Chromo-Influencers™ have become the kings and queens of social media. The most prominent influencers (Chromo-Influencers™) produce and deliver content that evokes the emotions of their followers. By definition, they have the skill and power to influence their followers’ decisions. If brands want to succeed on social, they now need to work with these effective influencers too, and they also need to think like them too.
In reality, Chromo-Influencers tend to be experts in at least two skill sets. Firstly, they tend to be experts in something – anything – that helps them attract a following of people keenly interested in that topic. It may be music, fashion, beauty, motoring, technology, travelling, or even relaying interesting gossip. Secondly, they have become experts at delivering this knowledge to their followers in a relatable and impactful manner. They also know the mechanics of how to run social media accounts in such a way that they can build up follower numbers quickly, and keep everybody engaged.
Brands can learn a lot from their approach, both for knowing how to best work with influencers, as well as for successfully operating their own social accounts.
At PMYB, we collaborate with thousands of influencers and have a deep understanding of why they are so powerful. They don’t use elusive hard-to-discover secrets. They just do the basics right. And the most successful brands follow precisely the same practices.
What Makes Influencers Different From Ordinary People?
The critical difference between influencers and ordinary people is that influences know how to stand out from the crowd.
According to Hootsuite research, 3.196 billion people actively participated in social media last year, approximately three-quarters of the world’s 4.021 billion internet users. To put this in context, the world’s total population at that time was 7.593 billion.
With more the 3 billion social media users, it must seem daunting to stand out from the crowd. Yet influencers manage to do precisely that.
Influencers dare to be different. They are typically highly knowledgeable about their area of expertise and manage to inspire others when they post on that subject.
Influencers are usually savvy marketers themselves. They may not do it consciously, but most apply marketing and design principles with every post or video. They become unquestionable masters of content, leaving their followers asking for more.
Indeed many influencers systematically go about building their personal brand. And most of the things that help successful Chromo-Influencers build their brand can work for businesses as well to an extent.
There is no reason why a brand can’t think and operate like an influencer. Some businesses build massive online followings and carry their brand name to social fame as well.
How do Influencers Think?
The average person uses social media to keep up with their friends and family. We often share photos and videos, just because we like them. Most of us, however, don’t tend to use them strategically. Indeed, many businesses use their social accounts in a similar haphazard way and then seem surprised when they don’t get much traction.
Popular Influencers don’t tend to do anything randomly or leave anything to chance. Most are focused and think carefully about every action they take, despite how authentic they come across.
One of the first lessons that an influencer learns is the importance of consistently portraying their authentic self. Their decision to be authentic is not by chance though – it’s on purpose. Social media followers can easily spot fakeness and often react badly to it. Every act influencers make on their social accounts is carefully measured and has to feel authentic. That’s why brands should never work with influencers that don’t share their core values.
Whether brands work with influencers or run company accounts independently, it is essential that they learn this lesson. Authenticity is the key to social media success.
Apply a Consumer-First Mentality
A problem with developing a very strict, unrelatable corporate identity is that it can alienate consumers. That’s why you see brands such as boohoo taking more risks, in order to stay relevant and relatable.
We instinctively know that influencers are not the most critical part of the interaction between themselves and their fans. The everyday followers are most important because they are the ones that are watching and engaging with the content. If a social user gets bored with an influencer, they can easily unfollow their account/channel, or indeed just ignore their posts.
It is the same with businesses. They come last in the social pecking order. Consumers need to go first. Most companies only exist to provide a service for consumers.
It is no different on social media. Consumers will only take an interest in business social posts if they provide something of value to them (in the form of information or entertainment). A brand’s posts ideally need to solve some concern or offer genuine interest for the consumers.
And if brands work with influencers, they need to realise that they come third in the pecking order. Again, consumers take an interest in an influencer’s post because it helps or interests them in some way. This is no different for a sponsored post than it is for any other post. Consumers don’t read or view the post because of your brand – it is the views and recommendations of the influencer that interests them. If your product matches the consumer’s wants, and the influencer promotes it positively, consumers may take an interest in the benefits that your good or service offers them.
Learn the Social Media Algorithms
Over the last few years, it has become more difficult to taste success on social media. Primarily this is because the social networks have modified their algorithms, to favour content shared by friends and family.
