Are Influencers Entitled and Selfish or Valuable Marketing Tools?
(Disclaimer: Arcane considers working with influencers a valuable partnering opportunity for creative marketing campaigns. They’re not spoiled or entitled, though some people in the following story might think so!)
About a month ago, a popular social influencer, Elle Darby, reached out to an Irish hotel asking for a free five-night stay in exchange for some exposure to her fans. In her email, she said she had collaborated with Universal Orlando in Florida and “it’s been amazing for them!”
The owner of the hotel posted the following message on the News Feed of the hotel’s Facebook Page:
At this point, the internet took over, finding out who the — at the time, anonymous — influencer was and exposing her to the world. She began to receive death threats and posted a video, explaining the anxiety and backlash she’d endured after this event.
It’s unclear whether this was a planned stunt and you can decide for yourself whose side you agree with — whether influencers are getting out of hand or if the hotelier went too far — but it’s undeniable that both parties benefited.
The hotel and the influencer both ended up receiving a lot of love and hate for their actions — the influencer was ridiculed for a pompous request, while others were disgusted with the hotelier for utterly embarrassing a young entrepreneur. It is truly an illustration of how delicate online sentiment is, as any variation in the way this interaction occurred could have ended the career of one of these people. This dichotomy, controversy, and risk raises an important question many have been asking for a while…
Is Collaborating with an Influencer Worth the Potential Hassle?
If you haven’t heard about the break-up between the happiest company on Earth and the biggest YouTuber on Earth, it’s worth checking out. Tying your brand to an influencer is risky business, but there are ways you can minimize your risk and reap the rewards.
Watch Your Influencer Closely
It’s crucial for a brand to understand who the influencer is, who their audience is, and what kind of content they post.
For example, in the aforementioned Pewdiepie-Disney fiasco, Disney failed to recognize a pattern of risqué and inappropriate content used by their core influencer group to increase viewership.
Understanding the influencer should involve following them on Instagram for a while or watching their YouTube videos and reading comments. Keep an eye out for what kind of content they post, as well as how many of their fans actually interact with the influencer.
Active engagement, such as likes and comments, is the true measure of success with a brand or influencer.
This transforms you, as a brand, into a viewer or fan and can help you understand the appeal the audience sees. In turn, you can make more informed decisions on which influencer is right for you and create a campaign that satisfies the goals of both parties.
Brainstorm WITH the Influencer
The influencer knows how to appeal to their audience better than you do — after all, their entire job depends on user gratification. Meet with your collaborator to understand and plan how both brands are going to complement each other. Then, let the influencer do their magic, creating authentic content that their fans have already grown to love.
It’s important to loosen the reins and give the influencer more freedom. Trust that they know what they’re doing.
Keep the Relationship Going After the Fact
You can’t just watch the money roll in — keep your eyes on the campaign and the influencer. Build a relationship which is mutually beneficial. If something goes wrong, you must both be ready to react quickly
When Pepsi completely flubbed their ad with Kendall Jenner, they not only apologized to the consumers for creating something so insensitive, but apologized to the influencer herself.
Whether you are a hotelier or a member of any other brand, influencers are a popular tool that can fast track you to authentic fandom. There are many risks involved, with major failures being publicized far more than successes, but when done carefully, collaborating with an influencer can be worth it!