Just as fast as I posted 2014: The Year of the Brand Influencer, the post started spreading throughout the internet.
Apparently the idea is gaining popularity making my prediction a little more ‘early adopter’ than ‘innovator.’ However, I’m okay with that, perhaps a bit meticulous at times, I try to stay right on the cusp of what looks real and what is real.
Digital influence is real. No question about it. However, as quickly as I posted about the shift in brand influence I was hit between the eyes with a dose of real that I couldn’t ignore.
My Facebook notification went off and I saw I was tagged in a post by Olivier Blanchard, “The Brand Builder.” Olivier is one of the most authentic people I know on the web so I always like when my content grabs his attention. Additionally, he is well regarded for his thoughts on influence, which you should read if you haven’t already.
This time however was different. It wasn’t a quick share or a “Hey, check this out.” It was more of a “Hey, buyer beware…I’m sharing this, but only partially because I like it. Mostly because it is missing something really important.”
What was it missing?
The answer is very simple, my article was missing the incredibly important context that most people who proclaim to be influential aren’t influencers at all.
Here is what Olivier had to say…
The Morale? Context Cannot Be Ignored With Influence Marketing
In short, what Olivier said that is so important for brands considering influence marketing is that brands cannot think that influence can merely be bought by employing a few bloggers but rather influence is driven through genuine connections.
I couldn’t agree more, and I felt it was really important to communicate this to all who read the last post and to any brands considering campaigns with online influencers.
Further what Olivier eludes to is how important it is to find influencers that are deeply entrenched with a brand or as he refers to the “Micro Influencer.” This type of influencer will drive a very small number of people, however whether it be 10, 20 or 50, the micro influencer will lead to real conversions.
Another salient point that marketers cannot ignore in their selection of influencers.
The Moral of the (Influence) Story
The interwebs have become chuck full of “wannabe” influencers and people who will swindle brands for their money for perceived influence. However, real influence is much more organic. Paid or not the type of influence brands are looking for comes from real people connecting to real people on an emotional level.
That type of connection is where brand advocates are born. Money alone will rarely (if ever) build the type of influence most brands seek.
For influence to work there has to be more than just paid content; there has to be a deeper connection. For brands looking to build an influence campaign, this need for deeper connections cannot be ignored.
Building an influential brand, like everything in life worth doing, takes commitment. Brands that get it right will reap the reward. However, I won’t be the least bit surprised to find many brands will cut corners and learn this lesson the hard (expensive) way.