Content marketing is king, and word of mouth is queen - and whether or not you’re thinking about Europe or chess depends on your brand (and for those of you thinking about Game of Thrones, we’re worried about you). In any scenario, they’re most effective when they work as a united front towards a common goal.
This marketing phenomenon has resulted in the elevation of a new class of individuals, never before seen, at least not in the form they are in today. That class is Influencers.
A common statistic that many content marketers are familiar with is Forrester’s finding that 13.4% of U.S. adults online create 80% of the content that influences people, and 6.2% of those users create 80% of the influence on social media. It’s undeniable, gaining the attention of an influencer is a major accomplishment for any brand, and can be more effective for spreading awareness of your company than virtually any other marketing tactic.
However, Forrester also cautions marketers to avoid paying influencers, as there are a variety of dire social and legal complications that can results from it. So what’s a brand marketer to do? The answer is to gain their interest and appreciation exactly how you would any other consumer - with great messaging and intrinsic incentives like free trials, exceptional experiences and promotions - albeit a bit more aggressively and in a more targeted fashion.
To make it a little easier, we’ve rounded up the top five influencers of 2016 who we highly recommend you get acquainted with, as well as how you can do so:
Guy Kawasaki (Marketing)
When it comes to powerful public influencers, Kawasaki is at the top of many lists. His credentials are second to none: he was one of the first Apple employees responsible for marketing, and served as chief evangelist. He has also been the brand ambassador of Mercedes Benz USA. He’s now the chief evangelist of Canva, and a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley. Kawasaki is also the author of a dozen books on brand building, marketing and social media, all of which are essential reading for marketers, and serves on the board for WIkipedia.
The man has 1.49 million followers on Twitter, 1,922,986 followers on LinkedIn (and is marked as an Influencer, as if that’s even necessary), and is followed by 395,392 people on Facebook.
How to Meet Him: Understandably, he’s a bit hard to get a hold of, with that many people trying to talk to him. However, you’ll actually have a chance to meet him in person at NextCon16 - if you hustle. The event is November 14-16 in Scottsdale, Arizona, but there are still a few tickets left! Considering the lineup, it’s well worth the reasonable price of admission.
Danielle Smith (Motherhood, Fashion and Lifestyle)
As a former news anchor, Smith knows how to get the message across in a digestible, memorable way. She focuses on feminism and motherhood, and is a great influencer for any brand that focuses on female audiences. She’s an advocate for working mothers, and wrote the book “Mom, Incorporated: A Guide to Business + Baby.” She also comments on fashion and pop culture, and has represented brands such as Procter & Gamble, Con Agra, Chevy, Fisher Price, Invisalign and more.
She has 249,000 followers on Twitter, but prides herself in personally answering queries.
How to Meet Her: Her site encourages users to reach out directly at email@example.com. She frequently gives brand shoutouts, so don’t be shy!
John & Sherry Petersik (Home Goods, Decor and DIY)
This couple started their social media careers as hobby bloggers who wanted to fix up their house, but have since expanded their following to lead the home decor and DIY industry! They’ve written two books on DIY home decorating, run a popular podcast, and have created a product line that grows consistently. Their blog, Young House Love, has 30,200 followers on Twitter, and 160,000 on Instagram.
How to Meet Them: This couple is a little harder to get a hold of - but they are very active on Twitter, and frequently reply. Tweet at them directly @younghouselove for best results.
Jim Harris (Green Energy, Sustainability, Ethical Consumer Products)
With twenty years as a professional speaker and consultant, Harris has made a career of keynoting events, and appears at over 40 conferences every year. He focuses on consumer tech and products, with a leaning towards green energy and sustainability - and we’d expect nothing less of one of the first people trained to present Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth!
With over 120,000 followers on Twitter, if you’re working on a way to improve the world, he’s your man.
How to Meet Him: He will be speaking at Ideacity, the Canadian conference about inspiring leaders, which leans towards scientific and political breakthroughs. You can email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call him at (416) 467-6006.
Lance Ulanoff (Consumer Technology)
As the Chief Correspondent and Editor-at-Large of Mashable, Ulanoff commands an impressive audience with his combination of witty, intelligent commentary, and entertaining and silly posts. He served as Editor-in-Chief of PC Magazine beforehand, and has serious journalism chops that he combines with a knack for the viral.
He has 88,400 followers on Twitter, and frequently comments on new and cool consumer tech and trends. If you’re in the business of anything electronic, get to know this guy!
How to Meet Him: A little bird told us he’ll be at CES 2017, which is coming up in just a few months!