Social media is considerably a new thing in the marketing industry- only a decade old. Influencers have been on the rise for really only the past 8-10 years. Depending how long ago they started.
Most of them are bloggers, or Instagram icons with large followings.
Over the past 10 years millions of ad dollars are being spent on influencers by brands who want to connect to their key audiences through influencers. There are now over 152 million blogs on the internet, and 156 million people who call themselves or defined as influencers or bloggers. And that's per a Nielsen report from 2011!
The definition of an influencer:
A person who has an effect on the character, development or behavior of someone or something.
An influencer has a large following and a high influence ranking, which can be identified through a few ranking sites. In reality, brands and agencies define influencers while sitting in Conference rooms or blogging events and looking at online metrics.
Brands spend months researching and identifying the right influencers to help them connect with their key target market. They are using them in ads, sponsoring their content, hosting contests and events with them, and using them as a referral tool to influence their potential consumers.
What they forgot is that their consumers haven't been their consumers for a while now...they have transformed to be something else- a community of people.
They are no longer just “buying machines”, and they do not want to be a "target market". They also don’t want to be a “follower”. Now, since the birth of social media, they want to be a friend. They want to hang in groups and chat. Or just have a conversation with an interesting person.
The new reality is that Influencers are losing their influence as they submitted to large ad dollars and sponsored content. The trust factor is now questionable.
People have evolved and have awakened into a new social breed that requires more than a sponsored post or paid-for recommendation of a product. They know it's paid for, hence it’s unauthentic.
At the same time brands are growing frustrated, spending millions of dollars with no measurable return.
Social media metrics firms have been trying to keep up with screening through “fake bots”. Many influencers have been buying their fans and bots to showcase a large following, while other social media firms are growing their business producing and creating more of these “fake likes” and followers.
It became a war zone between brands, influencers and social media firms. The big picture - all they are doing is chasing numbers...but forgetting the people.
Meanwhile, the people, real people - not what brands define as consumers and online numbers, but the people in the street, are tired of all of that and left it all a long time ago.
Today brand/company pages are practically invisible online and in social media. No one cares what any company has to say. It's not trust worthy as they are trying to sell you something.
Influencers are now at the same category.
Not trust worthy as they are trying to sell themselves, and something.
The realization has sunk that numbers don't mean a thing - they have no impact. And really, it's mostly a game of who's been online long enough to create content and buy or grow their numbers.
Another sub-breed that popped up in recent years are a level above influencers - the Gurus.
These are "celebrities", public figures, or self created gurus who upgraded from influencers. They fit the criteria of an influencer by the number of their followers, but managed to create a more engaging way to influence their audience through videos, books, seminars and such. They created their own products.
These gurus are being followed by people mostly for self improvement and self help reasons in different areas in their life: health, fitness, financing, business, spirituality. They self promote and sell their own products....unless sponsored by a giant who would pay enough to have them as spokesperson.
But, people continue to evolve and recognize that once again- they are being talked at, preached to and sold something.
The reality is that people are done following. They have their own voice. They want to do what they want to do. No one can influence them anymore. They won't let that happen. They don't trust that. Unless you inspire and motivate them without asking for anything back.
People want their own voice, not just to follow another. So they form their own groups, they hang, they Facebook live, they connect, inspire, learn, research, collaborate, educate, voice their thoughts, feelings, mind, ask questions and create real, raw, deep and authentic conversations and banters with their friends.
They naturally gain some of their own followers, people who are really, truly interested in what they have to say. And these followers are not just following- they interact and respond, and talk back, and argue, and think, and feel.
They make an impact. On each other.
They grow together as a community- not just grow their own community. They don't care about their numbers. They lose friends. They gain friendships - real relationships - not just followers. And It's never about their numbers.
They can't be bought and they will never sell. They know that the second their friends and people feel like they are being sold to they will be gone. They are the new generation of "Influencers" - they are Mentors.
They stir conversations and emotions. They create interest. They trigger. They IMPACT.
So how do you engage IMPACTERS? Get into the conversations and find them! Don't just look at the numbers. Stay awake and smart in collaborations. Make real connections. Drive impact.