The domino effect: Using Influencers to create virality
We all dream of taking our client’s brands to that happy place after which Malcolm Gladwell titled the book he released in 2000: The tipping point.
In the book Gladwell tells us that, “Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread like viruses do.” When they reach a certain critical mass its called their tipping point. One of the most memorable examples from the book is the Hush Puppies case study. Malcolm points out that in 1994 the Hush Puppies brand was nearly extinct. That is until the infamous hipster crowd of NYC started sporting the brand in trendy clubs. Within a few years, and after a few voluntary, celebrity endorsements, the brand was brought back from the dead.
What the Hush Puppies story is, in part, is a pre-digital age scenario about using the power of influencers to promote your brand. An influencer is currently defined as a key individual who has influence over potential buyers for a product. The difference between the Hush Puppies era and today’s market is that brands do not have to wait around for those with influence to maybe find them and promote their products within important circles. Brands and the agencies that represent them, can go looking for them. Once they are found, there is now instant access to analytics telling us exactly how many people they have potential influence over.These analytics are available via their social media channels and they come in the form of followers and visible engagement levels of their followers via things such as likes and comments.
How do we find these influencers in the first place? Targeted key word searches in Google and Yahoo reveal the recent news articles on the “who is who” for every industry. For example, just google, “Fashion” and “top influencers”. A few articles will pop up which list the top 10 or 20. Be sure to pick a reputable source and the most recent articles. Those with influence change as quickly as the trends they promote. There are also databases like Cision which many publicists and agencies subscribe to. If you can access these databases, they will allow you to research the top bloggers in each category and link to their social channels as well.
It is advised to establish relationships with a few core personalities who you will be able to work with again and again, based upon the bulk of your clients. For example, if you typically represent lifestyle technology companies such as GoPro, you will want to connect with a few top influencers in either the extreme sports or outdoors categories. The very high echelon of any influencer group is most likely going to want to work with you on “sponsored content”, meaning that you will have to pay them a fee to promote your product in their posts. In this case, be sure you are monitoring them for adherence to FCC standards on disclosure that the posts are advertorial and not editorial.
Below is an example of a post from a food blogger that Bas Bleu worked with for a camera product called, PIC. PIC is a wide angle camera on a flexible body. It is easily transported anywhere with you and can record up to a half hour of video and also produces high resolution, still photos.
Due to the camera’s cost, which happens to be quite a bit less than some of its competitors, as well as its fun design, and crazy color choices, we wanted to position the camera as a great choice for foodies, fashionistas, beauty junkies and urbanites who enjoy activities such as skateboarding and breakdancing. Each of these groups needs a camera that will easily integrate into their active lifestyle. However, PIC’s competitors may be a bit pricey for them as they are just amateur photogs looking to have a little fun. @Lins.eat.nyc has over 20K followers of his restaurant visits. As you can see the post including PIC received over 400 likes. The #ad is an example of the FCC disclosure spoken of above.
How have you used influencers with your brands? We would love to keep the discussion going in the comments below.
Looking forward to hearing from you. If you would like to discuss this in a more private forum, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org