Ronn Torossian, Founder, 5WPR
When people want to know what an influencer is, often what they’re really asking is, “What does it mean to be an influencer?” That may sound the same, but there’s a subtle, vital difference. An influencer is simply someone who has influence over others’ buying decisions. In other words, it’s someone who has the influence, the authority over or trust of, a certain group of people.
In marketing parlance, an influencer is someone who causes others to make specific consumer decisions. Example of strong influencer marketers include Michael Jordan or LeBron James causing someone to buy shoes, Aaron Rodgers leading someone to buy a specific brand of auto insurance, or one of the Kardashian sisters motivating their fans to buy a specific kind of makeup or workout attire. In short, if a person has the position or power to cause other people to choose one product over another, they’re considered a market influencer.
But that’s not the same as being an influencer. Being an influencer means taking the concept of influence and causing it to guide decisions, from the way one might present themselves, to how they behave online, and how a person engages with others online. For these people, it’s a job, even if they’re not getting paid for it… yet.
Influencers Live the Brands They Represent
As Hamed Wardak noted, “If an influencer hopes to grab the attention of a specific brand or brands, they start by living that brand’s vision. This about more than wearing the product or logo. This is about adopting the attitude that brand represents and projecting that persona to your followers. Doing this well and accurately will take time and research. It requires the would-be influencer to understand the core values of that brand and to live by them. Style, flash, fun, altruism, adventure, whatever it is, an influencer buys in… otherwise their followers have no vision to support.”
Influencers Take the Job Seriously
True influencers don’t just show up. They plan, they prepare, and they learn. They research their target market. They explore effective marketing techniques, storytelling dynamics, and specific best practices for each social platform they target. Influencers have a talent for engaging an audience. They understand their niche, and they know how to get people to lean in and pay attention. Some people are born with it. Some have to study. Everyone has to develop their skill-set.
Influencers Don’t Implode
One of the most common problems on social media is the personality who gets a following, then torpedoes their own potential, destroying their value as an influencer by saying or doing something out of line or, bluntly said, shortsighted or stupid. Influencers don’t allow a momentary upset to derail years of hard, focused work. They’re professionals who put work before their immediate feelings. That can be tough, because social media is built to touch a nerve. But true influencers understand how to be authentic and professional. Self-improvement, focus, study, hard work, and self-discipline. That’s what it means to be an influencer.