Today I retweeted a great rant on fraud in influencer marketing. The thread, tweeted back in August 2019 by social media expert Susie Parker contains awesome railing on the mess that is influencer marketing. (Also, behold Ms. Parker’s savvy use of gifs with each tweet. The gifs compel the reader to keep reading, to “solve” the “problem” of whether or not the words match the action in the video.)
In short, influencer fraud happens when individuals falsely purport they can provide a company access to followers who will interact with their brand. This interaction is measured in terms of clicks and purchases. The company pays the influencer for various advertising services.
The problem, which by some measures adds up to a 1.3$billion loss, is that a large chunk of influencer followers are fake. Dummy accounts bought for a few bucks.
I haven’t once bought followers, but I’ve never sought to be an influencer, either. Boosting numbers by any means necessary is the name of the game if big corporations are ready and willing to throw money at popular Instagrammers. I don’t like to see small business owners be bamboozled by social media mobsters but I cry zero tears over big agencies failing to do their legwork before they lay out cash. Those big agencies cry zero tears, too. They have plenty of cash to lay out, and the people making those decisions just need to show they have an “edgy” and “now” social media campaign out there. Enter fraud.
What I loved about Susie Parker’s rant is this: numbers don’t mean much. Don’t be dazed by the digits. Influence is the ability to affect others’ behaviors. People on Twitter with fewer than 5000 followers often enjoy much more engagement than those who have more than 10K, and the quality of those interactions is amazing. Susie Parker said “influencer marketing is dead,” and I agree. Influence, though, is not.
We’re exhausted by the Millennial and Gen Z Insta influencer influenza. Agencies will still pursue these “influencers” because brands are still sold on their effectiveness, but the creatives that know a little about psychology and how peer behavior works can make some strides in this climate. Quantity ≠ Quality.
Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay