Lyon students learn the job of ‘influencer’

Influencer marketing is expected to more than double in size in one year, to $10 billion in 2019, according to this article in Edelman.

Lyon College noticed.

During the past summer, its marketing department announced a new Influencer Program and for the 2019-20 school year, five out of twenty applicants were chosen in September to represent the school as influencers for Lyon on social media.

“The purpose of the program is to not only help our influencers develop their skills but also to reach prospective students through the authentic voices of our Lyon Influencers,” Madeline Pyle of the marketing department explained. “Our influencers are ambassadors for the College and serve as another way for prospective students to learn about Lyon. If the program is successful, our office would like to expand it.”

Now, as the program’s inaugural semester wraps up, both Lyon and the students involved can attest to its benefits.

One of the five chosen was Michael Jorgensen, a sophomore biology and chemistry major from Manila, Ark. Michael said he wanted to be a Lyon influencer to connect with and reach more people.

“Before, all I was doing was class and baseball,” he said, and he wanted more. “I had not felt I had joined in as much.”

“Now I am a person others can rely on to know what’s happening around campus. People definitely know who I am.”

Not just current students, either. Potential students have also reached out to Michael to find out more about what there is to do in and around the campus.

Does Michael want to pursue being an influencer outside of college? An influencer, yes, “but not on social media,” he says. He wants to be a doctor and influence people to be healthy.

Others chosen were Batesville native, Haley Cormican, a junior art major who is also serving as the Student Government Association President, Katherine Jeane, “KJ”, a junior psychology major, from Wooster, Ark., Alexandria Denton, “LeeLee”, a junior business major, from Cabot, Ark., and Marcos Fernandez, a sophomore economics and business major from Argentina.

Since September, these local influencers have been busy promoting both the college and Batesville in general, mostly on Instagram.  

Why Instagram? Because influencer marketing happens on Instagram, say 92 percent of marketers, according to a 2018 study by Linqia, a leading platform for influencers. The study also concluded that engagement and number of clicks are effective measures for return on investment when hiring an influencer.

For those with a mild interest in growing their influence on social media, consider the following.

According to this article in Forbes, people who are most effective influencers are those who are able to obtain and maintain trust of those they are influencing. This can take time, especially if the only interactions are happening online. Those social media users who are saturated with hundreds of thousands of followers have trouble keeping up logistically, and are therefore rendered less effective in their ability to influence.  

This leaves the door open for micro-influencers, or those with roughly 3,000 to 30,000 followers on Instagram. 

According to this article on Whalar, one of the leading companies for influencer insights, marketers are now hiring micro-influencers because they have better engagement — more effective influence — with their followers.

With access to a good editor, becoming a micro-influencer on social media as a side hustle is a realistic goal for someone who has expertise in an area and is willing to post about it online. Even in a small town.

To see what the Lyon College influencers have been posting to attract potential students, click here.

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