While we were still talking, he went into an angry diatribe and accused me of behaving like an accidental social media influencer with the unmistakable delusion of grandeur.
He called me a container trader and advised me to face trading and leave Branding for experts like him to manage, otherwise I will plunge the brand into an abyss of confusion in the mind of the consumers.
I was not offended by his vituperation. He is a professional Brand Strategist who knows his onions. I have always consulted him and pick his ideas for free.
Just like I did last this morning when I asked his opinion on the merits and demerits of using Social Media Influencers which is becoming trendy.
My posturing which unfortunately but rightly got him pissed is prevalent in social media circles today. We all believe we are influencers and experts in marketing communications.
We take up responsibilities without adequate information and end up killing the brand in question instead of attracting goodwill and stimulating patronage as intended.
Some influencer culture is sadly rife with toxicity, lacking fineness, and at best nothing more than a passive desire to earn quick money promoting something the influencer doesn’t care about – products or services he/she will ordinarily shy away from.
Digital Promotion using social media is topping the charts as one of the best ways of marketing and promotion today and has increased the reach of companies exponentially.
Digital promotion is relatively cheaper than conventional advertising and promotes all types of businesses without restrictions. It also gives people the benefit of self-branding, thus cutting down on branding budgets.
There are a lot of active social media personalities with multiple thousands or significant audiences, who listen and make decisions based on his/her opinions.
People idolize these personalities and thus the internet community came up with the word “Influencers” as their views and actions are being copied by a very large chunk of their followers.
Influencer marketing can be loosely defined as a form of marketing that identifies and targets individuals with influence over potential buyers.
Companies are using these people as their primary way of marketing by paying them to use or promote their products to reach and connect to their target audience.
As a startup, what considerations do you need to make to assess whether a social media personality is worth working with?
There are varying aspects to consider and there doesn’t seem to be a true consensus about who is an influencer and what qualities should an influencer possess.
But the fundamentals include the size of their audience, how relevant that audience is to your brand or product, and how engaged that audience is with the influencer’s posts.
It would also be worth considering how that person rose to the ranks of being considered influential.
Influence isn’t just having a lot of followers. It’s also driven by expertise and credibility on the subject matter and the relationship between the influencer and his or her followers.
I honestly believe brands would fair better with a more focussed approach to partnering with an influencer on a medium to long term, and it should be a partnership.
If influencers are seeing themselves as a professional entity, they should be working on acting like that in their approach to brands and relationships with the brand owner. Not on the basis of 2-minutes Noodles.
It is also very important for the Influencer to equip himself/herself with the basic knowledge/attributes of the brand/product, and work in sync with the mission and vision of the brand owner.
Influencer marketing is essentially a large scale version of word of mouth. People trust the recommendations of the influencers that they follow on social media, so that recommendation is just like a friend telling you about how you should try out a new product they just purchased.
It carries a similar, if not the same weight. It is, therefore, trite to insist that an influencer who has no passion or first-hand experience of the brand value he/she is influencing risks killing the brand than positively influencing it.
Brand owners must prepare to deal with negative fallout if the influencers they use misrepresent or reject their products.
More so, the influencers who encounter legal trouble or fall out with the public might negatively impact a product’s chance of success.
These can be avoided if brand owners and influencers start off with basic product knowledge and content collaboration.
In the absence of brand/product knowledge and passion, using Social Media influencers becomes a gamble.
About the author
Don Ebubeogu is the Managing Director of Tiger Foods Ltd
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