Freebies and Influencers: What’s The Right Formula?

The recent fire blasted at social media influencer, Elle Darby and the following support garnered by Paul Stenson, the owner of The White Moose Hotel, has been the talk of the town (actually, practically all towns). From Business Insider to The Independent, everybody is giving their two-cents’ worth, so allow me to share some insights too.

Elle Darby [see Elle’s stats on Popular Chips] and White Moose Cafe [see The White Moose Cafe’s stats on Popular Chips]

According to Forbes contributor Tom Ward, “Influencer marketing is in every trend list in 2017 and will continue to be a focus of smart marketers in 2018… There will more influencers used in every company’s basic marketing strategy. More and more people are learning the power that influencers have. I believe that it will be rare for any brand to launch a campaign that doesn’t involve at least one social media influencer.

So if influencer marketing is such a powerful and irresistible tool, why do some people have so much resistance towards influencers?

Problem #1: Insufficient information on the influencers leads to mistrust

The influencer marketing revolution impacted all industries and companies, big and small. Hardly do we find a business that does not make use of influencer marketing these days. And yet, there are no guidelines as to how to work with these influencers. Many have made the inevitable criticism that influencers are asking for too much. Furthermore, when probed, nobody in the industry appears to have a dependable tool with which to answer questions crucial to the success of any marketing strategy such as the following:

  1. Are the influencers whom I want to collaborate with worth hiring?
  2. How reliable are they in reaching out to my brand’s desired market segments?
  3. How much should I pay if I were to hire them?
  4. How do I know if my campaigns with them are successful and is worth every single cent I am spending on them?

With all these questions left unanswered, it is not surprising that many brands have put up a defensive wall towards influencer marketing, especially if they have paid too much for collaborations that did not achieve ideal results.

Solution #1: Advanced measuring tools to prevent over-paying and help brands regain trust in influencer marketing

However, brands still have to acknowledge the importance of influencer marketing should they want to stay relevant in this digitalized world. Luckily for them, as technology advances and artificial intelligence progresses, advanced tools have become available to cater to this niche area of marketing.

In order to answer the questions stated above, the creators of such tools have made several pieces of information available such as the demographics of the influencers’ followers, the engagement rate of the influencers with their fans and the percentage of inactive followers each influencer has. With such real data and useful information, hiring influencers to promote one’s brand will definitely be a simpler and more transparent process.

Problem #2: Not acknowledging “influencer” as a real job

Brands and companies are contacted by thousands of influencers daily, with requests ranging from free accommodation to royal treatment of all sorts. The recent outrage with Elle Darby sparked conversations about how “self-entitled” influencer should respect the hard work and labour of “real working people” and get a “real job” in order to enjoy such benefits.

With many influencers depicting a luxurious life, appearing to always be on vacation and looking so flawlessly beautiful all day long, many comment that they are just fortunate to land up where they are. Some even go as far to say that they should be ashamed to call “influencer” a job.

Solution #2: Redefining the relationship between “influencer” and “job”

While some understand that being an influencer constitutes a “real job” (a job is defined as a paid position of regular employment) as they are paid content creators/writers/photographers (or all in one!), those who still do not may need to keep an open mind and realize that these influencers often contribute greatly to the changing dynamic and nature of marketing in present society.

It may be difficult for some to imagine that this job, which appears so superficially easy, may not be that easy after all. Not all who take photos are called photographers, not all who write are called writers, not all who pose are called models. Similarly, an influencer is labeled an influencer only when they are able to produce content that is capable of creating impact among their viewers, delivering far beyond the standards of the average content creator. In such cases, the influencer’s request for certain benefits is can actually be seen as equivalent to the cold calls or e-mails made by salespeople trying to promote their product.

Many influencers have spent long hours perfecting the content that you see on their social media pages, going great lengths to achieve the following and engagement that they have attained. It is also an encouraging sign to see that many influencers have made good use of their social impact to motivate their fans towards charitable causes or fitness regimes.

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Kevin Cosmo

Adam Braun

The marketing and advertising landscape has morphed to include influencer marketing as one of its key components and “influencer” as a profession is thus something that has been created out of demand. As with all other professions, influencers are paid in return for their hard work. In the same way that we follow the celebrities we love because they do their job (entertain) well, we should also give credit to those who create beautiful and creative marketing content as these people are doing their job well.

So… YES THEY ARE ELIGIBLE (NOT self-entitled)!

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Asiyami Gold [see Asiyami’s stats on Popular Chips]

While influencer marketing may not be suitable for every business, it is definitely here to stay as it becomes more useful and relevant to the marketing industry. This is not to say that bad behaviour by influencers should be excused–we should always advocate that influencers remain honest, polite and authentic when they collaborate with other companies, big or small. It is also part of professional practice that influencers accept all constructive feedback given and remember that as public figures, all eyes (companies, media and fans!) are on them, so they should constantly improve themselves to bring others a better impression of the influencer marketing industry.

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