Social Media created a power that everyone wants to harness, for several different reasons. Many people use this power for good, and those that try to use it for evil will quickly be burned. I am referring to the Influencer Model, a marketing method previously known as Brand Ambassadors. Sex is the most common example of a Brand Ambassador: and boy did it sell.
The Brand Ambassador is responsible for increasing company awareness, and spreading product details. Prior to web 2.0, and long before Social Media, we based our purchasing habits on TV and print advertising. We received marketing messages through attractive, bubbly individuals that only needed to know what was printed on the company one-sheet. Many brands, aahhhem … beer industry … only needed a hot girl to smile, and in rolled the sales.
Under that system, brands controlled the information. Companies could write anything, and feed it to the masses through flesh. Nowadays, Social is sexy, and boy does it sell too, but in a different way. People turn to bloggers, videocasters and photographers to give honest opinions about food to eat, places to visit, and entertainment to enjoy.
Who are the Brand Ambassadors in today’s Social market? First of all they are Influencers, and there is a lot of power in that name change. The traditional Brand Ambassadors setup an image of attractive droids chosen by the brand to spew jargon. Influencers are representatives of the people. These Influencers have a trusted following because of either their particular expertise on a topic, or ability to communicate loudly within a vast network. They create buzz.
People are busy, the world is moving unreasonably fast, and there are WAY TOO MANY options for good food and entertainment. We NEED Influencers to find the hidden gems, and report-back with reviews. Otherwise, I ‘m grabbing the $5.99 special at the same place I currently dine three nights per week.
This marketing shift creates an interesting situation for companies looking to gain eyes on their brand. They need Influencers to drive business through the doors; however, Influencers promote companies by blasting honest opinions about the product, service, and the value it has over competition.
Hey business owners, does honesty sound intimidating? Good, it should. Brands that want millions of followers and astronomical sales must put forth a superior product, and get it into the hands of Influencers, before someone else does.
A smart business owner recognizes the power of Social Media marketing, and respects the people in this world that hold the public’s attention. What makes this “word-of-mouth” method different from the mob bosses of the 1920s is that these community reporters do not demand a cut of the pie. Influencers respond to perks.
If you have a message to release to the world, you need to go through the gatekeepers. Send them your products, invite them to your restaurants, and show them why your brand can benefit our world. I promise you that they will return in kind, but heed warning. Honesty is a two-way street, and you don’t want to be caught on the wrong side.
Stephanie began writing in high school as a co-founder of the first edition of her school newspaper in 20 years. She graduated from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Journalism and minor in Political Science. While in school, she served as Editor-in-Chief of the school’s newspaper, and completed an internship at Fox News in Philadelphia. She moved to Austin after graduating to take a marketing position with a large financial institution. Eventually the world moved online to blogs and Social Networking, and her focus shifted.