Some time ago, there was a big discussion in the Russian social media around a blogger, who asked a cosmetic company for a free set of products in exchange for writing about it. The company declined, she openly posted about it, and it all went viral. The casual tone of her ask and high expectations regarding the collaboration even produced a new popular meme with endless tweets and posts.
Meanwhile something similar took place in another part of the globe. A beach club owner posted on Facebook: “We are receiving many messages regarding collaborations with influencers, Instagram influencers. We kindly would like to announce that White Banana is not interested to “collaborate” with self-proclaimed “influencers”. And we would like to suggest to try another way to eat, drink, or sleep for free. Or try to actually work.” Again, it went viral with 800 comments, and 3.3k shares, and a wave of publications – with many people supporting the stand against “wannabe influencers”, while others were unimpressed with the tone and “job shaming”. A day later, the club owner posted: “We want to clarify that we are not against INFLUENCERS. Just against freeloaders. A REAL influencer is called as such by the rest, he does not address him/herself as an influencer. They are bloggers”. Finally, there is wannabe influencer marketing by our favorite Marketoonist.
What does it all mean?
First of all, supply is higher than demand. There are always freeloaders who are “just asking, because why not”, and people who are looking for capitalizing their social worth. Surprisingly or not, there are obviously much fewer businesses who want to get access to those social connections. The social media market is getting matured and saturated, and it requires a serious approach, fair and transparent game rules. You have relevant followers? Great, prove that. Also, explain to me how my investment is going to be beneficial for me, and talk business to me, please. There is certainly an understanding that commercially successful account in social media is full-time quality work, and ideally – of a whole team. There was probably a time when almost everyone can claim to be an influencer, and require all possible perks and free rides, but it’s certainly over.
Moreover, potential influencers might be more interested in collaboration with businesses, than vice versa as that is a kind of recognition and a proof of status, a key to the “influencer club”, which brings further business and other opportunities.
The whole area of social influencing is separate expertise, which also has its subject matter experts – and influencers. For example, for B2B influencing, there are great names like Lee Odden, and Jill Rowley.
By the way, the more attention is drawn to the micro-influencers, people who are super influenceable and engaged in small niche groups. The whole idea of influence implies real connection and reputation. But again, this required a deep understanding of the market, and who is who on it.