Don't Buy Influence, Build Influence


Influencer marketing, it's been around forever but has been rebranded from the way less hip celebrity endorsement. Basically, you pay people cooler than you to tell their legions of loyal followers how awesome your product/company/service is. Since their followers hang on their every word they will all run right out and buy your shit. Of course, nobody cares what a kid making cat memes thinks about insurance (or anything besides how to make awesome cat memes). Consumers and clients making purchase decisions would rather hear from experts about the product/company/service they are considering purchasing. Why throw gobs of money at someone who doesn't have any expertise about your product/company/service instead of arming your people with the tools to build their influence?

Influence is earned and can be fleeting

The idea behind influencer marketing makes sense. You are partnering with someone who has built an audience who likes them, trusts them, and looks forward to seeing their stuff. But if that stuff is not relevant to your product/company/service, all of that influencer means nothing. Also, influencer marketing campaigns can go very wrong.

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Now these are sort of extreme examples of poorly implemented influencer campaigns where the influencer was just cashing a check. Even though the products they were influencing were somewhat relevant the campaigns were failures because it was obvious they were paid for their endorsement and they didn't care enough to be thoughtful about what they were doing. Not only does the influencer lose trust and authority but the brands who paid them see no return and lose brand equity and trust, too.

Your Best Influencers are in your company

Instead of paying outsiders who really know nothing about your product/company/service why not help your leaders and employees build their influence? They have knowledge and expertise that interest others outside of your company and they can provide ongoing results not attainable through a one time marketing campaign of dubious value. Give them the tools to build an audience and share their domain expertise with the world (especially your customers). Allow them to talk about things they are expert in (and not just schill for your company) and connect with their audience authentically. It highlights the awesome and super smart people you have working for you. When they do share promotional content they can have a much more profound impact and actually drive real business results. It keeps them happy and drives positive ROI (without a huge payout to an Internet celebrity who doesn't have any clue about your product/company/service).

So instead of spending time and money on your next influencer campaign, start building influencers from within. It will have a profound impact on your business for a long time, keep your leaders & employees engaged, and save you a lot of money.

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