We live in an interesting time as entrepreneurs and marketers. The paradigm is shifting—along with the pendulum. Our forefathers lived in an era of business and marketing that required them to either create a market (essentially convince people to need their product) or they reacted to consumer demands. But that has all changed.
The fact that all businesses and marketers must understand in order to survive today is that this is the age of social and technical connectivity. It has given real meaning to the term "Power to the People." Great amounts of influence are in the hands of seemingly normal, everyday Joe's and Jane's. Collectively, they have the power to make or break you.
You need to access every area of social media
Most, if not all, meaningful interactions are taking place outside the scope of your business. A whopping two-thirds of conversions that lead to an actual sale happen offline. I'm not shocked to find that out, either. Why? Given the influence wielded by consumers these days because of social media, and you have the perfect storm, so to speak. But as are the nature of storms, they can either bring life or they can rip everything to shreds.
In order to discern specific messages out of all that noise going on around us, we need to place focus on certain points of interest that are important to us. That is a difficult task, to say the least. Therefore, you must learn how to utilize those active in social media to be your eyes, ears, and spokesperson. The fact is, you can’t be everywhere at once, nor do most business owners have time or resources in order to consistently work social media. That’s why social influencers are a good strategy for any business looking to harness the power of social media.
FUN FACT: YouTube reaches more U.S. adults ages 18-34 than any cable network. The number rises to over one billion globally—that is one-third of the entire internet.
Get down to Earth—become a grassroots brand
This is the era of the social-entrepreneur. And though there are a lot of people claiming to be such, savvy consumers know who's just using a catchphrase and who is really about social and environmental responsibility.
One thing that the average business owner and marketer understand is that consumers like brands that are genuine. What they don’t understand is how to really be genuine. You can tell when a company’s marketing team is out of touch with their consumers when they make huge marketing blunders that end up haunting them for a long time.
Take German skincare brand Nivea whose ad campaign slogan was “White is purity.” OK, so, a company from Germany, of all places, using as their slogan “White is purity?” What was going through their minds!? This is an example of how their marketing team was not only out of touch with the consumer but apparently out of touch with history.
Put your products into the right hands
Back in the old days when your grandpa was a marketer, he would simply make a fancy (or not too fancy) television commercial advertisement, and then run it every five minutes. The idea: annoy people until they never forget your brand and eventually buy into it. That doesn't work anymore. All the power is in the hands of the little guy who doesn't even have a production budget over $200 a month.
Most adults (and of course a lot of teenagers) understand how social media works—they understand how companies take advantage of social media's power as well. They can all spot the product placements in the movies and television shows they watch. This goes for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and other social media venues. This makes people more and more wary of common marketing gimmicks used to dupe people into buying. And this, of course, has given rise to the micro-influencers.
But wait! Not all influencers actually have the "influence" you may be looking for. Even the number of followers an influencer has can drastically affect their power to influence consumers, writes Yuyu Chen of GIGIDAY. Influencers with 1,000 followers or less tend to have the highest rate of likes at eight percent. When looking at those top influencers who boast 1 million or more followers, they only get 1.7 percent likes. That is a big gap.
A perfect example of a company partnering up with a celebrity such as Kylie Jenner. Companies would send her free stuff in an exchange for her posting about it on Instagram. Companies also pay her upwards of $50,000 to post their product on her Instagram account but were able to convert thousands of her followers into paying customers. And if you consider that Jenner has 93.7 followers on Instagram and nets over $28 million in 2016 from advertising. Her main point of success is from her sponsorships.
But it isn't just about "pushing" your brand with big name influencers—there is a difference between pushing and grassroots influencing, mind you. Big time marketing expert Jay Baer says, "True influence drives action, not just awareness.” Baer also advises businesses to find influencers who you would personally trust if they recommended a certain brand or product. According to a study by Nielsen, 90 percent of consumers will more listen to a recommendation from a peer rather than trusting an advertisement. And I think that we can all personally attest to that. Thus, many companies are finding that micro-influencers can be more powerful than big names like Kylie Jenner.
Philip Piletic's primary focus is a fusion of technology, small business, and marketing. He is an editor, writer, marketing consultant, and guest author at several authority websites.