Today, everyone is struggling to have a huge following on Twitter. Some are going as far as buying followers.
This trend has partly been contributed by the misconception that people with a huge following are the ‘real influencers’ or ‘social media bigwigs’ or ‘Twitter gurus’ as they call themselves within the circles of social media.
Sadly, brands have fallen victims of this trend too. Most are scrambling for a huge following on Twitter. They have been made to think that having a huge following is the only way to control the online business ‘space’. Even when looking for ‘real influencers’ to push for the awareness of their products or services, brands often go for people with a huge following while overlooking those ‘with no substance in terms of ‘influence’’. (For most people and brands, influence does not refer to what someone does online but the number of following they command.)
Who is an influencer? I asked this question to Noah Miller, the Managing Director at Sochin Limited. His answer actually left me guessing as to whether I was an influencer or just a social media toddler who was only thrilled of having a huge following and nothing else.
“A real influencer is someone who can keep his or her followers engaged and can authentically advocate for a brand, cause, or position,” that was Mr. Noah.
Before you call yourself an influencer, ask yourself these questions: are you in a position to keep your audience/following engaged? Are you in a position to successfully advocate for a brand, cause or position?
“You can be an influencer on different channels. One of the challenges is how to leverage the unique attributes of each platform. Frankly, I find it much more interesting to follow an influencer on Instagram who can tell an exciting story compared to someone who has a huge Twitter audience but has boring posts,” added Mr. Noah.
What are your posts like? Are they boring? Before posting something on Twitter, ask yourself if the same thing would interest you if you read from somebody else’s timeline. Are your posts conversational?
Most of those who pride themselves as influencers are actually monologue robots communicating with themselves.
Conversations on Twitter should never be one way. Twitter is not a platform to give a speech. Even in a speech, people ask questions. Engage your audience with questions and polls. Seek their views on various matters.
“Anything else can be one way on Twitter but not retweeting,” said Getrude Wivakala, a social media influencer, not with a huge following but one who engages her audience well.
Gertrude has a point. You cannot be the only one who always puts out posts for people to retweet. When people retweet your posts, they expect you to return the favor. Always remember that you are dealing with human beings and not robots. Here, the unwritten rule is, “do unto others what you expect them to do unto you.”
Being an influencer is not about the following you command. A person with 1000 followers can be an influencer while a person with 100,000 followers not. Being an influencer is about what you post and how you post it. It is about how you interact with your following. It is all about engagement.
Who is an influencer?
“Someone who can can give an opinion at or on a certain area based on the kind of people who follow him. For instance, you might love football and you can spark a conversations about a certain football activity and be able to change the opinion of people about the same. You are an influencer,” said Festus Mutuku, the CEO at Stanafrica Limited, Nairobi.
Are you a twitter influencer or just a social media toddler?