By Rex Hammock, CEO

The term “influencer” is one of those internet-era buzzwords that consumer-focused marketers use in the way business-to-business marketers use the term “thought leaders.”

In reality, these individuals have always existed. The newness of their influence is the way many have discovered how to circumvent the traditional gateways of media and celebrity.

The challenge marketers face in such an era is to not confuse celebrity with authenticity. There are individuals who are influential because they are, indeed, masters of a topic, skill or talent. However, there are others who are influential because they can master the tools of influence. They can sell ballroom dancing lessons one week and kung fu lessons the next. They are influential at making you believe they are influential.

Too often, these influencers are merely short-term celebrities to your target audience, not long-term leaders. The most influential marketer for your brand will be the individual who inspires you by discovering how special your product or service is in ways you never imagined. It’s not the person who has the most followers or the thought leader who will think whatever you pay them to think.

Takeaway: In your content marketing, focus on finding authentically influential people when creating case studies or selecting individuals to feature on a podcast. Find the experts among your customers who have used your tools to do something unique, not necessarily those who have the biggest ego. Find the authentic experts and feature them.

Image: Getty Images

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