(Published in The College of Westchester’s Newsletter, October 2014)
Every high school and college student is active in at least one social media platform with hundreds, or even thousands of friends, followers with likes being generated from both. Some of our current students could be social media influencers and we don’t even know who they are. Being shy and quiet are not impediments to becoming an influencer.
But what exactly is a social media influencer? Well, an influencer, as the dictionary defines it, is a person who has the power and authority to produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others. In the age of social media, the definition is changing as how to identify influencers.
Today, thanks to online applications, all social media users now have the opportunity to stand out and in turn, become leaders in respect to their interests. As a result, marketers, public relation professionals, and experts in many industries are forced to reassess their approach to when interacting with people on social networks. Higher education is not the exemption.
Influencers on social media are either passionate individuals who turn out to be specialists or they are interested professionals who use Web 2.0 tools as part of their work or hobby. They take advantage of their presence on social networks for personal gain or as ambassadors of a brand, company or organization. They produce and share relevant content, appealing to the interests of a community. This can result in regularly prompting discussions and interactions that might have influence on behaviors.
Lots of millennials are social media influencers without even realizing that they are actually influencing friends or classmates. They have hobbies, play sports, and enjoy video games, and share all their experiences on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and other social media platforms. They are influential in persuading people to get behind certain brands, and they often times support causes by joining certain clubs or participating in cultural movements.
I believe we can influence our influencers (students) to become our ambassadors and make them recommend CW as a great option to pursue a college degree. All we have to do is find out who is a social media influencer at CW. Do you know anyone?