Contributed by Thomas S. Mueller, Appalachian State University
The biggest challenge (in my opinion) for social media development is building volume, among a target audience that matters. Sources indicate a high association with “influencers” is essential. According to Joel Mathew writing for Forbes, an influencer operates within a niche community, holds trust within that community, retains a loyal following, and possesses a high level of experience and knowledge within their area of expertise.
Influencers, are not easily influenced. They receive hundreds/thousands of reach-outs to connect, join groups, or reply to comments. I inquired of my students, what’s in it, for the influencer? If you want to gain interest from an influencer, it requires research, sincere interest, introspection and innovative thinking. Want to make the most of your influencer connection status? Here are several suggestions:
1) The easiest (and least effective) process is to share posts or comments made by the influencer. It’s easy, and puts that influencer content, in front of your social friends. Some value for you, however nothing in it that the influencer…unless you’re the million + follower type.
2) Reference a recent post by the influencer, then reflect on the influencer’s point of view in a thoughtful, intellectual way. Bring in a supporting or alternative point of view. Be sure to make it defensible. “I think I feel” is not the best approach, unless you hold the credentials and credibility to be a resource, of one.
3) Reference a recent post by the influencer, compare and contrast the influencer’s point of view, with other recent points of view from similar influencers. Become a conduit and clearing house for topical musings, among power players in your work space.
4) Invest time, conduct deep dive research into targeted influencers. What’s in their lives, behind the scenes? One example, is searching for an influencer’s passion among cause-related charities and organizations. Then, in a respectful way, call out the noble efforts of the influencer in your social media feeds.
5) Use the news update feature in your favorite web search portal. Set it to search terms for targeted influencers. Let the search portal send email updates so that you’ll be first to social media, calling out and reflecting on the influencer’s activities.
About the Author:
Thomas S. Mueller is an associate professor of advertising in the Communication Department at Appalachian State University. He is a lead instructor in the department’s internet-mediated online degree program. Dr. Mueller facilitates seminars on marketing and communication for Mandela Washington Fellows who participate in Appalachian State’s summer experience program. He has developed several tips on building your personal brand on the social media platform Instagram, with potential to become an “influencer” who generates money from business partners. While his tips will not ensure easy money for your project, they may help you take the next step toward funding. You can learn more about Dr. Mueller at his personal website, profwriter.com. You can view Dr. Mueller’s 2018 Mandela Washington Fellows presentation, “Making Money with Instagram,” on YouTube.
The views and opinions expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the YALI Network or the U.S. government.