Have you been watching social media influencers online and wondering how they built their followings and their reputation? Have you ever wondered if you could do the same thing in your community? In this episode, Brenda and Windy talk about becoming a social media influencer as well as the difference between a social media influencer and a micro-influencer, and how many people in home-based businesses could extend their online presence by becoming a social media micro-influencer within their communities.
Brenda Ster: Hey, friends. Welcome to another episode of Social Marketing with Sassy Suite. I am Brenda Ster in Arizona and joining me as always is Windy Lawson in Florida. Hi Windy.
Windy Lawson: Hey girl, hey. In rainy, overcast Florida. So surprising in the summertime that we’d have rain in Florida.
Brenda: Well, it’s a thousand and twelve degrees in Arizona, so no, shock, whatsoever. It’s hotter than the surface of the sun. Welcome to Arizona in the summer. Crazy Sauce. Right? Welcome back. You guys, our topic for today is something that we seem to hear floating around the social ethos all the time. Something about becoming a social influencer. So, hey, let’s talk about that. What exactly is a social influencer? Because, spoiler alert, you already are one.
Windy: Spoiler alert, that’s right. Brenda, so let’s talk about what it means to be an influencer. And so, we’re gonna go very, like, Miriam Webster here. But really an influencer is just an individual who has the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of her authority, because of her knowledge, her position, or her relationship with her audience. So any individual who has following in a particular niche that they actively engage with. And honestly, all of our listeners, I’m betting that sounds somewhat familiar to them. I bet they’re thinking that sounds like me.
Brenda: Well, let me — let me zone in on a certain phrase that you said: relationship with her audience.
Brenda: Kind of a big part of it, right? So that’s a really important statement, because influence, you mean, you are literally influencing someone’s behaviors, actions, buying decisions…you’re influencing them with your recommendation, or your — your input. So the fact that somebody has a relationship with you, or you have a relationship with your community, we’re gonna talk about, what does that exactly mean and how do you build toward it? And it starts with finding your niche. Your niche is the market that you serve. So for example, Windy and I may have fabulously appointed homes and well-decorated interior decor. But we are certainly not interior design experts. And why is that? Because we haven’t showcased our knowledge on the subject, we don’t talk about it, we never post pictures of our homes. Believe it or not, we have interests outside social marketing.
Windy: Yeah, right.
Brenda: Just kidding, we totally don’t. But our goal is to establish ourselves as authorities in social marketing, so that’s what we talk about. To be able to build our credibility, build our relationships, build our subject matter expertise, build some level of authority so that we can influence decisions of how people work in their marketing strategy on social media. So our goal is truly to be experts in the field that we wish to influence. Not the fact that I’m a fabulous cook, or that my house is well-appointed, or I’m a superior parent. Which, who are we kidding? I don’t do any of those things necessarily particularly superiorly. But, you know, I’m an average cook, I’m a good mother, and my house, sort of looks like it’s clean sometimes, hey! So, but I don’t claim to be an expert in those things. So our goal is today, is to talk a little bit about how we build influencer trust. How do we become an influencer by focusing on the relationship side of our community? That’s really what our goal is.
Windy: So… and it’s really interesting, Brenda, because when someone says, “I want to be an influencer. I’ve decided — Brenda, I have decided that I am an influencer.”
Brenda: Well, that’s hilarious, Windy. Because you don’t get to decide your an influencer.
Brenda: That’s sort of the point. You don’t decide — you don’t declare that you’re an influencer. Who decides that you are?
Windy: Those who you are influencing.
Brenda: Those who are listening.
Windy: That’s right, ’cause they’re not listening to you, they trust you.
Windy: They are the one who elevate you to an influencer, not you.
Brenda: Exactly. You don’t get to suddenly go out and declare…it’s sort of one of those things. If you have to declare you’re an expert, it means nobody — if you have to brag on your own success, it means no one else is bragging for you.
Brenda: Right? So if you have to declare that you’re an influencer, it probably means you aren’t.
Windy: Exactly, exactly. So, really, it all comes down to having that relationship, right?
Windy: Because if there’s no relationship — if there’s no trust then there’s no influencer.
Windy: Or there’s no influence, rather.
