INFLUENCER MARKETING AND INSTAGRAM

It’s not just the Kim Kardashian’s and LeBron James’ of the world that can serve as a brand influencer anymore.

            Have you ever noticed celebrities post on Instagram or Twitter or any other social media platforms about a product they are endorsing? It’s become a common practice. What is changing, however, is that it’s not only the names recognized across the world getting these opportunities.

            On October 25, the Social Media Association hosted an event called “Learn to Make Your Business Stand Out on Instagram” at the Girl Scouts of Nassau County in Garden City. After a breakfast and socializing, Zoey Topper, an Account Supervisor of Weber Shandwick and Thomas Palladino, Account Supervisor at Edelman Public Relations Inc. along with moderator Hilary Topper, of HJMT Public Relations, Inc., discussed some of the latest trends with brand influencers both for companies recognized around the world and local markets.

            One of the most intriguing topics discussed with a lively question and answer period was centered around the idea of “Who gets to be an influencer?” And there has been a shift where it’s not only famous people, but sometimes, a local person with strong community ties can be more effective than a name recognized around the country.

            For example, when discussing a product that could be most utilized by mothers, a strong, community neighbor with an impactful influence in the area could go a longer way than an actor or actress. If you personally know the person and have first-hand knowledge about their character, you may be more likely to trust their judgement than a famous person you really don’t know anything about — besides what made them famous.

            Zoey Topper and Tom Palladino discussed how trust and a strong social media presence can be most important when considering brand influencers. Of course, cost always factors in, as a person with more than a million Instagram followers will charge more than someone at less than 200,000. But if those 200,000 people make up audience that a company is looking for, you could get more bang for your buck.

            The No. 1 key is engagement. A person can have five million followers, but if no one interacts with their stuff, what’s the use for a company? Wouldn’t you rather someone with 10,000 followers that can generate a higher engagement percentage for significantly less money?

            “It’s not always about this big, flashy numbers in followers,” Palladino said.

            There is even a mathematical formula people like the panelists will use to determine if a person has a good engagement rate. Per post, that formula is “likes+comments divided by total following.” For example, if you have 100 followers and your post gets two likes and four favorites, you have a six percent engagement rate, which is strong. Zoey Topper and Tom Palladino said anything above two percent is a terrific rate.

            If you want to become an influencer for a product, you don’t need to find a way to become famous. Build yourself up a strong following, have a viable social media presence, build trust in a certain community, and work up that engagement rates and maybe you, too, could receive that same opportunity as the actors and athletes. And if you work for a company looking to find that right influencer, you don’t necessarily have to make calls to Hollywood.

– Owen O’Brien

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The Social Media Association empowers, informs, and inspires individuals and organizations to maximize the potential of social and digital media.
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