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Social Media Influencers: Advertising’s New Main Stage

How to utilize social media when building your personal brand

By: Marissa Humayun

Scrolling through your social media feed, you most likely follow friends, your favorite celebrities, that one makeup artist you love, even that one funny meme account. This new world of digital social interaction gives us this amazing chance to stay connected in real time with those we care about.

At the same time, this platform is now one of the most successful and powerful ways to advertise in the 2010’s. How do they do this? Social Media Influencers.

Take Grumpy Cat for example:

With over 2.3 million followers, this cat has got branding down to a science. Advertisers behind the Friskie’s Party Mix campaign chose to put their time, money, and effort into a social media campaign with influencer, Grumpy Cat, to reach their tailored target market in an effective and fast way. Grumpy Cat was even named one of Forbes Top Influencers, describing her as,

 “undoubtedly the best-known Internet pet sensation, who gained fame as a meme thanks to her adorably sad appearance, the result of an underbite and dwarfism. Sponsorship opportunities followed: Grumpy became the official “spokescat” of Friskies pet food in 2013, and her owner Tabatha Bundesen has brokered licensing deals with Hot Topic and Gund.” (Forbes)

From a Vault article titled, “How to Turn your Social Media presence into a Full-Time Job,” the author interviewed an influencer, who stated that advertising agencies ask themselves “why spend money on a commercial that wouldn’t get the views that [influencers] would get?” They use this to justify recent decisions in going “influencer-heavy” in advertising.

With this information in mind, you may be wondering, what does this mean for me, a college student (and not a famously sad cat)?

College students can build their personal brand via social media. You are your greatest asset to market to employers when looking for a job. Just like social media influencers, the easiest and most effective way to get your message out to the public is through social media. This could mean utilizing LinkedIn in a unique way (maybe instead of a written bio, you create an introductory video), or sharing an elevator image (a visual advertisement of you) on your personal social media accounts.

Additional resources/examples of personal brandin through social media can be found on the FSB Career & Professional Development website under the Networking and Branding tab. Here, you can find advice on what to include/what not to include on various forms of social media.

Whatever it may be, the secret sauce right now to conveying a message to your audience is influencing your audience through social media.