Brenda: There’s no influence. And so this is where — now if you’ve been listening to us for more than a hot second, you know that we are all about the relationship side of marketing. We’re all about the attraction. And it starts with leading with value to your community. It starts with leading with something that will help your community first. Before you’re like, “hey buy my stuff, listen to me,” you know, “use the things that I’m telling you to use.” You have to be able to show value so that your community says… “Yeah, that actually helped me. Maybe I’ll listen for more. Oh, that helped me too. I’ll keep on listening. Oh, that helped me, that was a really good tip. That was in — that was information that was valuable to me.” And maybe it comes in the form of how to use your products, it might come in the form of building community, it might come in the form of sharing insights or vulnerabilities from your own life of… you know, I’ve walked this path. Let me tell you the pitfalls that are ahead of you so you can try to avoid them. Anybody in small business knows there’s a lot of pitfalls and land mines along the path. And if we can learn from people who are ahead of us, then you’re really — you’re learning from influencers who’ve been down this path before. So the person in the influencer chair then has the opportunity to share that value with someone who’s sort of behind them on that path. And by virtue of doing so, you’re building trust, you’re building credibility, you’re building rapport and loyalty to say, “listen I want you to — I wanna help you follow this path, successfully.” And by sharing that value the person who’s following, the follower, the community member, is saying, “yeah, I do wanna listen. I do wanna listen to what she’s saying because I see her successful and the information she’s sharing with me is actually helping me.” So it really starts with having that relationship. And this is why everything in relationship marketing is always about going back to the core lead with value. Because if you don’t have a relationship, you have no influence. No one’s listening. You’re kind of yelling at the wind.
Windy: Well, and you know what else, Brenda? This also really ties back into — to be an influencer, you have to be really clear on who your ideal client is.
Brenda: You kinda do. So you know exactly what your message is, who you’re trying to help, and who you’re trying to — trying to influence, right? Because you can try to influence, but that doesn’t make you an influencer. It’s a little bit counter-intuitive. You really have to know who you’re talking to and be crystal clear about what problem statements you’re really trying to provide solutions for, which is all about ideal client definitions. Exactly right. So let’s talk about micro-influencers because this is something that’s also really emerging, is a really, really interesting topic in social marketing. If you read about, you know you can go Google for micro-influencers and you’ll find a lot of bloggers and articles about it. But I thought it would be worth talking about here, ’cause I think it’s a really interesting point. So let’s use Kim Kardashian as an example. Now, Kim Kardashian has a gajillion followers on social media, she’s one of the most followed celebrities on social media. She is very much of an influencer. People pay a lot of money for product placement or endorsements or things like that, for the Kardashians to post on social with the hope that a bunch of people are going to, with her endorsement, buy that product. So that is very much of an influencer strategy. But, how many of us feel like we’re really emotionally connected to Kim Kardashian? How many of us feel like, “wow, she really has my best interest at heart, and she’s really, she’s really invested in my personal success.” How many of us feel that way?
Windy: She cares about me. She’s looking out for me.
Brenda: That’s right, in her — in her neon dress, she’s looking out for you. And, I’m sorry, but I’m a Ki– I’m a, I’m a celebrity stalker. I just am. Now Kim Kardashian is very savvy and very strategic in social marketing. She is worth following because it’s really interesting to watch how they do this business. Because it’s really what it is — they’re social influencers. However, with her gajillion followers, I don’t think any of us are gonna say, “wow, Kim Kardashian has my best inter — interests at heart.” Micro-influencers are a very new and a — not new, but emerging — powerful group of influencers that have smaller followings. They might be follower — they might have followings that are, you know, 1,000 to 25,000, 1,000 to 50,000, and that there’s a smaller population that they influence. It’s much more niche and it has a much higher level of emotional engagement. And what I mean by that, is Windy and I are, are arguably I grow influencers. So what I mean by that is we — we have the pulse of our community, we listen to what our people are talking about. We’re more emotionally invested in our community. We know our people by name. We pay attention to what’s going on with them. And as such, micro-influencers have a better chance of engaging or converting — converting on whatever their intended outcome is because there’s a higher and a stronger emotional connection with their community. So micro-influencers are very powerful segment of the marketing population, where most of our pop — where most of our community is going to also be, because most of our community is in the range of, you know, 1,000 to 25,000 followers. It’s gonna be in that range. So there’s a really — and this is where the relationship is so incredibly important. The relationship with those thousand people, that you know them. That you’re building a rapport, you’re building friendships, you’re building trust, you’re building loyalty. It’s so valuable because if you really have a following of two million people or a gazillionjillion people, how much authentic engagement can you really have?
