By Jamie Ray, Founder, Buttermilk
Your best friend, your cousin, and your colleague are more influential than Kim Kardashian.
As a brand, the most valuable commodity you have at your fingertips is the influencer with 1000 followers. Kim Kardashian has her place, but not where you expect.
On the subject of the word, ‘Influencer’ is being (or rather has been) phased out, what remains is the ‘creator’. Meta and TikTok deem their new Influencer programs ‘creator programmes’, so if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us.
At Buttermilk, we call creators in the 1-10k follower range ‘Brand Fans’. Why? Because they are fans of your brand. They do what they say on the tin. They aren’t cashing cheques for advocacy, because they are already your advocates. They will promote your product or service to their inner circle of their own accord.
Brand fans drive engagement
So, why are 1000 Brand Fans more valuable than 1 influencer with 5 million followers? Engagement. Beyond being a buzzword in every marketing pitch, genuine engagement means conversation. The relationship between the creator, and their audience. A two-way street.
Engagement is not the creator talking to their audience, but instead their audience listening, responding. People will listen to Kim, some may respond, but will she respond? You might be waiting a while. To lift the lid on true & authentic engagement, just look at the comments section on a social post by a brand fan. Here you will discover things about your brand that goes beyond the superficial.
The diversity of brand fans
Every brand practises philosophies surrounding inclusivity, representation. Principles of humanity, fairness. The issue brands face is how to communicate their stance organically. It’s not enough to slap a rainbow flag on your logo around Pride as audiences cut through the disingenuous more than ever before. The most impactful, inclusive diversity work is done from the bottom up. Grassroots influence, through thousands, hundreds of thousands of Brand Fans. All lifestyles, cultures, subcultures. True diversity is ideas from a vast collective of regular people, not ideas from a handful of executives.
Brand fans as a content solution
In the past decade, content creation has become democratised; Hollywood films have been shot on iPhones, so too have commercials. Production quality is more accessible than ever and this tech is in the hands of every Brand Fan. They have the ability to rustle up viral creative in minutes, not months.
Brand Fans are producing on par, if not better, UGC than branded content efforts ever could. With effective UGC receiving on average 6.9x more engagement than branded content created in-house.
No one can drive brand relevance more than your consumers. Rather than brainstorm around a table with people who don’t know how to download TikTok, outsource your content creation to your fans. Receive a tidal wave of reactive cutting-edge social content, licensed to your brand, to be repurposed endlessly at your discretion for wider branding efforts.
Brand fans as a business solution
Furthermore, Brand Fans are not just a content solution but a business solution. A market-research tool. What do your advocates think of your product, really? Unfiltered praise, and insight from the people that matter most. Brand Fans can inform and inspire your next product release in a way that the 5m follower influencer can’t. In a world, where Prime Energy Drink can steal market share from Red Bull seemingly overnight, the ability to be agile cannot be underestimated. Empower your fans to help you identify business threats before they emerge.
So, what is the tailwind making the bedroom creator with 1000 followers more powerful than ever? TikTok. It has broken the mould of how algorithms operate. For the first time, quality content is prioritised over subscriber count. Virality is no longer for the titans, virality is for the most relevant. Anyone with 0 subscribers but the right angle and execution can wake up to 3 million views on TikTok. It’s 2023, every single person is an influencer.
Captivate your Brand Fans, before your rivals convert them.