All brands and marketing companies can learn something from the current generation of social media influencers. To most, they may just be just YouTubers or Instastars. But in the world of marketing, social media influencers are savvy, entrepreneurial individuals who are capitalizing on the opportunities afforded to them in the digital age.
- Target one primary demographic. The Eh Bee Family makes family-friendly videos and posts. Pew Die Pie corners gaming enthusiasts. When social media influences gear their content to one particular demographic, they establish brand positioning and create a mini-community out of their followers.
- It’s easier to sell when not everything is a sell. Juanpa Zurita gave his dad his dream car (a Mini Cooper) for his birthday. Despite being a promotional post, it felt seamless because Juanpa Zurita had integrated his strong familial relationships in his social media content. The promotion was just a part of a larger story.
- Frequency, frequency, frequency. Social media influencers know the fine balance between producing enough content to maintain engagement with fans, but not so much that their audience gets saturated. Many have a policy of posting once or twice a week. The content is rarely extensive, usually either a short video or photo, satisfying their fans’ needs but giving them enough room so they want to come back for more.
- Authenticity is key. Despite the fact that so much of the internet is littered with spam and bots, there is nothing more valuable than authentic content. Audiences want something to believe in and social media influencers are experts when it comes to capitalizing on this. Social media influencer let people in on their lives. If fans and followers discover it’s fake, they will feel cheated and quickly move on.
- Transparency is the best policy. Fans who make some kind of investment in a project value transparency in how their dollars are put to use. A great example is Love Army, the social media charity organization started by Jerome Jarre. When Love Army asked for donations to help the relief efforts after the famine in Somalia, they posted real-time videos and pictures showing people where their dollars were going, including things like how much it cost to fix a broken water pipe. Every donation goal they’ve set for subsequent relief efforts since then has been met and then some.
- Positivity attracts more attention than negativity. Sure, the internet has a reputation for being a mean, inhospitable place. But when it comes to gaining popularity as a social media influencer, positivity beats out negativity every time. In fact, when entire platforms are perceived as negative, they begin to struggle, especially with younger consumers. The most popular platforms such as Snapchat, YouTube and Instagram are all celebrated as places where positivity reigns supreme.
The key to social media influencers is in the title itself - influence, which gains far more traction than the sell. The days of using subliminal messaging and pop psychology to drive marketing efforts are long gone. Companies looking for the competitive advantage need to be open to new marketing methods and strategies if they want their message to be heard by millions like social media influencers are able to do. Change is already here. Now it’s time to embrace it