In the rapidly shifting media landscape, there is an increasing need to create your own content, and propagating that successfully. Influencers are stakeholders who can be a part of your owned media program. How do you choose your influencers?
There are 2 kinds of influencers we can work with - (1) personalities, and (2) domain experts.
Choosing a personality as an influencer
Personalities are the most common kind of influencers clients and agencies choose to work with. They can be actors, singers, musicians, comedians, and so on. Depending on the field of work, artists and sculptors working within the confines of popular culture may fall into this category too. We sometimes call them "celebrities".
What are some of the qualities of a personality that would work in a social marketing and outreach context?
Humor. Good humor is always a plus. A light and sensible touch of humor always endears the personality to his audience. Humor should not be crass, overused, or aggressive. Rudeness is not humor. Occasional good humor is plenty enough.
Charisma. Charisma, in public view, or on the social media landscape, can be very useful too. In the video-centric world of social media today, charisma is much more easily demonstrated, compared to textual or audio content. Charisma is something indescribable, and you know it when you see it. Some personalities have an abundance of it and can use it to their (and your) advantage.
Spontaneity. The personality should have spontaneity on his social channels, so that there can be some element of pleasant surprise for his audiences. Spontaneity gives a realistic persona to the personality you are working with, and creates a closer bond with your intended audiences. Spontaneity can be about travel, events, and there are many opportunities to integrate such occasions with your brands, whenever possible and within the confines of good and sensible practice.
Respectful. The personality should be respectful to the media, his fans, and people in general. Ideally, those personalities who are media-savvy, comfortable with media interviews and public launches are best. There are screen or artistic personalities who have always been media-savvy and friendly, including some "superstars". Bad behavior should not be condoned for ANY influencer, no matter how famous (or infamous). If a person can "bite" someone with viciousness or bitterness, such a person can surely do the same to you under some circumstances. This is important because you are choosing a brand ambassador who may in turn affect your bottomline and have other legal implications.
Sociable. There are personalities who are reclusive, and those who are extroverted and engaging. For a brand ambassador, it is preferable to choose those who are happy and naturally inclining to meeting and interacting with people. It is just easier for everyone. Fans are people, and they appreciate a personality who can be patient and happy.
Choosing a domain expert as an influencer
Domain experts are great influencers too. For example, some products may do better with a medical expert, a professor, a scientist, an engineer, etc, as a brand ambassador (regulatory and other legal frameworks permitting).
Domain experts are very different from personalities as influencers. How you engage them, and the terms of collaboration, compensation, may be very different. What then, should you consider when choosing domain experts as your influencers?
Facts. The definition of an expert is the acquisition of a large and deep body of knowledge for you to tap on, especially for media interviews and other opportunities to help lend credence and sophistication to your offerings. Therefore, a good domain expert should be able to provide facts readily or research them efficiently whenever needed.
Numbers. In the world of abstracts and short attention span, statistics have become very important too. For example, the use of infographics and slides, and even motion video, will require figures and statistics to help explain some facts, and to help audiences in understand some more complex topics. A good domain expert can help you source for good quality and verifiable statistics and figures to be use in a variety of information assets such as infographics, slides, and inserts within video.
Articulate. Some domain experts are natural presenters and speakers. A small dose of occasional humor is appreciated too. It would work for your benefit to choose domain experts who are great speakers, who can articulate clearly and succinctly (since broadcast media need very compressed soundbites). Some media training can help domain experts become better acquainted with the media, and practice makes perfect. If you choose a good domain expert to work with long-term, work in some media training so that your domain expert will be able present information to the media effectively.
Influencers form part of your stakeholder community who can deepen your outreach efforts to your audiences. You may have a small pool of both personalities and domain experts as influencers who can help inform and reach your audiences in various means. Choose them wisely, and you have allies who will benefit your social and content outreach for a long time.