If you’re like most millenni-, err, people these days, you have a short attention span when it comes to the content you choose to consume. There are only so many hours in the day, right? Who has time to watch a television commercial when there’s a new Instagram post, Snapchat story or YouTube video right at your fingertips?
Well, despite your efforts to avoid advertising by turning to your smartphone, there’s a pretty good chance that you’re still being exposed to marketing efforts. It’s just subtler. It’s called influencer marketing. And, according to magazines like Forbes and Inc., it’s going to be bigger than ever in 2017.
Influencer Marketing By the Numbers
Influencer marketing isn’t just a fad or a small marketing tactic. It’s big and will continue to grow bigger in the foreseeable future. Consider the following statistics:
84% of marketing and communications professionalsworldwide expect to launch at least one influencer campaign in the next 12 months (eMarketer)
Instagram has grown to more than 600 million users(Instagram)
70% of teenage YouTube subscriberssay they relate to YouTube creators more than traditional celebrities (think with Google)
Nearly 40% of Twitter userssay they’ve made a purchase as a direct result of a Tweet from an influencer (Twitter)
Influencer marketing was rated as the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition channel, beating organic search, paid search and email marketing (Tomoson)
There are, of course, two types of influencers: B2C and B2B. The former generally helps move more product; the latter tends to drive more visitors to your content and website. Both create brand awareness.
Our Favorite Influencers
So, what does all this mean? It means that influencer marketing is going to be here for a while. And we love it. In fact, we thought now would be a good time to share with you a few influencers we love the most. Some are related to marketing, some we enjoy in our spare time and some are… pizza.
Forbes calls him "the most powerful man in country music." I actually don't listen to much country music, except for a couple of artists that Bobby recommended on air as up-and-comers (shout out, Maren Morris and Walker Hayes). What most people don't realize about Bobby Bones is that besides having an undeniable knack for identifying talent, a work ethic that won't quit (he's performed with walking pneumonia and the flu), a national comedy tour,and the largest country morning radio show in the country, he is actually a marketing mastermind.
For example, in early 2014, about a year after Bones moved the entire Bobby Bones Show from a Top 40 station in Austin to WSIX in Nashville, he realized that his "bull in a china shop" approach to the transitioning from the old host was costing him listeners. In his memoir released last year,Bare Bones, Bobby revealed that, in an effort to save the show, he spent $13,000 of his own money to buy billboards all around Nashville that said, "Go Away Bobby Bones."
“Working on the theory that it’s hard to hate someone if he is getting picked on, I thought, I’m going to turn myself into the one who is getting picked on.” – Bobby Bones, Bare Bones
His theory was proven right, and the show climbed to #1 as listeners called in to speculate on who could have put the billboards up and how wrong it was for someone to do that. To keep the live show's interactions as authentic as possible, Bones didn't tell anyone that it was him who was behind the billboards — not even his co-hosts.
Bobby never misses an opportunity to capitalize on his personal life in order to stir up a little drama. On social media, Bobby hooks followers by announcing on air that he's going to reveal a "personal announcement" on his Snapchat at a certain time of the day. (Confession: I only downloaded Snapchat to be able to watch one of his "big announcements," which turned out to be that his hemorrhoid had returned.)
He also masterfully used social media to his advantage to reveal the much-speculated identity of his new girlfriend — country artist and guitar goddess, Lindsay Ell — this past fall via Instagram. Leading up to the big reveal, he posted many teasers showing parts of her, but never her face. The listeners reacted by instantly becoming more deductive than Sherlock, violently debating who it could be based on fingernail polish color and tan lines.
Now, I don't have any exact numbers, but as an avid follower, I noticed that Bobby's Super Special Friend Campaign resulted in a huge growth in social media followers.
I have only scratched the surface of his genius marketing magic tricks, and also suspect there are many other creative marketing tactics he's employed over the years that we still aren't aware of yet. Bobby may tell the jokes, but the jokes are always on us.
Dan Rather's influence and personality are omnipresent in the field of journalism and digital media in general. Best known for his role as a news anchor for CBS Evening News (1981-2005) and his contributions to CBS's 60 minutes, Rather's journalistic integrity and dedication to his craft are more than worthy of admiration. He was among the most prominent journalists to cover every major story from the JFK assassination and the Challenger tragedy to the tensions in Afghanistan well before the events of 9/11. His tough criticisms of President Nixon, which were in no doubt reciprocated, helped keep the public informed of the developing Watergate scandal.
