Unless you live under a rock, you’ve heard of the term influencer!
A person who has influence over those around them.
For some reason, the marketing industry would like you think that this is a new trend.
However, this concept is not new at all.
In fact, it takes us back to early communication theory.
There are nodes within communication networks. These nodes (people/brands) serves as hubs. They're points of intersection. The relationships they help shape and connect are indicative of the level influence they have. The stronger the node, the quicker their messages diffuse to a larger audience.
A couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Elihu Katz a renowned sociologist and communications expert, whose work transformed the way we think about mass communication. His theory - the two-step flow of communication- changed the field. It laid the groundwork for today's marketing, branding, digital communication and so forth.
It changed how perceived influence and opinion leaders.
So, now that we've discussed the basis of influencer marketing,
let's imagine what it looks like today:
“Hey Nancy, you see them kids on the Instagram?
They’re too 'dope' to listen to us."
"Well, Herbet, why don’t we reach out to @InstaQueenYaaas and have her pose with our waist trainer?"
Of course, it's not that simple, but if it's done correctly it works. In fact, it works really well. Plus, the advent of social media has made influencer marketing more attractive, accessible and effective.
So, what's the issue?
The problem is that somewhere along the way the term influencer became
more about status than about actual impact.
The title of influencer is no longer given, it's often self-determined.
It's no longer about added value and effect, but about rapid growth, large followings and fame.
Influencers nowadays go to great lengths to achieve those things.
In an effort to make their growth and influence appear organic, they lie.
Here 4 things they’ll deny,
but we all know they do.
(Plus, what the issue is for each, so you can avoid falling for it!)
1. Numbers matter.
“Quality over quantity. Yes!”
Um, actually, no.
You just followed 10,000 people and then, the next day, unfollowed 9,992.
Psychologically, it’s a form of self-validation, I guess.
Brands often use numbers to gage influence.
They think a higher follower count will result in more exposure, engagement, sales, etc. They fall for vanity metrics. The bigger the numbers, the better the ROI. Lies.
2. Buying followers.
“I’d never buy followers. I mean, robots? For 5 bucks? Gross.”
(No name dropping ‘cause I like to spill tea, but I ain’t about spill the whole darn kettle)
I had someone on Twitter send me a message asking what I thought about his engagement numbers. Oh the bragging!
He had a little following, but 500+ likes per post. No comments and no conversations. His "followers" had stock photos as their main images and only slight differences in their bios.
So, yeah his numbers were bigger, but his wallet was smaller.
Fake followers won’t do anything for you.
They won’t engage back, they won’t RT your post, click on your CTA, purchase your product, love you forever.
That "influencer" is essentially only influencing themselves!
3. Self-proclaimed Guru
“I am marketing guru, a SEO ninja, a branding maven, a business expert and leadership connoisseur.”
(Small print: my mom said so!)
Your level of influence and the value you put out is largely decided by your audience, not you.
While, the influencer might claim to have the necessary insight to bring value to your partnership, you always have to do your homework and double check.
Who vouches for them?
What supports their claims?
“Who does that? You can’t automate. You have to keep it REAL. #Duh."
@InstaQueenYaaas tweeted at:
All tweets read: “Thanks for being my most engaged follower this week.”
More tweets does not equal more value.
Tweeting out spam often results in your target tuning you out.
It shows that you have little interest in their needs. It lacks authenticity, something necessary to build trust and repeat engagement.