Influencer Marketing

Nowadays 84% of the marketing plans contemplate some sort of influential marketing (1) Lately when we talk about influencers and marketing we immediately think of digital influencers, the ones on social media (You tubers and Instagramers) who talk about our products, maybe because we give them our products – unpaid influencers- or-because we pay them directly to do it -paid influencers-. If we think of “old school” PR the thing works more or less the same. But these are not the only (nor the most effective) means of influencer marketing.

In the unpaid influencer’s case it is clearly a problem to depend on them doing what the brand expects…and in that of the paid influencers as well, because even though you pay them, they are not always going to do what you recommend them to do because a) their priorities are not your marketing objectives and/or b) they don´t feel comfortable with it..

Up to now the simplest operation has been to identify an influencer (the closest thing to a new celebrity) and ask them to somehow “talk about you”. But in this case the problem lies in the lack of authenticity. As the audience who watched Mad Men now see the strings that move television campaigns, those same people are realizing that these influencers are paid to speak about certain products. And oh surprise, if the influencers got to where they are because they generate trust and create authentic content….then everything turns out to be a contradiction. In other words the marketing machinery is obvious.

Socially we will always value the opinion of someone else more because we build ourselves through the eyes of others, which works as a mirror/thermometer to tell us whether what we are doing is wrong or not. But we have to take into account that these opinions of friends, relatives, acquaintances or even experts in real life are authentic. They are organic recommendations, unforced and more honest.

We see three ways to replicate something similar in marketing:

  • Create opportunities so that the influencers will really want to influence (2). In other words it will be unavoidable not to; they will even be eager to post that photo or talk about that experience with their followers … or with their acquaintances at a dinner. Sometimes we forget that influencers are people and they are impressionable too. If we continue to make the same boring events or packages, the truth is that they won´t be very keen to talk about that.
  • Another way is to look for “micro-influencers” (3). Not the you tuber with millions of views, but for people who you believe will potentially defend your cause, will assemble your product or service and invite them IF and ONLY IF they believe in it. Potentially, you won´t reach millions and it will be a niche strategy but that endorsement will feel more authentic and each influenced person will really count; it won´t be “straw” in your results (oh, and of course those celebrities won´t be bombarded by 2,500 brands inviting them to their campaigns).
  • Nowadays there are brands that do this and we don´t realize it; I could give you an example, but my confidentiality clause doesn´t allow me to, so … think about those brands that don´t invest in advertising or billboards but for some reason they are very present. Lately they are talked about, they appear in digital media notes as members of the “top ten, , people tweet about them as part of their daily routine and basically they have been able to build a role within our daily routine. The accomplishment has been the achievement of that more “concealed” presence.

Obviously in a world in which 33% trust in brands and 90% trust in recommendations (2), influencer marketing is not something we can ignore, but we have to think twice before replicating the old marketing habits and rather move closer towards mechanisms that have worked for centuries in everyday social interactions.  We want you to inspire us.

What has worked for you?