The continuous rise of the influencer is my new favourite trend from 2015. While I was preparing my most recent keynote speakers’ series I was researching trends in Influencer Marketing, and I realised how far we had come. Before the internet, our influencers were our news readers, politicians and celebrities; and they could influence buyer behaviour whether they were an expert in the product or service being promoted or not.
Today, ‘Influencers’ are said to be more believable than celebrities or brands. But that makes sense right? I mean, what would an Olympic athlete really know about life insurance, and we all know (or highly suspect) that the TV star does not actually use those packaged blond highlights she holds in the ads….
What we see today is, in simple terms, an alignment of credit where credit is due; mainly the building of genuine knowledge and authority over time, with real consumers of the products and services that they know best, and have spent years (or at least enough time) becoming experts in.
Augure’s 2014 Influencer Marketing Report identified three attributes as being unique to an influencer:
- They are able to mobilise opinions and create reactions when they talk about a topic
- They have a sizeable audience/community that follow them
- They participate in discussions/conversations on the topic at hand
There are so many people I know of who very simply had a passion, and explored that passion to the point where they became experts in it, and earned a following over time based on the consistent delivery of valuable and engaging information (in the form of content) that is relevant and unique to their topic. Here are three big ones:
- Jeff Bullas – who 10 years ago was a divorced school teacher and father; and today he has 4 Million subscribers to his blog about using social media for business, more than 350,000 Twitter Followers, is Forbes’ Magazines 8th most powerful social influencer, and he is paid thousands of dollars for a 30 minute keynote for which he is flown all over the world to present. Check out his blog HERE!
- Tim Ferriss – An American entrepreneur who writes self help books on how to make your life better; rising to fame when he wrote a book inspiring people how to achieve a 4-hour work week after his experience in business. Every book he writes hits the New York Best Sellers’ list and his podcast The Tim Ferris Show is the #1 business podcast on all iTunes most weeks of the year. His blog can be found HERE.
- Malala Yousafzai – who rose to global domination simply because she wanted to go to school, and wanted other Pakistani girls to also have that opportunity; and she nearly lost her life fighting for it. She is the youngest ever Nobel Prize winner for her activism for female education world-wide. You can read her story HERE.
All of these people began somewhere completely un-impressive; although Tim Ferriss did go to an Ivy League University at Princeton, there are many Ivy League graduates who have not risen to Influencer Status. So, I tell all of my clients and audiences that they too can become Influencers with the right passion, hard work and focus.
Of course there is the niggling fact that life undoubtedly tends to get in the way of building that influence. There is the matter of making a living, raising your family, being a good wife, friend, and the list goes on. However, INFLUENCER MARKETING is not going away anytime soon. So, stay true to yourself, your brand and your passion, and you never know – you just might find your inner INFLUENCER!