My doctoral project researched how a Christian student organization could use social media to create online relationships with incoming freshmen students at Texas A&M with the intent of then developing real life connections when they arrived on campus. One of the first steps was a year-long development of social media relationships with a large number of official university, sports, and student organization accounts. These were the official influencers.
As a part of the project, I discovered many unofficial influencers. At the time a Twitter account seemed to exist for every sports venue, statue, and fountain on campus. Someone would be tweeting as “Kyle Field,” “Fish Pond,” “Sully,” and all the other well-known campus landmarks. These unofficial influencers were very interactive in helping to create the idea of what it meant to be a student at Texas A&M. Developing an online relationship with these unofficial influencers opened up new areas for my research.
Social media relationships with official influencers are important, but often it is the relationships one develops with unofficial influencers that will provide the most interactions with those you are trying to reach. Their re-tweets, shares, and re-posts often add a validity to those you are trying to engage. Interactions with these accounts expand your conversations. Who are the unofficial influencers to the people you are trying to reach? Who are they following outside official social media accounts (city, school, community, local business, etc.)? Can they lead you to other unofficial influencers?
Spend time developing relationships with the unofficial influencers in your community, and your own social media influence will grow.