Windy: Yeah, I’m gonna say not a whole lot.
Brenda: Not a lot.
Windy: Not a whole lot, and really. Speaking about relationships, you know, let’s talk about the most important element of being an influencer. Yeah, you can’t be an influencer unless you have the community, you have to have a… you have to have a niche, but if you don’t have trust with your community, you can never be an influencer. Without trust, there’s nothing. Trust really is the currency of influence. You know you look at, Brenda, what you and I do here. We have partnerships that we share with our community, but they’re all products or services that we personally use.
Brenda: Right, exactly.
Windy: We would not risk our, we would not risk losing trust by promoting something that we don’t, you know, one of us doesn’t actually use or have experience with. So, Brenda, how do you cultivate trust in your community?
Brenda: Well, I think you said an important sentence, and maybe it’s the quote of this podcast that we should make into a graphic. Trust is the currency of influence. That is such an important statement because that’s really what this is. When we trust somebody, what we’re really saying is that you have my best interest at heart, you’re not gonna share my secrets, you’re not gonna turn around a backstab me, you’re not gonna recommend something that’s bad for me. You — we have a relationship. You’re not gonna do something simply to exploit me for the dollar. That’s relationship-based trust. And in marketing world, that is so important as you’re building, your clientele and your relationship-based business, because that’s what — that’s what creates ongoing sustained repeat business, it creates referral-based business. So how you do that is by leading with value with the content that serves your community first. So, and I know we say this all time, lead with value, lead with value. And some people will say, “well what does that mean, exactly. What does that mean?” Value can be anything that helps your community. It might be simply being a friend and listening and saying, “I noticed that you said something…are you okay? I wanna make sure you’re okay.” It might be information — education that helps them in some way if it’s relative to your product area. So if you sell clothing, it might be how to dress for your body to max — to amplify your assets. It might be information or tips. In our world, it’s all about, you know, here’s some social marketing tips. Our podcast is 100% trying to serve value to help people do this business better, for example. If you sell anything related to cookware or food, it might be you know, gah, I tried out this amazing recipe. Here’s a video, here’s a recipe, here’s some ideas, here’s some tips. Here’s some time management tips, if you teach things related to organization. Anything that’s value-oriented that somebody, as the recipient would say, wow, this is actually valuable to me. This was helpful and I didn’t have to pay for it, that’s relationship-based leading with value. And the more people who know, like, and trust you, the stronger your influence will be and that’s what also — it helps build, like I said, your repeat business, as well as your referral business. When someone says, and everyone has done this, who knows somebody who sells ABC product?”
Windy: Oh I do!
Brenda: And you’re like, oh me, I do, I know somebody you have to go to my friend ’cause she is awesome, and I love her. What’s that really saying in that exact sentence?
Windy: I know like and trust her!
Brenda: I know, like, and trust her, and she’s influenced me and she’s my friend. So what are we really trying to do in that exact moment? Become an influencer, a referral partner, right? So that’s, that’s the thing is, you know, the people — the people who come at this business from a pure scale perspective, I’m just gonna try to spam everybody I can and try to catch whatever fish I can in the net, may be going on scale and quantity, but they’re never gonna have a sustained relationship-based business ’cause there’s no trust level. It’s purely a transaction. And there might be people who say that’s okay, I’m okay with that. Well, okay, that’s not what we teach. We are all about the side of relationship-based, attraction-based authentic business that values the relationship with your community member first before you’re like,”okay, now can I sell you something? Can I sell you something?” It’s much more about, “let me share value with you, let me help you, let me help your business in some way.” And that’s where somebody says, “you know… yeah, this is actually… I am willing to listen to you because you’ve helped me first.” And in that sentence of I’ve been — you’ve helped me first, I’ve indirectly said I trust you as an influencer.
