Fans and Customers are the new Influencers
Like everything marketers touch: they destroy everything.
We had emails, it was great, every morning we used to wait for them and to be happy to open every email we received. It was back in 1998 when marketers had not destroyed this fantastic way of sending letters to each other.
Now I'm wishing I was receiving real emails.
All those emails are pretending to know me (they usually are wrong) and pretending to make me buy time, usually destroy it and my faith in this medium to communicate.
It took years for marketers and advertisers to understand how influencers work. I remember being in 2007 and trying to educate brands to learn more about bloggers, trying to explain to them how having those prospect or already customers talking about their product was a great way to create something tv commercial couldn't do anymore: building word of mouth.
Every people working in digital like me know the feeling: you spend years explaining something new: everyone makes fun of you, five years later everybody is doing it like an elephant in a porcelain shop: with no logic and frenetic need for immediate results.
How can you get immediate results in the influencer game? An eight years old kid would go for the bigger cake. The bigger, the better right? Everybody is pressuring everyone to get results, like immediate results: a very stupid consultant certainly told the CEO that everything on the Internet was fast: "that's why results have to be fast and of course massive."
Now we are in 2018, influencers are not human being anymore, they are young people working 20 hours a day to put content on Youtube hoping to not lose viewers: when they are big stars they can talk about anything they want, because everything is possible and at the end they are like huge corporations: too big to fail. (so, of course, the number of brands that can afford them is not huge and certainly not yours also)
And the other influencers, they are the ones who break my heart. See? Like for the emails, marketers broke everything that was candid and good about them. They are not in charge of their Instagram account or Facebook.
If you want them to talk about you, they might put an Instagram story for you, after all, what is 10 to 20 second on an Instagram story?
They don't need to endorse you. They don't need to love you; they don't even need to like what you do or how you do it.
It is so hard today to become an influencer that they wouldn't accept to publish a photo about your brand on their Instagram account, what would happen if they lose followers?
How many times have you seen those Instagram photos about tea in some Instagram accounts that never shows any photos of tea at all ?(besides the one they are paid for) What kind of customers do you think this generate?
Influencers are not salespeople when they promote something they do not care about... who is naive about it? (besides the marketing dept who asked for it?) It is sometimes so funny to read the comments (something brands should do more) and to see how the community of that influencer "understand" what he has to do to make some money.
When something is broke, it's better sometimes to be back to the root of the right idea. The good idea has always been the same, the problem is that sometimes customers don't care enough, they think the cake is bigger then the cake taste better, but they are not geeking enough to understand that "the cake is a lie".
What is important is love.
When you have a good product, and when you have a recognizable clear brand, in this era where everybody has influence (small or big) then it's easy to get influence.
I have scratched my head for years to find a way to reach that customer in the supermarket aisle who grab his favorite product to imagine how he could talk to his friend and family about it. In 2007 it was hard, today it's so easy.
all fans are customers, and many customers are fans, find them, if they have ten followers they qualified because it means they are accessible to you.
Don't set up the operation for them, don't prepare a "frame" or a picture ready to be published or even "instructions." See what they can do for you with them. Organize it with them.And... I can promise, they won't offer a ten second Instagram Story to tell their friend and their community about something they care about. They'll do so much more, just because you care about them, they care more about you.
It is true in the entertainment industry as we can see every day with our clients in Tv Shows, Anime or video games, but it's true everywhere even in the service industry.
Sure you won't touch a 500 000 audience who don't care, don't need and don't like this kind of advertising, but you'll reach a 1000 people who care about you, care about his center of interest and who'll have more chance to become a customer. We could even do 1000x1000 as long the result is efficiency.
Does it take more time? No. Is it cheaper? Oh yeah! So much less expensive to find a real influencer who cares about you. Is it easier? No, it's not at all, but selling and doing advertising is not an easy job, we need to stop letting CEOs and executive believe that because the audience is available: the audience is listening, no the audience has a life and something else to do than to care about you. When you are following 50 youtubers, it's not because one is talking about "that" brand tea, that you are going to switch brand because of that video or Instagram story while commuting in the train to go to work...
Fans and customers are my favorite influencers, they are creative, and they'll tell you what they really want (and that's not only free stuff) measuring real success and engagement is also easier and creating a long-term relationship with them will lighter the overall cost of your marketing operation.
You can't do that with anyone; you should do it with EveryOne.