A Response to Gawker’s Influencer-Bashing


Yes, Gawker; we know that “influencer” is a fake job. Just like you, I think it’s ridiculous when people label themselves as an “influencer” and I’m of the belief that if you feel the need to call yourself an influencer, you’re probably not actually one. But like it or not, in 2016, blogger is a real job title. So is photographer. And some people who work in those jobs are also considered people of influence. As a matter of fact, even people in traditional jobs, such as those in executive or CEO positions can be considered influencers. After all, the definition of an influencer is simply, “the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc.”

That said, of course, many brands have had negative experiences working with “influencers.” This is likely due to the fact that the influencer campaigns were poorly run and that these brands weren’t actually working with influencers… Just people who call themselves influencers.

Here are my rules to working on influencer campaigns:

  • There are no rules. Every client and brand is different and every influencer campaign should be different. Don’t use a cookie cutter approach and be sure to tailor your campaign to get the results that will best help you reach your goals.
  • Followers don’t matter. Again, Gawker got this right! Having 1 million followers doesn’t make someone more influential than having 1,000 followers. It’s all about who the audience is, the types of engagements the person is getting, and the successes they can show from previous campaigns they’ve done.
  • Track results. When working with influencers, give them trackable links to use and follow up to see exactly the results they’re bringing your clients. For many campaigns, you can track results right through to sales. Can you do that with a magazine ad?
  • Build influencer programs into your greater marketing plans. Depending on the brand, include components such as traditional PR, digital and/or traditional advertising, SEO optimization, social media management, and content strategy.
  • Compile a strong database of trust-worthy, results -oriented influencers. When you work with a person who brings you the results you’re looking for in a high-quality manner, continue to work with them should other relevant opportunities arise. Nurture your relationship with them and work together with them to form campaigns that will be most attractive to their audiences and get you the results you want.

If a brand or agency is working with a person simply because they call themself an “influencer” and have a large social media following, that brand or agency simply isn’t doing their job.


Susan Anderson

Susie Anderson is Vice President of Social Media and Influencer Relations!

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