Influencer marketing is currently extremely popular with brands and marketing agencies. All the studies show that the vast majority of enterprises and organizations plan to increase their marketing budget and use influencers. For professional industry consultants who have, over the years, built their credibility and have become leaders in their sector, this should be great news. Not all news is good, however, especially in the case of the emergence of the “wannabe influencers.”
However, ¨wannabe influencers¨ are causing considerable harm to the profession by selling the illusion. This new type of influencer emerges from sharing platforms and has become the self-proclaimed marketing experts on social networks because they have found THE miracle potion, the shortcut that will lead to success. Entrepreneurs and organizational leaders will now have to be wary of these new gurus; with social media shortcuts simply do not exist.
Distinguish between direct sales targets or notoriety
In 2016, companies, organizations, and brands have to distinguish between notoriety and commitment when it comes to developing a marketing strategy with influencers. Popularity on The Web and social media is easy to come by, while influence and confidence are earned.
Today, prosumers (connected consumers) aren’t distracted by intrusive advertisements and get real information before making an actual purchase. Before, a company just had to appear in the media with an attractive ad to get quantifiable results. In 2016, consumers prefer P2P recommendations and word-of-mouth. The trend in sales is connected or social selling.
According to that only aims to increase traffic to our site or our social platforms, or direct sales, or sought to gain notoriety among users, it will then identify the right type of influencer and avoid falling into the trap of the illusion of the majority too easily offer the influenceratis.
Separate the wheat from the chaff
It’s still challenging for brands and organizations to identify the type of influencer that best meet its objectives. The influencer’s reach across social networks must be analyzed. Companies must measure the amplification of the message and validate the relevance of the message in terms of actions and content in the context of the campaign. The company or organization must ensure from the outset that the influencer will convey the vision and brand.
On one side there are the macro influencers, with a broad audience and whose influence is mainly based on their popularity. They will endorse a product or place a product in return for sponsorship. They serve as a platform billboard. This includes celebrities, sports, music, comedy, film, television, and media stars, who often earn millions in this way. And, unless you sign a long-term contract, the relationship will only last the length of the sponsorship. It’s a ¨one-night stand¨ and that’s all.
On the other side, there are micro-influencers, who don’t have such a large pool of readers, but whose readers are much more loyal. These are thought leaders, including experts in their field, who engage in longer-term relationships, based on trust, if they endorse a product or brand. We also find employee ambassadors and satisfied customers who will not hesitate to spontaneously recommend a product or service to their communities.
Why you should be wary of the illusion of wannabe influencers
In between are semi-professional bloggers and stars of platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat. Among them emerge the wannabe influencers, taking advantage of their sudden popularity, to any way possible monetize their work with businesses. They often cause more damage than good.
Among all the mommy bloggers (more than 4 million just in the US), other blogger niches (fashion, home, finances, lifestyles, etc.), and new site stars earning an honorable life by endorsing products or services with honesty and transparency, unfortunately, are the wannabe influencers.
With them, it’s the illusion of the majority that counts, as suggested Kristina Lerman (University of Southern California), in his study: The Social Network That Illusion Tricks Your Mind. This phenomenon is explained by the fact that the majority of Web and social media users will follow a trend for fear of missing an important event (Fear Of Missing Out). As soon as the wannabe influencers launch a message on social networks, it’s automatically relayed by their many fans, creating an illusion of the majority. For a short time, it creates a buzz on the networks as it creates real conversions.
The wannabe influencers are the new charlatans of the Wild West
Like the charlatans plying the roads of the Old West US to sell “miracle” products, the wannabe influencers often broadcast rumor and illusion. They play on the visibility that brought them many subscribers and take advantage of companies happy to find an easy solution to their problem.
The problem with wannabe influencers is that most of the time their popularity is artificial and based on unfair tactics (if not illegal, now that governments are beginning to tighten the screws) like buying fans and false recommendations. Fraudulent advertising has become a huge crime issue, 2nd only to drug trafficking, according to an article in Adweek, Ad fraud could become the second biggest organized crime enterprise behind the drug trade.
To increase their audience, they do not hesitate buy fans on Instagram or Snapchat and rely on ¨astroturfing¨ to monetize their intrusions. More than 2 out of 3 users still believe the recommendations on social networks. If these recommendations are rigged and invented, if affiliations and sponsorships are disguised then its like lying to all these people. This is the issue. Fortunately, in the US, since the new amendments voted by the FTC last December, these tactics are illegal. In most other G8 countries, the government wants to emulate the US and regulate this sector as soon as possible. Fortunately, because otherwise we will quickly return to the stone age of marketing.
What do you think? Share your opinion, and discuss this article. Do you think the ¨wannabe influencers¨ offering shortcuts to success provide valid solutions or are they charlatans?