Social Media Influencers: are they all they’re cracked up to be?

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Social Media Influencers: are they all they’re cracked up to be?

are social media influencers all they're cracked up to be

does influencer marketing drive sales

There are Social Media Influencers who have power and influence. And there are some who have smoke and mirrors.

There’s no denying that a persons celebrity can help move a product or service. Remember ‘the Oprah Effect’? If you were lucky enough to get a product on the show, her gold stamp of approval could shoot sales through the roof (e.g.: Spanx, Kindle etc.)  And the Kardashians have built quite an empire from endorsing waist trainers to lip serums. Similarly, those who have built celebrity in their own right as social media influencers (via Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat etc.) also earn a tidy income endorsing brands. However, before you jump into influencer marketing, consider this cautionary advice.

#1: Lots of ‘followers’ means diddly squat.
Optically, high follower counts look impressive and there’s potential of increased reach. But the reality is that follower size isn’t the same as influence; real influence will drive action, not just awareness. [Jay Baer]

#2: The ‘influencer’ with lots of followers may just be smoke & mirrors.
A strategy used by some individuals is to build up their followers using the ‘follow-for-follow’ method. That means, they’ll follow people en masse to gain followers but when they hit a certain number (presumably a high one) they begin the process of unfollowing. It’s a numbers game. And unlike true influencers who build up their social networks based on reputation & integrity, these guys are actually just smoke & mirrors (as well as full of shit.)

#3: Consider brand advocates over random influencers.
It’s obvious when bloggers and/or social media influencers endorse products that have absolutely nothing to do with what they typically share. In these instances, influencer marketing is like broadcasting. How likely are their followers to buy into what they’re ‘selling’? It may be better for you to focus on having a highly engaged brand advocate help with a campaign, rather than an influencer.

In any case, before you hand over your hard earned money to an influencer, here are things to consider in the vetting process:

Before you do anything, do a google search on them. Google can tell you a lot about an individual – it won’t curate a presence the same way a social media site or website will.

Look at their engagement.
Do this before you even connect with them; it will give you a chance to see what they’re up to online.

What kind of reputation do they have?
Once you’ve contacted them, ask about previous brand work. How did it go? Successes? Failures? Challenges?

Do some digging.
Talk to people who have worked with them; learn about their character – what were they like during the vetting process? What were they like after contract signing? Did they deliver on promises?

Can they deliver?
Before taking talks further, find out if they’re comfortable with fulfilling your requirements.  Whether that’s something like a certain number of comments on Facebook, Tweets, Snaps etc.

How do they relate to your target audience?
Find out why they believe that they can reach and relate to your target audience. Is there symmetry between your brand and them?

Social Methods
Find out how they plan to reach your audience using social. You’ll be able to tell just how socially savvy they are or whether they just plan to post randomly.

How do they plan on reporting successes back to you? Do they mention analytics? Do they understand business goals, as well as social goals?

How will you communicate during the campaign? Who will be available around the clock in the event that you need to reach them in an emergency situation? Or if things go off-course?

High follower numbers aren’t enough to drive a successful awareness & sales campaign. Do you research and consider the above before you sign any cheques.

Do you have a social media or digital marketing question?  Send it over!  🙂

Read more over at Salesforce. 

Kat Macaulay, BA ADdPR BnC
Kat Macaulay, BA ADdPR BnC
Kat Macaulay is a Marketing Strategist, Writer + Speaker known for her no-nonsense approach to pretty much everything. Using data insights, she helps organizations market more effectively to get results that matter. She's also a high-scoring instructor at Mount Royal University, where she teaches Social Media Analytics and Google Analytics + Marketing Measurement. She holds certifications from Google, as well as Facebook and is currently working toward a specialization in Marketing Analytics and a certificate in Data Science from IBM. When she’s not busy juggling kids, volunteering + work, she’s busy planning her retirement to Cape Breton.