Influencer marketing is undoubtedly a powerful tool but has taken a strange path in recent years. In the beginning, it was all about the product and the story behind it, and now it’s more about fame and self-promotion. But before we jump into the cringe-fest, let’s take a step back and look at the historical events of influencer marketing.
Did you know that the first influencer from the modern days’ dates back to 1931? Can you guess who it is? Santa Claus from Coca-Cola, of course! Together with the magical Christmassy vibes, Santa became the face of Coca-Cola, leading to billions in revenue. And even before those ever so memorable ads came on TV, Influencer marketing goes back to the Roman Empire where they used mosaic billboards to promote gladiatorial games through famous gladiators who had a celebrity-like status. The gladiators even promoted wine, oil, and other products. Sounds familiar?
Fast forward 2000 years, Influencer marketing is still a thing and probably here to stay. With the rise of reality TV shows and social media, influencer marketing went a little bit crazy, making influencers out of people who came to fame thanks to drama and trivia. Take the Kardashians, for example.
In an ideal world, being an authentic influencer would be about creating an actual and purposeful impact. A real influencer would be a person who is an expert in a particular industry, gives genuine advice, shares helpful know-how, and honestly cares about their followers, always placing them first. It’s not that these types of influencers don’t exist. The problem is that they are rare and shadowed by all these fictitious influencers. It seems as though nowadays, anyone with a pretty face can be entitled to promote beauty products and give beauty tips. Still, we all know that most “influencers” do what they do for themselves, for free products, gaining followers, visibility, internet fame, a sense of self-worth, recognition, etc.
In relation to the problem, we felt the need to create a list containing the essential things you need to know about being an influencer or when searching for an influencer for your next campaign.
STICK TO A NICHE, DON’T PROMOTE EVERYTHING
How often have you seen a social media influencer promote several types of products that are not related? Let’s take a foodie influencer, for example. They promote restaurants that they believe make delicious, high-quality dishes and have excellent customer service. After some time, you see the same person promoting e-sports or cosmetics brands. Can you see the problem here?
People who dedicate their online content and promotion to a specific niche should hold on to that niche. When they start promoting other things that are so unrelated to that, they can be marked as phony because they are drifting away from their original purpose. The public gets the impression that the influencer has started to accept any partnership only to grow their visibility and stay relevant, which makes them lose trust in the person.
IF YOU DON’T LIKE A PRODUCT/SERVICE, BE HONEST WITH YOUR AUDIENCE
Another dealbreaker is lying about the product or service you are promoting. We have seen it many times, influencers talking about this amazing product that helped them lose weight or that life-changing experience they witnessed by using some app. After a short while, a different reality arises when the public tries it for themselves. Sometimes Influencers forget that public opinion is much stronger than their personal opinion. By being dishonest about a brand’s product quality, they are hurting both their reputation and dignity, not to mention they are leaving the brand vulnerable and open to more criticism.
An authentic influencer would try the product, and if they don’t like it, they would turn down the partnership, or even better, be honest with their followers and tell them the truth. Also, a smart influencer would speak to representatives of the brand and tell them what they need to do to improve their product. Giving honest feedback is where the influencing really happens.
MAKE THE STORY ABOUT THE CLIENT, NOT ABOUT YOURSELF
Another essential thing that influencers forget is to focus on the brand or product instead of themselves. If the purpose of the promotion is to be subtle, such as using a hair product in a “get ready with me” reel, then it’s perfectly okay to briefly mention what product you are using. But if the idea is to increase brand awareness, creating a story around the brand is the way to go.
A good example would be – “Hey guys, I am so excited to tell you about “brandnameXY”! They are a small but special business located in the heart of Skopje, and they have the most talented hard-working team that are open for business, so I’m taking you there today!” A bad example would be – “Hey guys, I just got up, had my coffee, did my skin routine and exercise, and was thinking about what to do cuz today I felt kinda bored, so I decided to go and try out “brandnameXY””. It’s a different vibe.
DON’T BUY FAKE LIKES OR FOLLOWERS
Okay, this one’s pretty obvious, but still… You’d be amazed at how much people do this, and not only influencers. If you want to look cheap, go ahead, buy followers, but if you want to be a true influencer, try organic growth, or sponsor your page. The truth is, the best companies will reach out to you when they see quality content, not thousands of followers. But if you are a company looking for influencers to collab with and are unsure whether the account statistics are legit, then do a quick check.
Simply go to the follower’s section of the influencer and scroll through. If the person purchased followers, it wouldn’t be hard to spot bot accounts with strange-looking usernames, no profile pictures, and zero posts. You can also do a follower/like ratio check by looking at the average amount of likes the influencer receives per post and then see whether the ratio is normal compared to the number of followers. For example, if the account has 100K followers, but the posts have only a few hundred likes, then the followers are most probably purchased. They might be able to trick some brands, but most will double-check before they “get in bed” with an influencer.
KEEP YOUR CONTENT SHORT AND CATCHY
First, let’s repeat our mantra: Content is KING! Thanks to the emergence of short video formats such as TikToks’, stories, reels, shorts, and whatnot, content creators and influencers can keep their sponsored content short and sweet. The famous quote by Bill Gates is even more relevant today, considering that if a brand wants to sell its products, they need to produce high-quality, relevant, catchy content. And sometimes, the brands leave the floor open to the influencers to do it for them, which is perfectly okay as long as they can develop valuable content and engage people.
Remember that you always need to mention when your content is sponsored, but still find a way to make it valuable to the viewers by trying to solve their problems via the product you are promoting. Another essential point for the brands looking for influencers is to think about who they’re trying to target, what type of audience they want to sell to, and who would be the best match to do it.
PUT YOUR INFLUENCE INTO A GOOD CAUSE
So, this one is for all the benevolent people out there. Content creators or brands who use their influence for a good cause are simply the best! But only if they do it purely from the heart, not to boost their publicity. And there is something about content that is driven by doing good… It’s contagious and expresses empathy, kindness, and willingness to act. Whether it’s about doing charity events for a vulnerable group of people or organizing a fundraiser for cleaning up waste, these actions create a positive online environment.
Next time you search for an influencer for your promotional activities, consider social responsibility and how your brand can contribute to solving problems or increasing public awareness about a specific issue. And imagine what would happen if all the social media trendsetters, leaders, motivators, fashionistas, podcasters, and celebrities put their influence to good, it could create such a disruptive movement that would change the internet world into a caring and vibrant place.
That’s all… For now. 😉
Until next time,
Peace and prosperity 🖖