I earned my cherished blue check mark on Twitter during the Ferguson protests and felt I had some “influencer” tendencies. That was the first time, I began to think of my brand and image and how to cultivate my image on social media, which ironically is how more and more journalists began to think of themselves. I carefully crafted how I used each social media platform; Facebook was for family and friends; Twitter and Instagram were public and really how I crafted the Aja J. Williams – or ajajwilliams09 – brand.
As we recently discussed in our Social media marketing course, several brands in turn could follow journalists to see how they’re talking about their brand and possibly connect with them.
In this day and age, influencers are leveraged for their ability to increase consumer buying power and possibly change attitudes on a specific product or service. Influencers also have huge impact among the followers in attitudes, beliefs, or information and serving a specific niche as pointed out in the Peloton case study.
Social media influencers have evolved throughout my career, especially in the past couple of years, with a growing interest in marketing. I’ve now evolved from cultivating my brand as a journalist and began to study how to do the same for companies and how a marketer thinks about it.
As a current marketing student, I’ve often begun to follow those who are considered gurus or influencers in digital or social media marketing. For instance, I follow Dave Gephardt who provides daily tweets and posts around how to think about content marketing.
You could launch a product and *then* go build an audience.
Or you can build an audience first and have an audience waiting for you on launch day.
Fast is cool sure but every brand should be doing it this way.
— davegerhardt (@davegerhardt) September 2, 2020
People don’t buy from you because your website is pretty.
(of course that helps)
But they buy because of the words on your website. The copy. Does it match what they need? Does it tell a story they relate to? Does the way you write build trust? Does it make people believe?
— davegerhardt (@davegerhardt) September 3, 2020
In professional and personal life, influencers provide insight and information to me as well as a way to keep up with a topic of interest. However, there are quite a few differences. For instance, I often rely more on Twitter or LinkedIn for my professional influencers, who often link to blogs or articles of interest. My personal influencers rely on videos, memes and GIFs – as well as product promotion – to catch my attention and eye.
Typically, my personal social influencers are paid to endorse specific types of products, which does help me consider new products to buy and try. For instance TruleyBeauty often creates videos and images for people to mimic, but she will also through in a sponsored post on a new product release.
On the other hand, my professional social media influencers are typically marketing themselves and their expertise. They might have a blog they want you to follow, a book to purchase or even speaking events.
Although I’ve switched roles from influencing to watching and studying influencers, they’ve been a constant in my social media life.