I’m 65 & want to become a social media influencer – what are my chances?

Profile picture itch REzman and Peaches the Senegal Parrot

I’ve been examining latest trend in social media – they call it “influencer marketing”. I just read a post on LinkedIn asking for lists of “influencers”. A plethora of responses recommended this list and that list.

Not surprisingly my reply ran against the grain:

Correlation does not imply causation – everyone is assuming  a big list from an “influencer” implies an endless source of influential content – just for you – right? – and what’s the half life of an influencer? anyone remember Mari Smith or Jon Loomer way back in 2012?

What’s an influencers motivation for sharing your agenda? What if it actually siphons from their market share? It’s unlikely 100% of your philosophy dovetails with theirs – why should they dilute their beliefs?

Some great lists  have been presented above – once you find the influencers what’s the path to gain acceptance with them?

I choose the path to become THE influencer in my vertical – starting – well – last week. Follow Mitch Rezman on LinkedIn to see how I do

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Let’s face it – nobody’s breaking new ground here. From my friends at Wikipedia we learn:

Influencer marketing (also influence marketing) is a form of marketing in which focus is placed on specific key individuals (or types of individual) rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies the individuals that have influence over potential buyers, and orients marketing activities around these influencers.………………………………………………..

The first approach to that theory comes from a communication classic, The People´s Choice (Lazarsfeld and Katz), a 1940 study on political communication that was also known as Multistep flow model, that claims that the majority of people are influenced by secondhand information and opinion leaders.

That’s right, I am old and the concept of influencer marketing was identified 12 years before I was born. People love bandwagons to jump on which is why social media is so popular – unlimited bandwagons.

Remember when Facebook pages started getting traction on every social media group on the Internet? Every other post was “let’s share each other’s page – he he he” How did that work out for any of you?

Countless posts, e-books and white papers talk about redefining customer service and the customer journey.

News flash: Nothing has fundamentally changed about customer service since coins replaced chicken and fish for barter.

An even bigger issue is that Google clearly frowns upon rewarding anyone for providing positive reviews. This begs the question (in an influencer marketing scenario) from the influencer “what’s in it for me – If I take cash or gifts my website may get blacklisted by Google”?

I spent November and December chasing what I would define as influencers in our vertical which is pet bird bird care.

What I found was a long line of primadonnas highly protective of their contextual territory. This leaves me no other choice then to become THE influencer in the pet bird care category.

I wireframed a strategy and began to use the Blog2Social WordPress plug-in. I also plan to leverage several cornerstones I’ve built on social media like our 270,000 fan Facebook page and our blog.

I’ve always wanted to write a book – still on the to do list. Funny thing – we migrated http://windycityparrot.com/blog this year to our new Zen-cart site.

Because of the hosted website scenario we literally hand migrated it into our new WordPress blog. When we were finished I was able to glean wordpress stats indicating my contribution of almost 1000 pages – close to 1 million words of content I had written about bird care over the last seven years. Take that – book.

We have close to 450,000 views on our YouTube channel and get a couple hundred thousand eyeballs on our Pinterest page monthly. My plan is to put all of those yummy social media platforms into a big pot and begin to let them simmer (in stainless steel cookware)  for all of 2017 while adding some carrots, potatoes, parsley, tyme and Instagram.

If we examine our use of marketers on social media, most of us are guilty of pushing our ideas or somebody else’s ideas (don’t get me started on curating) onto our followers devices. Aside from simply responding to comments on the double digit number of social media platforms we reside I’ve decided to step up my game and leverage Facebook groups – which I’ve come to find is clearly a slippery slope.

A day doesn’t go by where I see a post on the LinkedIn line of updates spewing lots of gibberish on the main LinkedIn feed. I call it gibberish because most of it appears to be something that somebody thought was cool and felt offering it 300 million people on LinkedIn would more rabbit hole to entertain.

Many of the replies to posts are “this belongs on Facebook” Every once in awhile, something that I’ve gotten tired of – I will reply “if you’re the social media police where’s your badge and where can I find a list of what content belongs on what platform in social media”? Nobody ever responds to that.

You can’t just push incessant content. If you want to be an influencer you need people to influence – right? That’s another leg of strategy. Get granular by stalking Facebook groups in my vertical. “My intent is not to spam but to teach”.

Easier said than done. I culled through my groups and ended up with about 20 pet bird related groups each having 3000 or more members. With these groups I could scroll posts seeking problems then providing real world solutions.

I implore those in social media who feel they somehow can determine what posts are relevant for what social media platforms and those group moderators who feel that they can lay down rules on what and how to post.

48 hours into the “let me help you help yourself” initiative on Facebook, the first airstrike was aborted.

In one of my Facebook parrot groups, the rules of the group are stated at the top and in part – I quote:

“While we do realize that many of our members sell the toys they make, this group is not to be used for advertising, or promoting other sites or groups for personal gain. Feel free to contact another member privately if you are interested in purchasing a toy from them. The Parrot’s Workshop and it’s Administrators do not endorse any particular businesses, nor are they in any way responsible for any financial transactions done privately between individuals who may be members of this group”

While trying to be tactful and respectful I ran across a post with a woman who had made a foraging bird toy with one of the components being nylon rope. I know that nylon rope is unsafe for birds and an individual had just posted that fact but without any backup.

I posted the reasons why non-rope is unsafe for birds and offered alternatives – Here’s where it gets messy – the next reply was somebody posting the link to a competitor’s website where the appropriate material can be purchased which as far as I am concerned was in violation of the general philosophy of not selling in the group.

I respectfully and tactfully PM’d one of the administrators formally requesting that I be allowed to post a link of my products which which offer a solution. The response was as expected “I need to talk to the other administrators of the group”.

My guess is they will come back and say that “it was a post by a group member not the actual vendor that was responsible for the recommendation so it stays but you cannot post your link. My reply would be “well in that case I’ll ask 1000 of my Facebook fans to join your group and recommend my website – which will solve nothing.

Once again reinforcing one of the fundamental tenets of social media which is “trying to control social media is like herding cats”.

Please let me know about what you think of my social media strategy and my potential for success. My social media onslaught to pet owners will continue at full speed tomorrow the day after Christmas. In the meantime I have to stop here so I can finish filling out my application for Medicare part F supplemental insurance.

The holidays are much like grandchildren nephews and nieces – something that I love to see come and love to see go.

1402 words written by mitch rezman

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