As Jeff Bullas (@jeffbullas) puts it, “there’s a lot of hype around influence.” And with good reason, I’d say.
You may have seen the short documentary “INFLUENCERS,” for example, which “explores what it means to be an influencer and how trends and creativity become contagious today in music, fashion and entertainment.”
INFLUENCERS TRAILER from R+I creative on Vimeo.
Being a social influencer is becoming increasingly valuable these days, as people realize the hold that “social” has on our everyday lives. In an attempt to quantify influence across social media, sites like Klout have emerged, which measures influence “based on one’s ability to drive action.”
This knack for driving action is what makes influencers so powerful. Influencers are the tastemakers of our society, and in the digital age, having influence in social media, whether you’re an individual or company, can directly translate to revenue in unprecedented ways.
I thought there’d be no better way to illustrate the power of an influencer than doing a brief case study on one I’ve encountered during my work at YouNow. Meet Sam Pepper.
who is sam?
Sam Pepper is a self-proclaimed “social media guru” who has found the recipe for producing content that gets people talking, sharing, and interacting. His technique is a combination of shock-factor, intimacy, and unpredictability.
There were two things about Sam that really caught my attention:
1. His ability to continually engage with his audience.
On his first time on YouNow, he brought 1000+ people, and has continued to be an advocate for the site, bringing new users virtually every time he comes on the site. (what users have dubbed “The Sam Pepper Effect.”)
Sam has found the balance of being cool enough to admire and follow, but also friendly and open enough for people to feel connected to him. He always has something new, exciting, controversial or crazy up his sleeve…
…like putting a condom on his head. and blowing it up until it explodes. Or this…
… see what I mean?
2. The power of his recommendations.
Whatever Sam likes, the people like.
An example of this is what I like to call the Kigu phenomenon. After a couple broadcasts on YouNow wearing a giraffe Kigu onesie, Sam Pepper had managed to influence other users to purchase their own onesies without even telling them to do so. Everyone was either wearing or wanting a Kigu within a week - it was that simple.
To discover the method to his madness in Sam’s own words, I asked him a few questions:
DD: How did you get started making YouTube videos? Did you begin before or after Big Brother?
SP: ever since i’ve been young i’ve loved photography and film making, also i’ve loved acting a bit of a tit on camera and i think this came from Jackass at around 13, this lead to me filming stupid videos on a old vhs video camera. time went on and started making more serous videos. documentaries, music videos etc, which i loved filming but they was never featuring me. after my stay in the house i thought it would be a perfect opportunity to start a youtube channel based more around me than other people and thus my youtube channel was born!
DD: Why do you think (in your words) that you are influential? Why do people listen to what you have to say?
SP: lol i really don’t know, sometimes i don’t even trust listening to myself :) i think what it is that alot of other people in the public eye like to butter coat things, or try to be a person who they think there fans want them to be. i’m just me and always will be, and the people that watch me can see this and i think they respect that.
DD: How do you come up with new ideas to engage with your audience?SP: i’ve always been a bit of an ideas man and i’m always thinking up the next idea, i think the more personal you can get the better. i like to do meet ups, i like to get them involved in my videos and i like to have convocations with them on facebook and twitter.
DD: From TV, you’ve catapulted yourself to prominence in social media. If I’m not mistaken, you’re also a graphic designer? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
SP: i hate the 5 year’s time question always makes me think i’m being interviewed, ohhhh wait…… but seriously i dont know whats happening tomorrow let alone in 5 years time! i like to live each day as it come. my end goal is to be able to make youtube my full time job, and maybe living in america making videos!
DD: What’s your secret sauce?
SP: just be who you are!
DD: Anything else we should know about Sam Pepper?
SP: nope thats about all
To educate yourself about Sam Pepper, check him on: