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The real cost of Influencer Marketing

By Coaching Entrepreneur Social Media Twitter

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 intheir 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.


Relationships are reality for Influencers

By Business Coaching Mentoring Social Media Twitter No Comments

spillly influencer marketing

Before web 2.0 and the rise of social media, influence was exclusive to a privileged few who held unrivalled sway over public opinion. Today, individuals on social media get to pick and choose who and what they listen to and those who once had little chance of being heard can now broadcast their messages across the world.

Influencers are now niche promoters and brand advocates that are active on social media sites and blogs and brands are now naturally hungry to take advantage of this phenomenon. Brands will seek to turn that influence into a marketing opportunity but aren’t always sure how best to go about this.

An influencer is the mutual friend connecting your brand with your target consumers. For influence to take place, the influencer needs to behave authentically and when communicating about or on behalf of a brand. The balance between being seen as an online billboard and someone that is being paid to recommend a product in a credible way is often misunderstood and the value in using influence marketing lost.

There are five key understandings that allow you to define what the right influencer looks like for your brand:

  1. Context:

An influencer differs for every brand because, first and foremost, they are a contextual fit. This is the most important characteristic when targeting the right influencers for your brand. The example I always use is that Justin Bieber can’t sell insurance without looking like a fraud to his followers because they are teenager girls who aren’t interested in that.

  1. Reach:

Defined as the size of the audience or the number of followers the influencer has on a particular platform. Influence describes the ability to affect action from within that audience. When Reach and Context work together, you have success.

  1. Actionability:

This is the influencer’s ability to cause action by their audience. This characteristic comes naturally when you target individuals that are in contextual alignment with your brand and have a far enough reach.

  1. An “opt-in” network:

Influencers don’t force themselves upon an audience as their followers choose to follow them on particular channels like Twitter or a blog. Thus, their audience is engaged and is there to hear about the topic being discussed. This is why the need for a contextual fit is so important.

  1. Engagement:

Positive engagement is a great indicator that the content is interesting to their audience. This means that something about their content is evoking a reaction and that there is the potential for an action to occur.

Once you understand these, the next step is giving your influencer an image you can best match real influnecers to. Decide on what type of personality you require and if you need an activist, an informer or an authority to best promote your campaign or product. Next pick a genre. Examples include technology, fashion, travel and marketing. Niche this genre further into LSM, geographical position and age group.

Pick a topic that your ideal influencer sometimes talks about on social media or their blog and decide what type of reach and actions you will require from the influencer. Do you want likes, follows, engagement or visual content creation? Always ensure that the influencer is aware of your primary audience and your campaign objectives from the start, giving you the best chance of success.

Always remember that reach is vanity, engagement is sanity and relationships are reality.


<This post was originally written for Digitlab and can be viewed here>

A late bloomer digital native with a passion for education. | Ryan Sauer #Proudprofile

By Business Coaching Motivation Social Media Twitter No Comments

ryan sauer

Ryan Sauer loves to be the center of attention, its half the reason he loves lecturing so much. Ryan is called “Sourz” by his close friends from the late 90’s and “Ryan” by everyone else that met him post Y2K.

The strange thing is Ryan grew up with little to no technology in his life, his parents were so slow on the digital revolution that Ryan went from Betamax to DVD, never knowing the true joy of VHS.

So how does a boy born technologically challenged, grown into a man worthy of lecturing Marketing masters students at Wits Business School? Beats us.

Ryan loves digital marketing like fat kids like candy.

In 2009 he decided at the age of 22 with his vast expanse of wisdom in industrial psychology and HR management to open a digital consulting agency in JHB (bright idea) and has grown his operation from 2 clients barely spending enough to buy a bag of chappies, to over 74 clients spending just enough to buy 2 bags of chappies.

Ryan’s agency specializes in customized digital solutions that generate results for their clients with a measurable ROI.

Some of the services Ryan offers include:

  • Website design and development (baai Mooi!)
  • Search Engine optimisation
  • Paid advertising
  • Social media management and campaigns
  • Email marketing
  • Customer retention management software
  • Powerful reporting tools

We also specialize in:

  • Audits
  • Research studies
  • Consulting
  • Training
  • Pure reporting


So if you need an agency that is small, agile and has moderately attractive people you don’t mind meeting with, give us a shout.




Email :

3rd floor 5 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg.

Twitter @searchoc

Facebook SOC



The importance of storytelling and authentic leadership by Kevin Welman

By Business Coaching Mentoring Motivation Public Speaking Social Media Twitter No Comments

Kevin’s presentation was entitled ‘Importance of storytelling and authentic leadership’ and covered the importance of good storytelling in your business and the duties that MD’s and business owners have to become authentic story tellers.

Check out the full presentation here:


The overriding theme that Kevin shared was as follows:

  1. Be as you wish to be seen and be authentic
  2. Be available and have an opinion
  3. Your reputation is all you have

Mr Nic Haralambous Founder of speaks!

By Business Coaching Mentoring Motivation Public Speaking Social Media Twitter No Comments

Nicholas Haralambous is the founder of the online fashion company,

Nic was the CEO and co-founder of Motribe, the mobile community platform, before the company was successfully acquired by the social network, Mxit in October, 2012. He also founded ForeFront Africa consulting firm before selling that business to Imperial Holdings.

He was selected as one of the 200 young South Africans to take to lunch by the Mail&Guardian, featured on GQ’s list of top 30 men in media and was also a finalist in the Men’s Health Best Men Awards. The company he co-founded, Motribe, was named by Forbes as one of the top 20 startups in Africa.

His career included roles at the Sunday Times, Financial Mail, 702, Mail & Guardian as well as Vodacom SA.



Shot entirely on iPhones, this is H U N G R Y L O V E , by Nechama Brodie.

