“How are we going to tell people about us?” “An influencer.” “Brilliant!” And everybody around the boardroom table taps the social media yeoman on the back, his mate/client slaps his smart derriere. As he exits the room, he tweets to let his following know that he just had a Mad Men moment and that in two to four weeks, he will be celebrated for creating online conversation.
When did humanity reverse so quickly as to develop a world where creating conversation became a skill-set necessary to work?
I get very excited when a client talks to me about influencers when putting a thumb print down on a campaign. We sit around a table and digital namedrop until we come to the conclusion that a certain member of an internet dynasty is worthy of us giving them a little something-something so that they converse about the brand to their mass following, whilst conversing about the 90 other brands that had the same idea.
It’s a spray-paint approach to a something that needs finger painting. We need to drill down who the influencer is talking to and where the brand should be talked about, or you know, we could take a shotgun, aim it high into the air and just #Boom #Boom #Boom (one day I want to live in a world where certain hashtags would have the considerations of a death penalty).
Why aren’t brands creating the influence?
Surely a chocolate that has been giving people an extra hour a day for years would have more traction than a human with 4 324 people waiting to find out what joke they are going to refurbish next?
Ask your mate, a printer salesman, if he enjoys Spillly. I could assure you that he would find trouble giving you an answer as to who the hell that is, with a mouth full of a world colliding with chocolate and caramel, dreaming of how he is putting out a fire — in the extra hour he has been granted.
When we use an influencer to promote a campaign, and that campaign ends, the influencer walks out the door with a community created with the brand’s money, in a suitcase padded by the security of popularity.
What if we humanise the brands we represent and talk to people on the level they expect? If we use the influence created by years of above the line budget or if we pair brands with influencers with the correct audience?
It’s all about relevance.
I am by no means calling for the death of the influencer, nor am I telling you that using an influencer is as redundant as push-ups in Boksburg Lake. Just use the right influencer, with the right following. Your audiences should be shared, enjoyed even. Their influence should benefit the brand in such a way that the brand becomes the word of mouth benefactor.
A billboard didn’t ever get all the credit for the content it promoted.
Author | Dale Ferreira
Born barefoot in Boksburg and growing up in Welkom in the Free State, Dale has fought against all odds and managed to come out English. In 2011 he wanted to be involved in social media, and decided to reinvent and at 28 became the world’s oldest intern.... More