Since his retirement from CBS, to give much-needed perspective on the current government establishment and the ambiguous, disconcerting state of the media. His continued insistence and demands for promoting journalistic integrity and seeking the truth have been one of the shining lights in an otherwise bleak electoral season, where the pursuit of truth has seemingly been shuffled to the wayside. A native Texan (which earns him bonus points), he's a man every journalist or writer should look to for inspiration. Here is an insightful interview with Rather, conducted by Texas Monthly, detailing his take on the most recent election and the issues of the contemporary media.
I’ve been a “Mythical Beast” for years now. What is a Mythical Beast, you may ask? Why, a loyal follower of Rhett and Link’s popular YouTube show, Good Mythical Morning, of course. My wife Jenn and I watch the show along with 11.7 million other subscribers nearly every weekday and it’s brought countless laughs into our home.
I would argue that this Internet comedy duo (or “Internetainers,” as they would call themselves) pioneered influencer marketing. They’ve been sneakily incorporating products into promotional videos online since 2007 — such asthis song featuring an appthat they use during the video, but you don’t realize it until the end.Since then, much larger companies like Alka-Seltzer, McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Amazon have sponsored them. That’s just the start, too; they’re getting noticed for their genius marketing moves more and more — just look at this list from AdWeek.
Considering they have all those YouTube subscribers, 688 thousand followers on Twitter and 1.1 million likes on Facebook, their influencer status is pretty set. They even recently appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Kimmel and have a TV show on YouTube Red. It’s been a steep rise to popularity for the two, but I’m proud to say I’ve been one of their fans since the beginning.
P.S. If you’re interested in checking any of their content out, I’d highly recommend starting with any of theWill It?videos. They’re hilarious.
Whether you realize it or not, we are all surrounded by influencer marketing. Having a plethora of favorites made it very difficult for me to pick just one to highlight. In fact, I changed my selection three times before finally settling on Chrissy Teigen (mainly because I can also tie it into one of my guilty pleasures: Taco Bell).
As a model, actress and author (just to name a few), Chrissy Teigen has built quite a following on her Instagram, Twitter and blog. So when a brand can get Chrissy to talk about them on one of her many platforms, that will often equate to a huge success for them — more followers on their account, more visitors to their site, more purchases of their product (tacos in this case).
This image shows Chrissy posting about Taco Bell to her many Instagram followers, thanks to their “put a ring on it” campaign and her already-documented appreciation for those Doritos Locos Tacos. No doubt this generated increased awareness and conversations about the fast food restaurant online (I may have even hit the drive-through after seeing this).
Chrissy is open about the fact she focuses on using her platform to promote products/services she actually loves (for example, highlighting a few favorite brands in her best-selling cookbook) and clearly indicating #ad or #sponsor in posts where she is being paid to speak about the company. Also, as an influencer, Chrissy keeps it enjoyable by maintaining her personality and voice while incorporating humor and quirkiness in her delivery.
Now, can you help us share this post enough times so Taco Bell sends me a ring? Just kidding! But not really.
Are you a fan of the graphic design tool Canva? I know I am! Well, meet Canva’s chief evangelist and former chief evangelist of Apple, Guy Kawasaki. Also known as a social media guru, with 10 million followers across his social media channels, Guy is the go-to influencer for many companies and individuals. I don’t know about you, but I sure wish I had 10 million followers! However, his success doesn’t stop there.
Guy is also known for being an author and an educational speaker, where he not only uses the top 10 formatto keep his audience engaged, but also knows how to throw in some jokes. I personally came across Guy Kawasaki back in 2015, and have enjoyed watching his speeches and blogs ever since. So, whether you’re looking for some business advice or tips on how to increase your social media followers, I’d say Kawasaki is your go-to guy!
So, people are cool and everything, but where does pizza fall in this equation? Since February 27th, 2009,DiGiorno Pizza's social presencehas been making the Internet a better (and hungrier) place. So, what makes DiGiorno's social platforms stand out from its competitors, you may ask? Humor, customer engagement, and hashtags, just to name a few.
