To record how incredibly odd the online world of influencers is, the Instagram page Influencers In The Wild combines videos and pictures of everyday people doing all sorts of crazy (and sometimes dangerous) things to get the perfect shot. It’s hard not to be impressed by the creativity and the sheer volume of things that can be done with a simple digital camera and an internet connection. The impressive volume of creative use of these devices to make a single picture tell an incredible story isn’t surprising: it’s all part of the rapidly expanding culture of visual communication.
The most fascinating aspect of this account is its focus on Janiece Smith, a professional belly dancer from Florida who was featured as one of the first women in a belly dancing video that went viral. She dances in the background with her boyfriend while other women ogle her from the background. This is a powerful example of how influencers in the wild can combine dance with marketing: there’s something inherently exciting about seeing a performer doing what experts in the field say is one of the hardest things to do. As far as this goes, the Janiece Smith story might be one of the first good examples of this genre online.
But what does this story really tell us about influencers in the wild? Well, the answer largely depends on whether you want to take it the serious side and believe that these powerful individuals actually do have serious business skills, or if you want to see things the light on. Those on the side of the light are likely already aware that Janiece Smith has a reputation for being an innovator and for being open to creative input. But for those on the fringe, seeing a seemingly novice using social media and her platform to launch an elaborate viral campaign may seem almost confirmation that magic is real. This is probably the most important lesson for influencers in the wild: you need to be willing to stretch your creative limits to create genuine, thought-provoking campaigns.
The second part of the lesson is about how these influencers in the wild are using their platform to drive their marketing efforts. There is no doubt that for some people obsessed with the latest trends, having an influential account in the wild can be the ideal place to start. For others, it might be the perfect place to start, but since the majority of these influencers are not able to monetize their accounts, they aren’t necessarily looking for the big payout. What these influencers in the wild are looking for is not so much for a brand that can be found on Google (even though that is a major component of their focus) but rather for something bigger, like a company whose name they can become familiar with, like a company whose website they can go to for more information.
In many ways, this is a perfect microcosm of the Internet marketing landscape, where brands that have not been discovered can be discovered by following their audience. While the Internet has made marketing much easier for small businesses, it has also made it far too easy for large companies to overlook smaller companies that can provide them with a number of possible clients. A great way to make a small company seem bigger is by using social media feeds to get your name in front of a niche crowd. If you can do that, then you have a solid foundation for building a long relationship with a group of people obsessed with the things you’re promoting.
Now that we’ve looked at how influencers in the wild use instagram to market themselves, it is important for us to discuss the last part of this lesson. The final lesson for how to become a successful instagram account exposes users to your product in a very direct fashion. For a lot of users, they aren’t looking for information, but rather, they are looking for the perfect pictures. If you can make a user feel like he or she knows something valuable about your product, then your brand will have found its new customer. If you can provide pictures that convince the user that your product is worth buying, then you will have found the perfect pictures to promote your brand.