Windy: You know, it’s funny, Brenda. I was at a conference earlier this week, and there was a — there were people that were selling from the stage, and the big difference: some of the presenters were giving an hour’s worth of purposeful content, the free value, and then offering the sale. And other people didn’t, and you could see the difference between just the straight sales pitch versus “I’m going to give you some — something of value that’s going to help you, whether you make the purchase, or not. This is gonna benefit you.”
Brenda: Right. And I’m betting you saw a direct reflection in how the audience engaged with those presenters.
Windy: Absolutely, absolutely.
Brenda: Was it a helpful, informational session or was it a hard sales pitch, right? That’s the distin — that’s the difference. And you were at a big event with thousands of attendees where nobody necessarily had a personal connection with those on the stage. So that leading with value would have been much more… wow, you’re that — in that leading with value, that’s where you’re demonstrating your credibility and your knowledge on the subject, and your testimonials of, you know, this is, this is how I built the reputation of my knowledge here. So the people are listening, going, oh, okay, I see what I could learn from you, I see where you’re ahead of me on the path, I get it.
Windy: And the people that were providing value, I’m now following them on social media. The people who didn’t…I’m not.
Brenda: You’re not! So the funnel quite literally worked like it was intended. They provided you value… you followed them on social media. And at some future point somewhere down to the road, they may make some recommendation on a tool or a service or a product that you may be like, “oh well, maybe I’m interested in that.” And they pull you further into their funnel and convert you toward a sale. That’s the entire social marketing strategy from the fundamentals. So you guys, if you enjoyed this topic, we’re gonna be spending the entire month of October talking about influencer strategy over in our premium coaching group. Influencer strategy, like we’ve said, is multi-layered. It might be as basic as a direct — a direct connection with your community, to build rapport, build your know, like, and trust factor to convert that — to guide them toward a promotional outcome. It might be much more complex. It might be building affiliate and partner relationships so that when I refer to a partner, the partner carries the credibility of my — of my referral or my endorsement. And how do we build those types of relationships, and we extend our network as an influencer through our partners. So it’s a lot of meaty good stuff in influencer strategy.
Windy: It really is a great — it’s a great month I’m looking forward to it.
Brenda: Yeah, so, tell — tell them how they can join the Elite Suite, Windy.
Windy: Yeah, so the Elite Suite is our premium coaching group. If you’re not already Elite, seriously. It’s one dollar to join for your first month. So for your first month, only one dollar.
Brenda: One dolla! One dolla!
Windy: One dollar.
Brenda: One dolla!! I wanna go ahead — I’m gonna go ahead and give up my diet drive-through McDonald’s for my daily Diet Coke and go ahead and join the Elite Suite y’all.
Windy: Right. So for that one dollar for your first month, you’re gonna get live weekday coaching with Brenda and I and guest coaches every Monday through Friday. You’re gonna get an actionable monthly sales strategy session, which is kind of the best hour of the month. You’re gonna get a free graphics back. We’re really focused on influencer strategy, so it’ll be guided coaching that entire month. And just… you really get so much more… so it’s, honestly, it’s well beyond worth a dollar, but it’s definitely worth a dollar to get in there. Try it out, see how much you love it, see how it works for you, you can learn more over at theelitesuite.com
Brenda: That’s right. I will say it’s a dollar for your first month. It is a subscription-based group, so your second month then goes up to our regular price of $19.99 a month. It’s a no contract group and you can cancel at any time if you find that the group is really not your vibe. If it’s overwhelming, there’s too much information. I always err on the side of too much versus not enough — I’d rather people join and cancel ’cause they’re, there’s too much versus… “I didn’t find value in it.” So we’re always on the side of over-extending our value. So come on over theelitesuite.com, we’ll be hanging out, talking about influencer strategy, all month long. And hopefully raising our community up to those levels of becoming micro-influencers by recognizing the value that they provide to their communities and being able to turn that into know like and trust. So thank you, as always, everybody for tuning in to Social Marketing with Sassy Suite. If you are on Facebook, and who isn’t, come on over. We have this Facebook group called The Socialite Suite. It is free social media tips, coaching, and community for home-based business owners. Come on over and join us and we will see you right back here on the podcast. Bye everybody!!
Windy: Bye guys!