The top influencers spend time understanding how each social network algorithm works, and they then post in such a way as to best take advantage of them. We previously described five ways that influencers beat the Instagram algorithm:
- Frequently create Instagram Stories
- Talk to followers on live video
- Place questions in captions to encourage engagement
- Use hash-tags correctly
- Hold contests to increase meaningful engagement
Another tactic many influencers are using to get ahead is ensuring that they attain as much engagement as possible in the first 20 minutes of a post being uploaded.
Successful brands are following the same practices. This helps them build their social accounts.
Make Your Employees Influencers too
One of the requirements of being a successful influencer is building expertise in a certain topic.
But think about it. Who knows your products, and the benefits they can solve, best? For many firms, it is their own employees. They spend their workdays designing, making, selling, promoting, and answering questions related to your company’s products. You even pay some of them to operate help desks and man phone lines, answering questions about your products.
Many firms find it beneficial to encourage their employees to act as advocates on social media for their product. This is something we also do at PMYB.
If your employees can build up a social presence, mastering the essentials of authenticity and building substantial followings, then they can become excellent advocates for your brand. They can become ready-made influencers in your sector. And if they can promote your product, while sounding authentic and genuine in their enthusiasm, they can become powerful weapons in your influencer strategy.
Reveal Company Secrets – Let Consumers In
One way that brands can think like influencers is by allowing consumers to see behind the scenes footage. Did you know that one of the most viewed pages of any website is the About page? People have a natural inclination to understand and know a little about the people they interact with online.
Successful social brands show informal and candid shots of their staff enjoying their workplace. They take potential customers inside the company. They showcase the employee of the month for everybody to see. Some brands even share informal shots from the staff picnic. They show their products in a real environment, in active use by real customers.
They speak in the appropriate language for their consumers and generally avoid sounding too corporate. This is particularly so for B2C companies, trying to attract everyday people as customers via social media. Above all, successful companies share (either themselves or via their influencers) the types of material that potential customers want to see.
Build Relationships with the Right Kinds of People
Most influencers don’t try to build follower numbers for the sake of it; they are far more concerned about engagement and ensuring that people who have a genuine interest in what they have to say follow them.
Businesses need to do the same; likewise, they need to pick influencers who have a clear understanding of their audience.
Lenovo wanted to use influencers to draw attention to its social media campaigns. They knew they had to use the right influencers, however. Most of Lenovo’s business nowadays is B2B, so they initially focused on building relationships with associations and organisations who had already built high trust levels. These included NAF and MIT who Lenovo worked with to advance their mission of improving STEM education.
Case Study: Red Bull Thought Like an Influencer and Became One
We touched on Red Bull in our analysis of 8 Soft Drink Companies that are seeing success in their Influencer Marketing Campaigns. They learned all of the same lessons as Chromo-Influencers, to the point that they now have equivalent followings and engagement on their social posts as many top-level social media personalities.
Red Bull very much looks at its influencer marketing as two-way. They choose to focus on sports, music, and gaming and devote teams to working with up-and-coming names in those industries. Because the recruiting teams are actively involved in their relevant interest area, they can relatively easily select talent before it is famous. Red Bull plays a long game, giving time for unknown talent to become famous influencers.
Their premise is to “give wings” to people and their ideas. Red Bull helps the talent they’ve selected to meet their dreams, and records their progress along the way.
They make posts that interest their audience and follow all the same rules and practices that Chromo-Influencers do.
In another Red Bull promotion, they recruited college students to become brand ambassadors, acknowledging that college students love their coffee to keep them awake at crucial times. The college students promoted the product, drove the brand image on campus, increased sales, and introduced other students to Red Bull and a “lifetime of loyalty”.
Concluding Thoughts on Why Brands Need to Think Like a Chromo-Influencer
Chromo-Influencers know better than anybody else how to engage their audiences on social media. Therefore, they are the perfect role models for anybody wanting to succeed in that sphere.
In particular, they need to accept that marketing on social networks is markedly different from other types of marketing. Brands cannot control social marketing as they can with traditional advertising.
Brands need to think like a Chromo-Influencer if they are to achieve their social marketing goals.