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How to Influence People

What brands want from their “influencers”

We have all seen it; the “testimonial” photos from reality starts on Instagram about skinny teas, waist trainers and teeth whitening. We roll our eyes and scroll past the image, but one cannot help but wonder: “How much did that person get paid to post that?” Yes, there’s money to be made, perks and VIP swag for brand influencers; but, before you start buying followers and likes trying to get your social weight up, check out what a job description for the role of endorser might look like.  


Social Influencer

So there’s two things you need to take away from that:


1. Followers Aren’t Everything—Notice that “50K+ followers on social media” is not one of the prioritized requirements. While reach matters, the proven ability to actually “influence” your following is a must. “Targeting data is available from Facebook, Twitter and other platforms,” says Beverly Jackson, VP of Social Media and Content Strategy for MGM Resorts International. “Awareness can be purchased. The strength of an influencer lies within their ability to drive conversions.” What that means is brands are looking for influencers who can move people to do something—like a post, download an app, visit a site … buy something.


2. What You Say and How It’s Said Matters—The content you publish on your platforms should position you as an expert, innovator or inspiration within your niche. Be true to who you are, but understand that you might not be a fit for every brand. Big-box brands want a “positive and charismatic presence that can lead followers to their brand,” says Donna Hodge, Director of Media at Burrell Communications. Messages and partnerships in the world of major, general market brands must either connect with a valuable segment of potential customers or connect with a wide swath of people.


Let me share one last truth about the influencer game: Unless you’re a bona fide star, expect $0 in cold, hard cash. For up-and-comers, brands are more likely to leverage their platforms, relationships and access as compensation. Think travel, accommodations and VIP passes to their exclusive events.


All things said, qualifying as an influencer is more than just having a busy feed with several followers. As with all things marketing, there is a formula and a science powering the ever-evolving trend. If you create content with passion and develop a platform that is true to you, your beliefs and an admirable cause, more than likely, the right brand will find you.


Got a question about launching your business or brand? Tweet me with hashtag #TheBridgeATT


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