By Bryan Kramer | Commentary

What it takes to be an influencer

Let’s take a moment to review why influencer marketers are so important now. More and more consumers are getting savvy about how they choose to be exposed to advertising messages.

Over 45% of online users utilize some kind of ad blockers. While  74% of consumers rely on social media to make their buying choices.

With those stunning statistics, what is the best way for marketers in 2016 to reach their audience? That would be the influencer. More than just a spokesperson—the influencers serves to create engaging experiences for their audiences to draw them into connecting with the brand. How come?

SAP influencer

So with word of mouth marketing becoming the most trusted form of marketing, influencers wield an extraordinary amount of power right now.

Especially given the growing use of new social media platforms such as Blab, Periscope and Snapchat.

Simply put, those looking to join the growing legions of influencers have to take step back and examine your message.

What are you trying to convey about yourself?  How are you trying to engage your audience? Are you creative and want to make social commentary through humor? Or are you trying to inspire through the use of pictures?

Whatever you answer, use this to determine the social media platform that is right for you. Therefore, the creative looking to connect visually could join YouTube.

While Instagram and Snapchat would be the perfect way to draw fans while giving short and fun snapshots into your life.

Of course, you can always use multiple forms of communication as you grow your brand. But be sure to specialize in one-if only to give your followers a single space that they can always find you.

Let’s Talk about Content

Finding the right social media platform allows you the chance to find your follower base. If you want to keep them, you have put out consistent content that is both engaging and sharable.

Successful branding is all about engagement-no matter if you are talking about a huge multinational corporation or a budding blogger.

And by being consistent with your content-it gives your followers a chance to get to know both you and your interests. It also gives them reason to come back and bring a friend to your site.

More importantly, it allows others to see you as a credible source for their area of interest.

So what qualifies as quality content? It depends on the kind of social media the message is being distributed on. However, there are some essentials that most marketers can agree on:

  • Use things such as videos, pictures or infographics whenever possible: Studies show that a story is 40% more likely to be read if it includes something visual to break up the text.
  • Make sure that the format is readable for all users:  Sure Google may prefer long form stories for SEO purposes. But make sure that it can be easily read on mobile devices-which now serves as the main form of internet access for a growing number of users.
  • And it must be shareable: Meaning that you must make it accessible for readers to share it via Twitter and Facebook

Being consistent with your content will also have another effect as it will help to create a place where your fans can interact with one another about materials you share. Which will ultimately lead to the type of topic-driven community brands love.

Example of Influencer Branding Done Right: Franchesca Ramsey

Chances are, if you have a millennial in your life then you might be familiar with the work of Franchesca Ramsey.  Ms. Ramsey is everywhere it seems-from her new role as a contributor on Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show to host of the popular MTV web series Decoded.

But before she became a mainstay with some of media’s most popular brands, Franchesca was an early adopter of YouTube-making comedy videos while addressing social issues. She eventually went viral, with a satirical look at race relations in 2012.

After garnering over 1 million views, Franchesca followed up with regular videos on wide ranging topics from natural hair to equality.

With each video, she also built a platform that included a thriving Twitter, Tumbler and Facebook pages-where she answered questions and gave her opinion on the hot topics of the day.

Eventually, the level of interest grew so large that she left her day job a graphic designer while working with brands eager to become associated with her loyal readers.

Key Takeaway

Becoming an influencer requires finding the correct platform for your message. Once you identify what will serve as your primary social media platform, be sure to provide content that is both consistent and engaging. Take time to create a safe space for your most ardent supporters to interact with each other.

Originally appeared on SAP Commerce

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