The real cost of Influencer Marketing
Having received more than my fair share of branded disposable pens and matching lanyards over the years, I feel its my duty to inform brands and agencies to stop trying to buy my loyalty with cheap plastic gifts and branded promo-gear.
My loyalty should be curated, nurtured and rewarded.
Let’s be honest, you are looking to use me as another marketing channel and hoping that my mid level influence can help grow your brand or deliver your campaign objectives. It can, but only as long as I already believe in your purpose and buy into your marketing message and most importantly, love your product.
Influencer marketing is a very smart way of using a third parties voice to authentically portray your brand in a way that would only seems paid for and fake, if it were coming directly from the brand. Influencer marketing has been around before the dawn of social media, before the web and before traditional marketing was even dreamt up. Storekeepers would ask patrons to spread the word, and if the customer had a good experience, would do just that. Nothing has changed except the medium on which we spread the word.
I understand what you, the marketer, want to use me for and feel that I should be fairly rewarded for my part in your process. It is paid-for media and the reward should be cash.
My voice to my followers is far more powerful than any other medium you have in your vast arsenal of marketing channels. The consumer of today no longer believes your polished message and scripted values. The consumer of today wants to hear an honest message, one that is unique to the influencer but the truth no less. Consumers want someone that will answer the questions asked, with deep insight into the product and will kill for the brand if he is truly an ambassador.
Would you rather have a message being broadcast to thousands of people that don’t necessarily care or a conversation between an ambassador and a few real potential clients of the brand, who will most likely spend money with you? Influencers who believe in the brand will not only drive awareness but will drive an action that is valuable to the brand.
Involved affiliate marketing has proven to be hugely successful in industries like travel, fashion and restaurants. This is because people will trust the voice of a virtual stranger over the “your call is important to us” tone of taglines. Influencers have taken the time, often over years, to build credibility with their audience and have their own authentic voice and tone, which resonates with their own audience.
Influencer’s audiences are often incredibly niche. Understanding whom their audience is absolutely key to using an influencer to sell the right product to their niche audience. My personal online audience has evolved drastically from a comedic one to an entrepreneurial business base in the creative and tech industries. You can’t expect me to promote food brands or fashion, as my listeners know that this is not what I talk about and it won’t appear credible. I have taken years to have the right followers for my brand, my business and my messages, and if you want to gain access to this market and put my own credibility at risk, then you should pay for the privilege. If you are financially compensating someone then you also get the right to guide the conversation towards your own goals and expect certain clear deliverables to be executed by the influencer, in the influencers own unique tone and fashion. Giving the influencer the freedom to express your message in their incomparable voice will deliver the greatest results for your business.
You want your influencer to feel rewarded, acknowledged, loved, important, or any combination of those and ensure that they are partners in your communication strategy.
<this post was originally written for Webfluential and can be viewed here>