Influencer, the new magic word in Digital Marketing, and especially in the retail/lifestyle industries. If until recently, many brands did not have a clear idea on their Social Media Strategy, now they are talking about Influencer Strategy and outsourcing Influencer Marketing.
What is an influencer?
It is a person who has certain credibility on a certain topic and whose social media following makes him a potential prescriber for a brand or product.
Is this how influencers identify themselves?
Unfortunately, the influencer boom, caused youngsters to associate “influence” with numbers. Number of followers, number of Likes, number of comments… Does having many followers mean that you are an influencer? Not at all.
The rise of buying likes
It is a well known fact that most of the Instagram stars, that are not famous outside the network, at some point used one of these follower and Likes sellers. Nothing to be worried about, if after, the person works hard and gives the channel a true personality, getting true fans eventually. Nevertheless, that is not the case lately. Boys and girls in their teen years or early 20s have 50K or 100K followers on Instagram without any relevant bio, besides posing not too naturally in front of the lenses of semi professional photographers. They contact brands and hope for free nights at boutique hotels, free clothes, free food… And yes, many brands, pressured by the need to “do something with influencers” do end up giving them that. Hoping to get followers, likes, sales…
Social Media is a revolution in society. It has established the era of ego. It created community and support, but it also created Narcisses. Anyone can be a model, anyone can be famous. It would be difficult to go back to exclusive celebrities. The copy paste influencers, the ones who buy likes and want free things, will disappear though. Companies do know when the collabs are not worth it. Everything is measurable. Is it worth it to give away clothes worth 500 Euros, creams worth 200, or a trip for 1000, if after a few posts, the new followers are 20 or 50, the sales are 0? It is true that awareness is equally important and it sooner or later transforms into sales, but a minimum ROI is a must.
Filter, filter and filter. If you represent a relatively big brand and have started your collabs here and there, you must be getting overwhelmed with emails and DMs. How to choose whom to work with?
- Use fake follower scan tools
- Choose personality. It is difficult sometimes to make a difference between one social media account and another. Same filters, same poses. Go for the fresh and creative.
- Choose influencers who do not live of their (supposed) influencer status. The best ones are those who use social media as something complimentary to their profession. And they do not need to be celebrities. From an aspiring singer to a fitness instructor.