By Motor Bikes Music Social Media Twitter No Comments

I’m so proud to be a small contributor  to this amazing piece of music and video. I drove around Joburg on my Vespa with one hand taking some car shots.  “Danger” is my middle name.

Shot on iPhones around the Joburg inner city and Braamfontein, its yet another reminder of our love of Jozi.

Follow my lovely Bitches, Nechama Brodie & Nadine Hutton on Twitter and the interwebs now.

Listen to the track on soundcloud here

I love you ladies long time. Thanks for opportunity.




Twitter gave me a black-eye.

By Photography Social Media Twitter No Comments

The Reason why I love Twitter #27

I get to meet the coolest people in Real Life (RL) and participate in radical art projects like the #TwitterattiPrjkt currently in process. Its being shot by Fiko fotography and is staring 20 local folks who may not be Celebutards in their own right, but are significant in the local twitter streams.

The Image below is a rough unedited “outake” and wont be featured in the final works.

Thanks For the black-eye & Laughs, Fiko!



Why Social Media is more powerful than a Toaster.

By Motor Bikes Social Media Twitter No Comments


I like Toast. I like toast a Lot. I can’t function without a slice of toast first thing in the morning. Every morning I make toast. I have owned toasters before but I longed for a particular toaster. A classic toaster.

For this reason, last year June I bought the “Rolls Royce” of toasters. This Toaster is the envy of every toast lover in the world. Now I wasn’t prepared to spend the R 8,500 for a new toaster, but the retailer who stocked the brand, had a second hand toaster in stock that had made just over a month’s worth of mornings toast. I like to think that it made about 30 slices of toast. The price for this sought after, second hand toaster was R 6700. After much deliberation and discussion with friends & family, I decided that I was going to buy this toaster as it would last the rest of my life and always be seen as a collector’s item, of sorts.

The retailer also made the following claims about the kind of service it would provide for this Toaster: The salesman, who I shall name Atum, made it clear that should the toaster break down, that a replacement toaster from the same range would be given to me while my toaster was repaired. This service would be immediate and available 24-7. He also said my toaster would be sent to Cape Town, at the retailer’s expense, over the December period, while I went on holiday so I would not be without my beloved toaster. I loved the idea of this & I bragged to my friends and social networks about this amazing service.

I took delivery of my toaster with pride. I took pictures of my toaster on Instagram and talked about it all over Twitter and Facebook. I became a brand advocate and “sold” the toaster to everyone I met. I loved it. I mocked everyone who had a cheap ‘n nasty toaster. It changed my life, until it broke down while I was making breakfast one Sunday for all my friends. It just died in a puff of smoke and I just died of embarrassment.

I called Atum who originally sold me the toaster just a few short weeks earlier. Over the phone he asked me a few diagnostic questions about the toaster and together we managed to quick-fix the toaster. A simple wire had come out. I managed to make a few more pieces of toast for my friends who were now jesting and laughing at me.

Not 2 weeks later and a similar incident happened, while I was about to make myself some peanut butter on toast, for dinner. This time I couldn’t fix it myself so again I called Atum, who promptly came out and managed to fix the toaster as a small pipe had come loose. Panic avoided.

Over the next 2 months, my toaster broke down three times more. I was starting to get fed up with the fact that whenever I needed a piece of toast, I couldn’t make it. The toaster went in for repairs on each occasion and after many apologies from the factory and store, the problems continued. Not once was I given a replacement toaster while my baby was in for repairs.

Over the past 14 months my toaster has gone in for replacement parts and non scheduled services about 8 times and has been looked at by their on-site repair people as many times. The service guys now have my number on their cell phones and now answer “Don’t tell me… I can’t believe it!”

The Toaster has now made more slices of delicious toast than my original warranty will cover and I’m now being charged for call outs every time I have an issue. I have been left with spare parts and fuses to fix my baby every time it dies. I’m scared to make toast cause I don’t want it to die again and cause me stress & frustration. I love how my toaster looks sitting in my kitchen but I’m now using my oven to make toast, the old fashioned way.

To make matters worse, a friend of mine has now shown me where certain parts of the toaster have been re-sprayed indicating that the toaster may have been badly damaged before I bought it. This was not indicated to me when I bought it.

Those of you that know me know that the only thing I love more than toast is social media. To my joy the supplier and local re-seller of these toasters have now joined Twitter. Even more exciting is the fact they are paying an external company to handle their social media needs. Now in a perfect world these suppliers would take back the toaster & refund me in full, or at least a fair discount on my price paid and all would be forgotten. I would buy another toaster and leave them in peace.

But this isn’t a perfect world and I am no Twitter Troll, I’m absolutely toying with the idea of intercepting every single tweet that this brand makes to a potential client and directing them to this blog post. Hopefully the money they spend on social media for a period of time will be well wasted and a little bit of financial justice will be had and karma will be restored.

Maybe the brand will realize that new media is not old media and customer complaints can’t just be swept under the carpet as done previously. If you want control of your brand on social media you need to have a rounded customer service experience in real life. So the cost of buying back my beloved toaster will now be traded with cost of running the social media account in vain and perhaps a few lost sales of potentially new clients.

I am so disappointed that these retailers have taken something that I loved and destroyed it for me. I also hope they realise they have taken a real brand ambassador of theirs and pushed me to an opposing brand.

Are you listening @Vespa_ZA ?




Spilllage presentation to SuperSport, 22 Aug 2012

By Motivation Public Speaking Social Media Twitter No Comments

Thanks to Jamie Frank & Clinton van der Berg and the team at SuperSportTV for an awesome opportunity to share my marketing experiences and Twitter lifestyle with you and your people. Its was a Joy to collaborate with Roy Blumenthal on this gig too.

Here are some of the images form the mornings talk.