It’s unquestionable that influencer marketing has had a powerful impact on relationship driven advertisement. We’ve watched as start-up businesses skyrocket into billion dollar enterprises through the use of influencer and celebrity endorsement. Having brand collaborations on social media from the likes of Kim Kardashian and Conor McGregor once embodied what successful influencer marketing looked like. However, more recently, consumers are looking to build genuine connections and while celebrity advertisement has an extensive reach, it lacks authenticity. The modern influencer takes action, not just selfies, they create their own brand image and voice that allows them to build authentic relationships with followers in their network. These influencers have created strong social media profiles within industries, finding their niche and demonstrating an expertise.
We’ve been watching this happen locally in the real estate, legal, marketing and advertising realm. In an effort to find out some more information, we reached out to some of these industry professionals to find out how building a social media presence has impacted their career and what gave them the initial push to create authentic contact. These professionals are likeable because they have a clear purpose, connecting on a more meaningful level with consumers by having a reason why. They’ve become a go-to person within an industry or area of expertise, stretching far beyond the target of just making sales. This has become a likeable and well recognised attribute noticed by employers. Influencers within industries are generating and developing business without the traditional outbound sales focus, instead, creating content and engagement on a personal level, raising the awareness of those around them to generate leads and referrals. Employers are no longer just looking for a candidate that meets a checklist of qualifications, they want creative and confident individuals who have marketed themselves well within the industry and have an established network of contacts to bring with them.
A strong social media presence is allowing industry professionals to build rapport and create valuable content for their audience before they have even met. These influencers are creating an identifiable presence across a range of social media platforms, giving current and prospective clients an insight into their personality traits, interests and values. This fresh approach of influencer marketing has been manifested by professionals on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. For industry professionals that are ahead of the game, they’re saturating the market across multiple platforms, leading to high engagement and a well-connected network.
What we found:
The biggest piece of advice I have acquired from speaking with and observing these influencers is that content is not just about you as an individual, it’s about the value-add of your network. Networking is about the relationships you create with like-minded individuals and social media provides industry professionals with a platform that allows them to share these experiences with others and take people along for the journey. In our current content driven digital age there is no doubt that industry professionals who are thriving within their niche are extremely attractive to employers, however, job opportunities and offers are not the end goal. What makes the modern professional influencer so unique and appealing is the transparent relationship they share with their employer. Not only do they create a strong personal brand image but they also become a spokesperson and representative for the company. To them, the term influencer is no longer associated with a selfie driven livelihood; it has become a way for those individuals to deliver valuable industry specific content and nurture relationships within their community. The content they deliver serves a purpose and communicates on a deeper level. it’s authentic and unedited, adding value to the audience.
When creating a business marketing strategy, we identify the company’s unique selling proposition (USP) to better understand what differentiates our service from competitors, more simply, why should prospective clients choose us? Influencers within industries have developed a personal brand for themselves over time by maintaining reputation, image and relationships. Industry professionals who have successfully done this have identified their personal unique selling proposition. They have advertised themselves as a brand within their professional industry. From our research, we found that to market yourself well within an industry you must first and foremost know yourself. You must then identify with what makes you different, be genuine and tell your audience a story that is authentic to your personal brand. Don’t feel frightened or intimidated by a competitive marketplace, instead, take it as an opportunity to become the industry influencer who delivers meaningful, engaging and valuable content to your audience. I agree with Gary Vaynerchuk who has said that “not paying attention to your competitors will become your power.” Industry professional influencers possess the empowering mindset of focusing on their personal goals and growth, advising others to do the same.
The rapid growth of digital marketing has created a space for niche industry-specific influencers, proving to be a powerful tool for professionals. In the tech savvy age of filters and facetune, authentic content has never mattered more.
We would like to thank Lana Woltman, Tegan Boorman, Chris Hogan and Willow Sloane for taking the time to contribute to our research.