There always seems to be a new term or group of audience members that are taking the spotlight away from others. First it was bloggers. Then it became influencers and creators. Now, what we are seeing now and as we head to 2018, it is micro-influencers.
You may be asking yourself, who are micro-influencers? This is not a new term (we saw this come up in 2016) , but it continues to grow with each year. These individuals are somewhat different and unique compared to traditional influencers. Micro-influencers, or sometimes referred to as advocate marketing, are the wave of the future and where many brands, advertisers, and audiences are looking for to get their take on a situation. Compared to influencers, micro-influencers are focused on a specific area, industry, or specialization like influencers, but they are like everyone else. They may not have the large audiences (100k +) of major influencers, but their audience is hyper-engaged and extremely active.
I am actually doing a presentation on this very topic for the Australian Communication and Public Relations Education Seminar series about how professors can embrace to become their own micro-influencers tomorrow (well, it’s going to be Wednesday down in Australia).
With professionals, athletes, and even celebrities establishing their place in the world of influencer marketing, why can’t educators? For the right brand, company, and organization – this can happen. We need to embrace this as part of who we are as a modern day social media and strategic communication professional.
How can educators become their own micro-influencers? Here are some tips I will be sharing in my presentation tomorrow.
- Understand your personal brand. What makes you stand out? What are things you feel are unique to what you have to bring to the table? How would you categorize your voice and presence in the community? Think about where you stand, what you are strong in, and where you need to go to invest more time and energy to improve in the areas that may not be strong.
- Note where you stand compared to others. For educators, we have to be aware of not only where we stand, but how we compare with others in our field. Are we unique? Are we following someone else’s footsteps rather than our own? What can we learn from others and see what they are doing? This does not mean copying them or trying to absorb who they are (if you watch Star Trek, this is what the Borg does – so don’t do that).
- Research brands, organizations, and agencies that could be a match. It’s like professional networking – you want to align yourself with others that fit your personal brand and community. Do your research and see which ones are your top choices, and reach out to them. Be authentic to WHY you want to work with them, and what you can possibly bring to the table. Keep in mind, brands and others are looking for micro-influencers as well! You want to make sure you are present where you need to be present at, be engaged in the community, and let them know you want to work with them as well. Brands and others are not mind readers. Once you establish this connection, you want to begin the conversation. Yet, you want this to be a win-win situation, not just one-sided. That brings up the next point.
- What actions have you been able to spark in your community? This is key – a defining component here. What have you been able to do to make changes in your community. This is where the impact factor comes into play. We can say all we want we are “influential” or showcase our social proof in a form of tweets and all, but actions speak louder than words. Influence is not about talking about it, but SHOWING what you are able to really do on your own. The real world looks for results and impact, and we have to show how we are able to deliver this. This does not necessarily mean you have to showcase your audience size, but rather the quality of audience size and notable connections.
- Sharing story, experience and relationship. Decide in what medium works for you as far as how you want to talk about this potential relationship with these partnership organizations, brands, and others. Some do video, others write – what is important is to see what is natural and authentic to you and your community. Personally, I found I use different channels to communicate this with my community, but the hub of the collaboration is on my blog and website (owned media) and then shared across platforms in tailored formats on social.
In summary, with the investment of time and energy, there are many opportunities in which professors can become a micro-influencer within their own network and community. This may not happen overnight, but it all starts with a first step into how you define your personal brand, how engaged you are within a community, and taking the time to reach out to organizations and brands to see if there could be a great partnership there.
I have been able to have some great partnerships and collaborations over the years, and I’m thankful to be working with some amazing people. I am still working on getting a coffee sponsorship deal (a definite goal for 2018!) – but let me know if you have any questions. More than happy to help!
Hope you all are having a great day!