Influencer or Influencee?

Back in the ‘90s, do you remember the shirts covered with big logos that roamed the halls of your high school? Girls sporting their Roots hoodies lit up our teenage micro-universe. Clear complexions, rosy cheeks, shiny hair: they glowed with health as they blithely traipsed between basketball practices, all the while staying popular with the boys (naturally). Back then, you had to have a Roots hoodie just to get a shot at being part of the “in” crowd, let alone being accepted. When you think about it, aren’t modern influencers and the lifestyles they promote doing the same thing? Via social media, celebrities, inspirational figures, our friends and family all contribute to shaping our perception of brands and consumption. They have become the “cool” girls of our high school. In response to this phenomenon, companies (and their public relations agencies) compete ingeniously to put their products in the hands of “the right people”. If certain people have a large influence over others, then why not try to influence them? But you still have to identify them. Who are they?

– Public figures
– Domain experts
– Opinion leaders
– Web personalities with a large audience

This new reality is driving agencies to develop new practices that draw brands and consumers closer together and that increase perceived authenticity. As such, VIP treatment, product testing and invitations to exclusive events are no longer reserved just for celebrities and top media anymore – the guest list has been extended to include these new elite that organically contribute to promoting brands.

It’s an appealing practice, but you have to know how to use it correctly. Here are the five commandments for a successful influencer campaign:

1- Thou shalt know thy influencers

Follow them closely! After having seen and read their publications, in addition to knowing about their personal circumstances, you can offer experiences in line with their true interests (and those of the people who follow them).

2- Thou shalt maintain thy relationships

Re-posting what the influencer has published on your own networks, thanking them for their collaboration and asking their opinion on how to improve your practices is a great basis for a winning relationship.

3- Thou shalt not demand anything in return

Unless you have an official agreement, NEVER demand coverage. The key words here are “confidence” and “transparency”: influencers share what they have truly liked. Putting pressure on them for exposure will only damage the relationship.

4- Thou shalt measure thy results

There are new tools out there to measure the impact of influencer campaigns. Above and beyond the number of followers, we can now measure the power of influencers and the commitment of their followers. Too important not to use!

5- Thou shalt keep thy finger on the pulse of the industry

We must remain alert and on top of everything that is happening in our clients’ industries in order to quickly establish relationships with new players. Agility and flexibility allow you to seize opportunities that often deliver excellent results.

Don’t forget that today, consumers want to live in the Instagram lifestyle of their choice. We all contribute to this phenomenon in our own way. By sharing our experiences, we all become someone’s influencer.

So who are you influencing?