You Ask, I Answer: The Definition of Influencer?

Salil asks, “Can reviewers of products on YouTube that have a large following ie. 1 million or more but are not paid by companies to promote their products (example: the channel – Dope or Nope) be called “influencers”?”

The definition of influence in this context is someone that can motivate others to take action, to change behavior. Anyone with a million followers – even a thousand followers, if they’re the right ones and compelled to take action – has some level of influence over those behaviors.

The real question is, what is the change they can compel? How do you measure influence and its impact on your brand? This is where influencer marketing typically falls short, and leaves people wondering what the value of influencers is.

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Machine-Generated Transcript

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In today’s episode Sileo asks, Can reviewers have products on YouTube that have a large following iE 1 million or more, but are not paid by companies to promote their products example the challenge over no be called influencers? Well, yes.

The definition of influence in this particular context is someone a channel, a person, a media property, that can motivate others to take action.

And it doesn’t even have to be human look at how much interference by automated software can change political opinion, right.

Humans may not even be the influencers, but the media channels are changing behavior.

Anyone with a million followers I mean, heck, anyone with 1000 followers even If they’re the right people in your audience and you can motivate them to take action, you are an influencer that as an influencer, right? That is has some level of influence.

Remember that the definition of influence is getting someone to take action to change, something they would not have otherwise done.

Whether it’s buy a product, even consider a product, depending on the kind of product it is, awareness.

influencers operate all across the customer journey, right from awareness, growing awareness to their audiences consideration.

That’s where it thinks overviews have a lot of power and sway is getting people to watch a review and add a product to the consideration or evaluation stage, getting people to buy something.

also getting people to remain loyal to a brand being able to have an influencer doing brand loyalty work.

Showing the good works of the brand, providing support.

There are any number of influencers who have channels with tips and tricks for getting the most out of the product.

we’re addressing common problems as sort of like an informal technical support and evangelism getting their audiences to recruit others to grow their audience and grow the brand’s audience.

So, the real question is not whether these channels can be considered influencers because they clearly are to some degree.

By definition, if you have a million people following you for any reason, you have some level of influence.

The real question that a lot of brands are trying to tackle is what change can an influencer compelled? You know, how do you measure an influencer and their influence and its impact on your brand and this This to me is where influencer marketing falls short.

Because in a lot of cases, when people talk about Influence they’re talking about, again, big channels, big audiences.

And that’s not necessarily the best fit for every brand and every opportunity.

There’s three kinds of influences.

And this is something I documented in the book, way back in 2016.

That probably needs to get rewritten at this point.

But there’s three general types of influences, right? There’s the the expert, who the reference usually uses the way back EF Hutton, advertisements in the 1980s.

Once it goes on EF Hutton talks, everyone listens.

Like that kind of expert opinion that lends credibility to anything.

There’s sort of that Mayor or that hub of a network who is a literal walking Rolodex where if you need a connection to somebody, that person can get you connected to that person and those connections are meaningful.

And then of course, there’s what a lot of folks in marketing consider The the typical influence of the broadcaster, the the loud mouth, the person with a million followers, yelling at people on YouTube or Twitter or whatever.

And a lot of us in marketing think that’s the influence and there’s these different types.

And so from a brand perspective, the question is, which type of influence do you need? Do you need that, that expert perspective? Do you need that connection to specific parties? Or do you need the big megaphone? And it depends on your goals.

It depends on what it is what kind of change you’re trying to motivate.

That expert opinion comes in real handy for sales enablement to be able to say like this credible third party has said that our product is the best.

Which is different than like a Kardashian talking about the product on Instagram, particularly if it’s like, you know, server appliances.

Where brands fall down where marketing falls down this measurement.

How do you measure influence and if you’re not clear on what your goals is you can’t measure it.

So is the goal, more sales of the product? Okay, how are you going to develop that chain of evidence that those connected key performance indicators that indicate that the program has had success? Is the goal awareness of the price of your product or service? If so, how you going to do that? Are you going to go off things like branded organic search, social media mentions unsolicited mentions, percentage of the influencers, audience that engage with your content, those are all potential measures that you could use.

I personally would lean towards branded search because it means that the product or service has gotten into somebody’s head.

But there’s a lot of more complicated math to make those connections.

If it is leads or things like that.

I’m starting to see brands use things like affiliate programs and tracking links to track influences and that is absolutely the right way to go because you want to be able to show tangible activity of some kind from that influence or whether it’s website traffic or form fills newsletter signups something that indicates, hey, this put a lot of eyeballs right here and this is really what we wanted to achieve was get traffic to our site where we can take the influences audience and now, remarketed, retargeted.

harvest it if you will.

So that you’ve grown your own assets.

One of the, the worst strategy that I’ve seen brands do with influencers is pay him a whole bunch of money and not get any of the audience in return might be the influencer doesn’t do anything to grow the brand’s own media channels, as opposed to something like for example, an Instagram takeover, where the influencer convinces a bunch of their followers to go and follow the brand’s handle, at least you can see something some kind of impact from that and then after that is up to the brand to get those Folks further down, the operations funnel into into doing things that are meaningful.

But that’s where I think a lot of the questions about influence and who is and is not an influencer come into play is based on the metrics you do or don’t have.

The best influencers are the ones that provide extensive reporting, detailed reporting and show to some degree, their level of impact, but also work with your brand, maybe even to help on the measurement side to say, Okay, here’s how we’re going to do the tracking.

These are the best practices.

Let’s work on this together so that you can see a return, you can see something that has meaning.

Like I do a lot of work with IBM and I provide monthly reporting to them with all the different outputs and actions and things so that they have tangible evidence and piles of PowerPoint slides as to what has happened on their behalf.

So it’s a good question.

Remember, influence is all about creating change.

getting someone to follow your brand handles a relatively minor change.

getting someone to buy your product is a bigger change, getting someone to be a an evangelist of your product and put their own social handles and their own public presence behind you, that’s a pretty big change because that’s like an identity change.

And so those are the kinds of things that that we should be thinking about when we try to define what influences good go on for a long time about this.

If you have questions, put them in the comments box below.

Subscribe to the YouTube channel on the newsletter, I’ll talk to you soon.

Take care.

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