For instance, DiGiorno leverages trending hashtags as an opportunity to engage with their audience, by "hanging out" on the Internet where their potential customers could be (but let's be real, who doesn't like pizza?). During any popular televised event, such as the Super Bowl, a live theatre performanceor even the Grammy's, you'll find DiGiorno at the forefront of all of the action on social media. With 104 thusand followers on Twitter and more than a million “likes” on Facebook, you could definitely say, “That’s not delivery… it’s powerful influencing.”
Yes, it's true: I have a MAJOR crush on Tony Robbins. The man is arguably one of the most well-known and influential business leaders ever. As a business man, life coach, author, motivational speaker and philanthropist, Tony Robbins has mentored and coached some of the most influential people around the globe. Through his Unleash the Power Within events, he's influenced million's of people (it’s at the top of my wish list to attend). I find what he's accomplished in his life nothing short of miraculous and I try and soak up as much as I can.
I desire to be an excellent leader and want to live my life to the fullest. Through reading his books, watching videos and listening to his new Podcast (which not surprisingly jumped to the #2 podcast slot immediately after it began), Tony has touched more than 50 million people in 100 countries. Wow! Now, that's influence.
One thing I love most about Tony — besides his insane amount of inspirational energy he exudes — is all his great one-liners. I find myself stopping constantly while listening to Tony to grab a pen and paper and write down something that really caught my attention. Here are a few that I love:
Published book? Check. Helpful marketing tips? Yep. Unicorn emojis? You bet. With more than 1.5 million followers across various social media platforms, it’s safe to say Peg Fitzpatrick is a social media guru. I’m not sure when I first stumbled upon Peg, but boy am I glad that I did. She writes articles on how individuals can leverage social media to its fullest potential.
What makes her really stand out though is how she does it. Her posts are always consistent with her branding and are easy to understand. Not to mention they’re always sprinkled with positivity and humor. So, whether you’re a beginner who’s just dipping your toes into the social media water or a professional looking for advanced advice, you too can get something out of Peg’s expertise… and maybe enjoy a laugh or two.
If you're a leader in your organization — or someday hope to grow into a great leader — and are looking for a good pep/Ted talk,book to read or social accounts to follow, Simon Sinek is your dude. He speaks and writes about lots of things, from millennials (his new talk on millennials in the workplace is seriously excellent) to marketing. But I love his focus on leadership. The angles he takes are interesting and specific.
A year or so ago I read his book, “Leaders Eat Last,” where he uses examples from the military to explain how successful leadership works. He also goes into things like creating a circle of safety, how your body's chemicals play a role and finally that being a good leader isn't a sprint. Being a good leader is something that you can't measure day to day, but over a lifetime. He follows his books up with great social posts, plenty of Ted Talks and appearances at conferences. So if you're a leader, wannabe leader or just looking for new ways to add a little motivation in your life, read his book or blog, watch a Ted Talk or follow him on social media. You won't be disappointed.
Named to Forbes’ list of “Top Ten Social Media Power Influencers” for four years in a row, Mari Smith is regularly identified as a top social media user and it’s no wonder why. I first learned of Mari at Inbound ’16, where she spoke on Facebook remarketing. She has a way of making somewhat complex topics simple and is super charismatic to boot. I immediately became a follower! In a Buffer blog titled “The Rise of the Facebook Queen: How Mari Smith Went From $50 in Her Pocket to 500K Followers,” I became even more impressed when I learned about her drive for personal development and her eagerness to help her followers.
Lewis Howes is the host of The School of Greatness podcastand one of my all-time favorite influential personas. On his show, he interviews remarkable individuals from all areas of life about their process and the steps they took to achieve their dreams. Lewis, phenomenal influencer himself, understands the value of human connection and especially approaching and forging long-term relationships with influencers by offering valuable advice in both life and business.
His ideology is based on serving and improving the lives of all those who subscribe to the School Of Greatness or interact with his brand in any capacity. From discussing empowering concepts to admitting to moments of vulnerability, he becomes incredibly relatable and much more influential in getting you to optimize your life for the better.
There you have it! Influencer marketing is here to stay and these people do it the best. Who are some of your favorite influencers? Let us know in the comments!