Alec William England | Social media marketing
 Alec England
Centerlyne Columnist

Social Media Influencers

Many company CEOs have voiced disdain toward the social media influencers they employ. While they may have their reasons, the truth of the matter is that social media influencers will continue to be the best way for brands to have their voice be heard in the crowded and noisy world of social media.

You all either know of or have heard of a prominent social media influencer or two. “Jacklyn Hill, the YouTube girl” or “Jay Alvarrez, the Instagram guy” are a couple that may come to mind. Just these two people have over 3 million followers on their respective platforms, garnering unheard-of amounts of traffic in the form of views, likes, comments, and shares. Individuals like these have spent countless unpaid hours building their massive fan bases, something that most companies still cannot manage to match.

What makes social media influencers interesting to companies is that they already have millions of people that listen and respond to what they have to share. Millions. These millions of seemingly random people can become millions of potential customers if companies play their cards right. Do you see what I am getting at? If not, read my previous article, “Social Media ‘Influencers’“.

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While it may seem like a win-win situation for both company and influencer, some company CEOs have recently been questioning the actual influence that their influencers have on sales. One anonymous social media executive has even gone so far as to say that “there are too many influencers” and “the amount of followers you have doesn’t mean sh–.”

The problem with social media influencers right now is that no one really knows who gets to call themselves one. Ever since people found out that influencers are getting paid to endorse a brand or product, every cute waiter with a smartphone is declaring themselves an “influencer” simply due to the amount of followers they have at the moment. But that doesn’t mean that their followers really care about what they post. That is the difference between a real influencer and a social media user that wants some extra cash- whether or not their followers care about their content.

So, Mr./Mrs. Anonymous Social Media Executive, I agree that the amount of followers that most people have doesn’t matter. But I wouldn’t put out a blanket statement like that that might be interpreted to apply to actual influencers.

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The issue lies in company executives’ misled beliefs on what an influencer’s job is. Many that have employed influencers in the past seem to expect them to personally see to it that their followers look at their endorsement of a company, visit the company website, and buy the endorsed product. At that point the influencer is not an influencer. They become a salesperson.

The influencer’s job is to provide EXPOSURE for companies that simply cannot do it by themselves. Social media users will respond positively to friends and influencer content much more than they will to an advertisement by a company. Times have changed, so companies must change with it. A traditional “buy this” ad doesn’t work anymore. You need to get the attention of popular internet people. You need influencers.

Company executives need to change their ideas on what the role of an influencer really is. Influencers should not be expected to enforce sales. That job needs to be delegated to staff within the company itself. Influencers should absolutely be expected to give companies quick exposure to millions of followers. In essence, when you pay an influencer you are not paying for another sales representative. You are paying for the attention of millions of followers. Adjust your payment amounts accordingly.

For more information on effective social media marketing, visit centerlyne.com/socool.

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