Today, one of the most important facets of a successful social media campaign is influencer marketing. Having a stable of influencers to promote your brand can give you far more reach than simply sticking with a company Twitter account and Facebook page. The important thing to remember about influencers, however, is that their followers are not there to be sold to. These influencers gained their status by being independent human beings, speaking their minds about whatever it is that contributed to their popularity in the first place. This could range from video games or movies to sports or DIY.
To that end, audiences expect influencers to discuss certain things and be on top of the latest trends and news stories. When something new and exciting is happening in pop culture: audiences expect their social media celebrities to have something to say about it. This can be good for you, even when the trend itself has nothing to do with your business or its message, simply because it drives audience engagement.
Case Study: Star Wars
Recently, eager movie-goers got to see the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The hotly anticipated sequel to the well-known sci-fi film franchise generated millions of tweets, Facebook posts, and more. The level of engagement, discussion, and speculation revolving around the film made it so that anybody who wanted to be heard on social media during its release cycle almost had to mention it. Some brands went further than others. Some of you may remember Google setting a Star Wars theme to accounts (and users of Google Maps may also remember their GPS gaining a Star Wars theme).
Between advertising, merchandising, and branding, it seems that Star Wars fever had reached an all-time high, and the success of the movie only secured its place in the spotlight for weeks to come. The millions of views generated by each tweet encouraged smart influencers to take the time to discuss the film and speculate on what the plot would hold, or on their impressions of the film after seeing it. By meeting this expectation, they were able to keep their audience engaged about a shared cultural experience, reminding viewers that at the end of the day: they are still human beings, brought together to share their interests and perspectives.
Current Trends to Exploit
Valentine’s Day saw another highly anticipated, and very well-marketed film in the form of Marvel Universe’s Deadpool. While not recommended for younger audiences, the surprising success of this raunchy super-hero film presents an another opportunity for savvy influencers and marketers. By seizing on the popularity of this movie, you can get your audience talking and engaging with your influencers. This will increase their trustworthiness, appeal, and following.
Remember: Sincerity is Important
Just remember that every other brand out there will be following and jumping on popular trends as well. What separates successful examples of these efforts from the colossal failures is sincerity. While hinting that your influencers talk about these emerging trends is highly recommended, leave the decision about whether or not to tweet about it in their hands. Remember that these influencers built their audience on their own, and know what their audience is after. As a consequence, they know when a discussion about a popular trend will seem like a genuine opinion of theirs, and when it will seem like a shameless attempt at bumping their follower count.
As with all things marketing, it comes down to matching an audience with a message. Influencers can help you do this, and there are services and influencer platforms out there to help you find the right channels to reach your markets. But remember that these influencers built their power on their own — through adding value to their audiences and engaging with them on their own terms. After all, that’s the advantage of influencer channels in the first place.
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