At Blog World, Matt Ridings and Chuck Hemann led a great discussion on Online Influence. At one point, Chuck made the point that if he wanted to reach gardeners, it would probably make more sense to reach out to his mom, who is a gardener, vs Michael Brito, who has a much larger online reach, but isn’t a gardener.
That makes sense to most of us. But I asked what if Michael WAS a gardener. Then it becomes a more apples to apples comparison, but what if Michael was a ‘casual’ gardener, whereas Chuck’s mom absolutely LOVED gardening? At what point does the fact that Chuck’s mom has more passion for gardening outweigh the fact that Michael has a much larger online reach?
Another example: Let’s say you are In N Out Burger and you’re trying to develop a Social Media Outreach campaign for the brand. You aren’t sure if you should appeal to Influencers, or your Fans. Let’s also assume that the Influencers have an average Twitter following of 50,000, whereas your Fans have an average Twitter following of 1,000.
But let’s also assume that your Fans are the people on this video:
Who has a more vested interest in promoting your product, the Influencer with 50,000 Twitter followers that you sent a free gift card, or the woman at the 1:20 mark of the video that is literally crying because she loves your brand that much?
In my opinion, this is the one area of the Influencer vs Fan debate that we miss: The passion of your most loyal customers. If I was creating an outreach campaign for In-N-Out Burgers, I wouldn’t need to know what the online reach was for the customers in the above video. All I would need to see was that they literally love this brand, so much so that they are willing to drive for hours and then stand in line for hours just to be one of the first people to order your product when the store opens.
And then they cry with joy when they get it. If you think it’s better to connect with ‘Influencers’ over Fans like this, then you’re probably in the wrong line of work.