Social Media Influencers are all the rage at the moment. There is a lot written about them in Sales and Marketing media and there are a lot of people who claim to be influencers. Like me, those of you new to the game of digital marketing will be wondering what all the fuss is about. So, as always I’m here to cut through the complicated brown stuff.
What is a social media influencer?
If we look at the dictionary, the word influencer in a global context is defined rather simplistically as a “a person who is able to change the behaviour or thinking of someone”. In this context we are all influencers, as there will be people affected by our thoughts and actions. For children it will be our peers, for parents it will be our kids.
If we take this into social media context, the zone of influence can become much wider due to the idea of scaling network effects. This is captured very well by LinkedIn’s idea of 1st, 2nd and 3rd connections. If you think of your network as the sum of your 1st, 2nd and 3rd connections, your reach is multiplied exponentially.
In recent years, digital marketing has become very popular – by this I mean advertising on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram. Initially most of this centred around celebrities and traditional B2C adverts. In recent years, we have seen a shift towards a phenomenon known as the social media influencer. This has probably been driven by the Reality TV phenomenon but I have noticed that people are following ‘real’ people as well celebrities.
These ‘real’ people are actually just your average joe, doing a job and earning a living to feed themselves and put a roof over their heads. The only difference is they are actually becoming celebrities in their own right. People follow them because they have worked hard to build up authority, knowledge or a particular position and they are sharing what they know with their network! This also makes them “people who are able to change the behaviour and thinking of someone” which is why there is such a hype around them at the moment with regards to social selling.
DigiVue’s Top 10 Influencer List (+1)
You may have seen articles about Top 10 Linked Profiles, Forbes top 30 under 30 and Digital Marketing Agency Influencer Lists. Social Media as a whole is really promoting this concept of the 21st century influencer. Much has been made in recent days about whether they are truly independent or whether there is some “Sales and Marketing” smoke and mirrors going on.
In my humble opinion (IMHO) to be an influencer you need the following:
- A solid track record and reputation in your field of influence
- Post regular content of high quality
- Have something different to say, be a lion not a sheep
- Regular engagement and interaction with your network and followers, otherwise you could just as well be a robot
- Have a blow out every now and again. Look, even influencers are human, if you are politically correct all of the time, you could also be mistaken for a robot
This gave me an idea to set up my own top 10 of LinkedIn digital influencers. I can guarantee that this is TOTALLY independent and represents my views only. No pets or robots were harmed in the creation of this list and due to anti-bribery regulations I have to declare that I was not given a penny by any of these people! So here it is, in no particular order:
- Brian Solis – Brian is THE thought leader in the disruptive technology space. He started out in digital and social media in 1999 when most of the current crowd were in their diapers. He continues to provide some of the best content out there.
- Gary Vaynerchuk – Famous for using YouTube to grow his family’s wine business from $3 million to $60 million, Gary is one of the world’s first digital marketing pioneers and also started back in 1999. He’s written 4 New York Times bestselling books.
- JB Glossinger – I owe this man a debt of gratitude for re-programming my brain. After years of watching TV and reading newspapers I was as negative as everyone else. His morning coach podcast programme, gave me a dose of the positive stuff, every single day.
- Oleg Vishnepolsky – CTO of one of the world’s most popular websites, Oleg is also Mr Viral – an expert at writing viral articles on LinkedIn. He is also known as the Bear due to his weightlifting exploits! Oleg personally encourages me to keep on dreaming!
- Candice Galek – Controversial Candice is every married man’s worst nightmare. If I click on one her articles by mistake and my wife sees this – I have to make some excuse about it being related to business which of course, it is…
- Venkataram Ramachandran – Venky and I have a lot in common. Like exposing rigged systems and challenging the status quo. His storytelling style of delivery is truly unique and a great source of ideas.
- Josh Quigley – He was crowned Young Entrepreneur 2015 at the age of 22 and then tried to kill himself 2 months later. Josh fights the life-threatening disease known as depression everyday. At the moment he is trying to cycle around the world – not exactly a walk in the park.
- John White MBA – John was a late entry in my Top 10 because he personally messaged me last week to introduce himself and give me some great content. The thing about real influencers is they are humble people below the surface. They have time for others even when they have over 37,000 followers
- Frank Diana – The Nostradamus of the tech world. This man can see into the future. I shared his predictions for 2017 and instantly got 100,000 views. He wrote a paper on driverless cars in 2014 and it is scarily prophetic. If this isn’t influencing I don’t know what is.
- Stuart Ashby – Stuart found me when I was on one of my pub conversation rants about Donald Trump, media and fake news. He’s an ex-navy vet, turned kick-ass software developer entrepreneur, who is also creating real social change via #CoderVets and #HackingHomelessness. A True American legend in the making!
- Jack Parsons – My friend Jack is nicknamed the “Prime Minister of the Millenials”, he’s on a mission to connect 2 million millennials to commercial opportunities by 2020. Who needs government when you have Jack?
What about me? Well, I started blogging on November the 11th 2016. Donald Trump had just won the US presidential elections and I realised my time had come.
The digital revolution started in 1989 with Tim Berners Lee and the world wide web. But since 2008, there has been the creation of a twin track economy which has resulted in austerity and much suffering, depression and misery for many.
I have seen light at the end of the tunnel. 2008 also unleashed a powerful force known as Digital Transformation. Of course, this is primarily about business but it is also about people and culture. It will pervade everything we know and love from Finance to Politics, Economics, Sociology, Technology, Legal, Environment, Education…the list goes on. I want to be at the centre of this universe and to tell this story as it unfolds.
My Best to all in #TeamHuman,