Yes! Isn't it wonderful when a multi-billion dollar company validates you by rolling out a new plan that basically says, "Catherine! You're a genius!"
Okay, maybe that didn't actually happen. But in my own little world, I'm feeling pretty good right now.
There are major changes coming our way in terms of social media marketing and it will be interesting to watch them unfold. During the week of January 8th, 2018, Mark Zuckerburg announced that Facebook would be making some changes. Apparently tired of all of the false news that circulates around social media (aren't we all???), Zuckerburg announced that "Facebook will change its algorithm to promote more personal content rather than news."
In other words...maybe things might go back to the way they were when Facebook before 2016.
Remember when your news feed was actually in chronological order? When you actually saw EVERYONE'S posts, rather than the 30% that Facebook decided you should see? I can even remember back when I started my own social media page for widows and it grew organically. Yes, you heard me. I didn't spend a dime and I was getting almost 400,000 hits a month on that page.
Enough about the past. What does this mean for the future?
The truth is...we're not entirely sure. But one thing is almost guaranteed: Influencer Marketing will be more important than ever.
First, let's start out with "What is an influencer?"
We'd all like to be Influencers, wouldn't we? At least, that's what I work toward with my clients: To market them as resources in their fields. To make them the "go to" person when someone is looking for more information about that industry. To create a valuable following (which is more important than a huge one that doesn't interact) and start a conversation. To be the person or company that others want to emulate.
Being an Influencer is pretty cool - in fact, I'm one in my own little niche. I constantly have people emailing me, asking if I'll post something on my page, endorse a book, or just generally get information out to the thousands who look at the Widow Chick page. And as an Influencer, I'm very careful about what I put out there. Is it quality content? Will my audience benefit from it? Does the other person's goals align with my own?
And now we're getting to where I was right all along.
I am constantly asking my clients to identify who their ideal client is because, frankly, you can't effectively market to anyone unless you know who you're marketing to. And any marketing expert will tell you that, especially at the beginning, the more details you pinpoint, the more beneficial your marketing will be.
Again, let's look at what I've created. Who was I initially reaching out to when I created the Widow Chick page on Facebook? Young women who had lost their spouse and who were raising children. That's who I wrote to. That's who I had in mind when I created graphics. That's who ultimately engaged on the page and shared the posts, which then attracted a larger audience of people, broader than my initial scope.
Why will that be more important than ever moving forward?
I think Forbes said it best:
"The good thing about social media is that with the right data and proper social listening, you can unearth your target audience and figure out which Influencer speaks to them. Picking an Influencer that has a lot of followers in your niche, telling them to post your brand or product, and tagging your account isn’t Influencer Marketing. The best way to utilize an Influencer’s audience is to understand your objective, learn about the factors that influence your target audience, and activate an Influencer that blends your brand or product narrative seamlessly within their own. I call that “equity match making.” That’s when you get comments like, “This is the best ad I’ve ever seen!” or “This should be on TV,” while satisfying your objective and growing your business. That’s the Holy Grail of Influencer Marketing."
So, what does this mean for your business?
Again, we need to think about this and scale it to the size of your business. Chances are, you don't have a multi-million dollar marketing budget, so we need to identify Influencers that might welcome guest blogs or other types of digital networking. If you can do that, it's a budget-friendly win for both sides.
To quote MarketingDive: "To ensure that their content is seen, marketers will have to get creative to drive the “meaningful interactions” that Facebook is now focusing on."
And, by taking the time to identify and market to your ideal client, you'll be able to find Influencers in your own industry. Reach out. Ask them if you can guest blog or share a graphic you think they might want to put on their page (with your logo on it, of course). Create these online relationships and help each other out.
Yes, there are companies out there who will seek out Influencers for you for a fee (of course), but for a small business, that just might not be in your budget. You just might not be able to swing an endorsement from a YouTuber with 10 million followers.
But it IS POSSIBLE to create these networks that will benefit both parties.
You just need to figure out who is influencing your target audience...you know...the one you've already identified.
And that's where I WAS RIGHT.