ones which later prosper and find success.
In some cases, marketing experts will hand the entire creative process over to social media influencers and entrust everything from early designs to the distribution of advertising content to these external assistants. This is because a reliable influencer knows what works for their websites, what content they should contain, and how this content will grab the attention of an audience.
The bottom line is that collaborating with influencers needs to be precisely that, a collaboration.
If a company is willing to seek the help of an influencer, they must be happy to provide support in a few key areas – namely, when it comes to helping an influencer plan, design, and distribute their message or promotional content.
If this kind of collaborative effort is carried out successfully, a brand can end up doing quite a lot for the promotion and support of influencer websites. Thus, the advice and assistance which the influencer is required to provide actually looks like a rather small price to pay in return. It is not uncommon for an influencer to receive a phenomenal amount of advertising and brand recognition.
How to Construct a Brand Personality
It is easy to overlook the fact that influencers can help a company inject a great deal of life and energy into its brand personality. This is particularly important when you look at how stark and unflinchingly cold the ruthless market behaviors of some companies can be sometimes.
Yet, even if a business comes across as brash and uncaring within its advertisements, or it struggles to fully express its passion and drive, the help of a skilled influencer can work wonders.
In fact, a good social media influencer has the uncanny ability to really connect with an audience without ever having to speak to its members in person.
This essential process of acquaintanceship is a vital part of the way in which a client and an influencer begin to build up a personal rapport.
Once an adequate amount of information about the company has been mined by the influencer, they should be able to form a fairly comprehensive profile of its operations and ethos.
The process is particularly useful when it comes to helping the influencer judge the value of content. If the content shared is not engaging and relevant, it will not gain any attention from the audience and it will likely fail to make either the influencer or the company any real revenue.
It is important to remember that the influencer has taken on a responsibility to the audience which follows them.
If the content shared is not relevant or valuable to an audience in some way, it can mean that the entire collaboration is a wasted effort. It also brings about the risk of losing an audience to a more skilled or capable influencer.
Thus, it is imperative that content stays at the highest possible quality.
The Benefits of Collaboration with an Influencer
To put it simply, collaboration with an influencer does not just benefit the business making the connection – it also offers many different advantages to the social media influencer themselves.
Whilst the marketer benefits from increased promotional opportunities, the influencer continues to keep their audience happy with engaging content.
This mutually beneficial tie is the reason why it is so important for the marketer to provide support from their end of the process.
If the influencer is to advertise and promote in the most efficient and effective way possible, they need advice, assistance, and resources from their collaborator.
Yet, there are other ways to boost promotional efforts too.
For example, it can be extremely useful for a marketer to start up a branded blog which focuses on the benefits of the relevant product or service.
This strategy is a quick and easy way to add an additional layer to the overall advertising process. In other words, it injects even more personality and life, so that audiences stay interested.
With the help of a blog, the marketer can start to build up a personalized connection with an audience and hopefully increase its receptivity to the products and services on offer.
It is advantageous for the influencer too, because it expands upon the amount of content which they can share with their own audience and advocates.
It takes time and effort to build up a successful collaborative relationship with a social media influencer, but the resulting level of support and promotion makes the work worthwhile.
The two parties should be aware of the fact that they are working towards a common cause and common goals, because they are directly influenced by one another.
Learning to Use Ethical Practices
It is important to note that a marketer will almost certainly lose the support of its influencers and its audiences if it fails to offer honest and reliable information.
The same rules apply for a marketer which engages in deliberately misleading tactics or unethical strategies. For example, misrepresenting products and services is highly discouraged and will turn audiences off quickly.
If a company makes unrealistic or unfeasible claims about a product, they will likely be exposed and lose their audiences.
If they initially advertise one fee or price set and then change it once prospective customers start to show an interest, they will lose their audiences. As with any business, honesty and integrity are vital.
The bottom line is that dishonesty and deception are extremely difficult to keep under wraps these days, so unethical approaches are simply not worth the trouble that they will bring.
The last thing that you want is to see your livelihood and career become tarnished just because you made some foolish marketing decisions – always stay ethical and stick to the rules or audiences will lose trust in you.Ron Sela
Ron is a profit-driven marketer. Named one of the Top 50 Influencers in B2B Marketing (#14) by Onalytica and a Top 50 Influence Marketing Blogger by InkyBee, Ron is a digital marketer and conversion optimizer, focusing on maximizing ROI on social media campaigns. Contact Ron for advice about growing your blog and increasing your traffic.
Get in touch with him at @ronsela
This post is also available in: Italian