Influencer Marketing Moving to The Non-sense

Influencer Marketing Moving to The Non-sense
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You can sweep anything under the rug for a while, the only problem is that one day the dust will explode and kill you. That’s the current situation with influencer marketing. I spoke recently with Reed Berglund, CEO of Fullbottle, a platform that crowdsources content for brands, about where things are getting out of control. “We all grew up, and we should have an honest conversation about what is happening in the industry. We are moving toward the non-sense.” And I completely agree. An honest conversation can totally change the way you see this industry – so buckle up because it’s time to get your 360-degree experience.

The issue, as Reed sees it, is that “anyone can reach out to a team of influencers, then represent the market and connect them.” This process is destroying the industry. How can someone who is not an expert on the topic, and who has never been an influencer or built a personal brand have a company designed to connect influencers and brands? Clearly, this is where the non-sense starts to kick in.

There is good news though. To quote Reed, “the market corrects itself.” And this is true when it comes to influencers too. Many of them may have 50,000 followers today, but where will these young talents be tomorrow? Maybe nowhere. Being an influencer cannot be permanent. You can easily find examples of influencers who started out blogging and eventually expanded their personal brand – creating a clothing line, for example. “Brands are aware of this, we work with someone today, and they can be irrelevant in 6 months.“ As harsh as it sounds, it’s true. But what’s left after a collaboration? When I ask Reed, he says, “The focus is on the content. Just remove the name or the personality, and you still have content.“

Influencers are not supported by a team, like say, Oprah. Even though Oprah ended her show, there’s no finale for her, because she has stuck around and is still relevant as ever. That’s not the same with influencers. In the beginning they don’t have teams around them, they do everything alone. This lifestyle can sometimes be lonely, and most of these people often feel isolated, and some of them burn themselves out. If they don’t go out and meet friends with similar interests, they can slow their speed of growth, and even damage the market.

That’s how I get to another problem with the current influencer landscape, which is that most bloggers have no idea how much they’re worth. The most frustrating thing when I work with an influencer who has 50k active fans on Facebook with an amazing reach, is when I ask her how much her sponsors pay and she says she only gets product – while sometimes bloggers with the same number of followers tell me they charge thousands for one Instagram post.

Just think about it: if a brand spends 2,000 dollars on a post, and this collaboration is direct, there’s no agency or influencer platform involved, why would the influencer use a platform like Fullbottle? This old, agency way of creating collaborations is destroying the whole influencer market, because as Reed says “you think you’re worth X, but the market may think you’re actually worth 30% less than you are charging.” Fullbottle flips this old model on it’s head by letting the market dictate a fair price for a deal, where the brand pays for engagement.

“Influencers don’t care, they just want to work. There’s no loyalty out there, and that’s the problem. How will you lock them in? Our approach has been this: there are so many influencers, don’t worry about it. Who cares. Truly. I’ve seen a thousand different musicians, fashion bloggers, they all sound the same, most of them already disappeared, or will disappear by tomorrow.” – weird to read this, right? But try to work with them, and you will understand this approach too. Of course, if you have an influencer management agency, your main priority will be the influencer, but we are talking about a platform that gives you the opportunity to connect brands and influencers.

“Worry about who will engage with the content, then just produce content.” – says Reed. Meanwhile I can only think about one thing: influencers ruined influencer marketing a bit, and it’s really time to correct it. Pay-per-engagement is a good option and alternative for all of those brands, who want to see the numbers and get quality content without risking anything. “This whole situation challenges the market. Our goal is to keep everything under control. We look at influencers like they are the killer of the search, replacing Google.”

Millennials decide what to buy based on the people they follow. And what if you spend all the money you would spend on traditional marketing (billboards, magazine or tv ads) and instead use influencers all over the world? “At a flip of a switch you can have people producing content for you in any language, across cities like Miami, L.A., Shanghai, and now your brand is everywhere. That’s our vision.“

In my opinion the biggest problem is still the fact that most of these influencers are all the same. They don’t even try to be unique, because the market allows so many fast tracks to success, that for you to grow it’s enough to copy existing models, and you can get your paid deals. It’s sad, but the good news is that brands increasingly are aware of that, and there are many cases when they will demand more from influencers they work with.

So, if you want to say goodbye to the dust under the rug, don’t act like it’s not there. For all the influencers out there: focus more on storytelling, share your unique story, try to find what makes you different, instead of being one in a million. Sure, it’s more work, but you will benefit more from it.

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