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Keeping it Real –> Influencer selection 1: Suitability to task of the Influencer

Disclaimer: I am not a social media professional. I do not work for an agency, or even freelance. However, I know what doesn’t feel right when I encounter it. Over the next few notes on this topic, I will delve into a few points from a blogger’s perspective. I may be wrong, but, until I drop the mic, I’m ‘Da Man’! Let’s do this!

My friend, and very intrepid social media manager Becca Taylor found the article Here’s Why You’re (Probably) Wasting Money on Influencer Marketing. Opinion: Influencer content is extremely underutilized in AdWeek, and shared it.

It’s a pretty smart piece, and a good read.

From it, I realized that it could be further broken down into several expanded articles.

I shall be touching on them from my high exalted position as airquote  an influential close airquote.

This should be fun.

Influencer selection 1: Suitability to task of the Influencer

As with everything, selection is key. I believe this is where an event, and relationships start imploding.

This cannot be stressed enough.

I have been to events where some of the attendees have been as glassy-eyed as a three-toed sloth!

There has to be a direct connection between the project, the goals, the client, the influencer, and his/her demographic.

As an example, I was embedded at a few of the HIMSS conferences several times in the past.

After the keynote at the second event I attended, I was approached by a youngish man – they’re all ‘youngish’ to me these days, for reasons I cannot fathom! #GetOffMyLawn!

Upon introducing himself, YoungMan asked me what I what I did. I told him. “What about you?”, I asked. He revealed that he was a blogger on customizing hot rods. After struggling to find the nexus of his expertise to HIMSS in my melon, I decided to ask him.

“I don’t know what I am doing here”, was his answer. I was completely flabberwhelmed* by his answer!

“What do you mean ‘you don’t know what you are doing here?”, I cried.

He explained that he and his girlfriend had just had a baby. The boy came prematurely, at about 3 months early. As with premmies in industrialized countries, the child had to stay in a NICU** for several months in order for the baby to receive the incredible care required to make sure that everything would be okay when the child is discharged.

During that time, YoungMan decided to write on his experience with being a father who woke up every day with a child in the NICU, and not knowing, but praying that the baby thrives. Somehow, the blog got the attention of the manufacturer of one of the devices used to care for his son, and that he had mentioned on his blog. So, the firm’s social manager/agency decided to ask him to attend that HIMSS event.

By this time, I am sure you are wondering just what, exactly, is HIMSS.

Well, HIMSS stands for Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, an association for IT managers and stakeholders in the healthcare informatics field. Their eponymous yearly gathering is also called HIMSS.

I asked him why he agreed to attend. He said he kept on declining until the social contact for the product OEM told him to “just come out there, because we have a quota of bodies we need to have attend”.

So, this guy is wandering around looking like the proverbial deer-in-the-headlights, the social agency/manager is feeling chuffed at meeting a quota, and the customer is getting shafted.

At least, this guy was upfront.

Meanwhile, my social agency contact at that same event was on me like a limpet! (You know who you are!)

They made sure that all my desired interviews, meetings, and briefings were taken care of. They also followed it up subsequent to the event with more information, using those to gently prod me into delivering my content.

Sometimes, the social agency/manager becomes stricken with an extreme form of laziness that precludes them from even checking to see if their target influencer’s past content fits with the goal of their client’s campaign. They either accept verbal assurances or whatnot, and sometimes self-delude.

At other times, it is the so-called influencer that is inflating his or her interest, or relevance, or ability to deliver, or reach.

In other words, lying to get the gig.

I have been at a confab or two where it was evident that the so-called influencer lied to attend the event. The most absurd and out-of-place influencer I have encountered was not even as moderately knowledgeable as one would expect, and did not take the time to bone up on the firm involved before showing up. It was surreal.

For accomplished thieves such as that person, the only way a social agency can plan against it, is to keep a reputation database of influencers encountered, and if possible share that with like-minded industry colleagues. A thieving fool like that is of no use to anybody, and must be exposed! If the client’s goals cannot be easily aligned to that of the influencer, then it is a serious waste of client resources. And a surefire way for everyone in the chain to get terminated. For which reputations may, and could also suffer.

A fantastic suggestion from Judie Stanford, La Jefe*** of Gear Diary, is to bind influencers contractually. This is smart. It makes everyone aware of expectations, and obligations.

Oh, YoungMan didn’t write anything. Definitely not his bailiwick.

  • *Flabberwhelmed is my conflation of ‘flabbergasted’, and ‘overwhelmed’. Feel free to use it. With attribution, of course!
  • **NICU: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
  • ***Female Boss in Spanish is La Jefa. Male is El Jefe. I want to live. There’s no way I’m calling any woman a name that sounds like “heifer”! No way at all!
  • Judie Stanford is on Twitter
  • Gear Diary is here


© 2002 – 2017, John Obeto for Blackground Media Unlimited

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