A lot of people have the title “Influencer” attached to their names in social media. The first time I saw this on LinkedIn, I couldn’t help wondering whether it was a job title or something else. When I noticed that more and more people were adopting the title I decided to monitor what they do.
At first, all I saw were people collecting massive followers and dishing out posts that have little or no impact, yet they collect so many ‘likes’ and comments. I always asked myself what was so important about the posts of most of these influencers that people liked; and why will the posts that are greatly impactful not collect as many likes as those vain ones? It’s yet to make sense to me anyway.
Today, I read a post somewhere, where the writer said that all entrepreneurs need influencers if they want to take their businesses to the next level. I couldn’t help wondering why this person assumed that, especially since the people I’ve seen with the “Influencer” title on LinkedIn do not project anybody’s business despite the massive followers they have. Most of them are actually people that are directly or indirectly looking for their own “customers”.
So, today, I asked myself this question: Who is an influencer?
To satisfy my curiosity, I searched the term in the print version of the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (9th ed.) and noticed there is no entry for the word (I only saw influence). I went online and searched through Cambridge and Merriam-Webster dictionaries and saw the following entries on the term.
From Cambridge Dictionary
An influencer is
- “someone who affects or changes the way other people behave”
- “a person who is paid by a company to show and describe its products and services on social media, encouraging other people to buy them”
From Merriam-Webster Dictionary
An influencer is
- “one who exerts influence”
- “a person who inspires or guides the actions of others”
- “a person who is able to generatea interest in something (such as consumer product) by posting about it one social media”
After reading up these definitions of “influencer” I realised that the term is obviously a new one, which is still generating more meanings and usages. For example, the post that advised people to follow up influencers and win their attention so they can bring sales to their door steps indirectly defines influencers as “carriers and distributors of luck and customers”.
Of course, there is need for luck in everything we do but it is not enough. This is also the case with succeeding in getting an “influencer” with many followers to advertise and recommend your product to his numerous connections. It is possible that his followers will turn and purchase most of your products at that point in time, but that may be all. Unless you were able to retain this influencer and pay heavily for his services, or you managed to retain some of the customers he brought your way, trust me his followers will follow him to other products that won his attention. Put differently, using influencers may only bring temporary sales; they may not give your business that needed jolt.
Who then should be your influencer?
Based on the definitions given by the dictionaries, it will be deduced that, in the business arena, an influencer is someone that helps you to make sales. He is someone that attracts customers for you as well as inspires you.
Whether you have someone on your payroll with the name “influencer” or not, the following are the best influencers any entrepreneur could have:
- Your Customers
I have always believed in customers being the best influencers anybody could have. If you look at it critically, you will notice that the best form of advertisement is customer relations. If your customers are happy, they will recommend you to others. If you treat your customers well, they will never leave you. All you need to keep them and attract new ones is to give them satisfaction for their money.
Customers’ feedbacks are also necessary for company’s growth and development. It is a pity that a lot of entrepreneurs do not create room for feedbacks. Instead they spend so much on advertisements and unnecessary promos.
- Your Employees
Happy employees bring forth better services. If your workers are unhappy, they will not hesitate to send away your customers. They will even recommend your competitors to your prospective customers. But when you treat your workers well, they will take care of your business, treat your existing customers well and attract new ones.
- Your Competitors
As absurd as this might sound, you still need your competitors to keep you on the right track. The good thing about having competitors is that you keep finding ways to impress your customers. You will continue to initiate new and better things that will keep you abreast or ahead of your competitors. The presence of competition is all you need not to slouch.