I just submitted a proposal on behalf of Gerris Corp and a partner agency in response to a request for proposal (RFP) that actually gets it—and may well be the new normal. The RFP was for a year’s social media strategy consulting. What made it unique and worth a Biznology blog post is that influencer marketing was assumed to be an essential and inextricable part of a social media marketing campaign:
“The selected consultancy will review and advise on social/digital online strategies, such as leveraging reach through influencers, to position engagement across social and digital online platforms and result in coordinated messaging.”
Companies, brands, associations, and organizations are not separating out social media from influencer engagement. One almost never thrives without the other. Rarely, if ever, does engagement happen purely organically without the help of some olly olly oxen free! If you build it, they won’t come—especially in 2018 when the blogosphere, vlogosphere, and social mediasphere is noisy and crowded. It’s virtually impossible to compete on your own from pure talent, beauty, and poise. As I have written many times before, Being Pretty isn’t Enough for Social Media Marketing:
I always tell clients that it is no longer enough to be beautiful when it comes to marketing online. The Internet has become more like an Oscar after-party than it is like the airport Ramada. Online, you’re never the lone beauty in the hotel lounge. Online, you’re surrounded by equal or greater beauties. What’s more, the most successful online social media barflies are aggressive in addition to gorgeous. Too many companies that have invested vast resources in social have Pretty Boy/Girl Syndrome. A symptom of this disease is an expectation that others will go out of their way to pursue you.
Influencer marketing is no longer an optional part of a social media campaign. Find enough money and resources to not only hire me and my team but also keep budget aside to compensate choice influencers for their time and consideration—especially if your product, information, offer, give, or gift isn’t truly awesome—and then be prepared to give ’till it hurts: both all the time and treasure required to get through all 9 innings of the game you started.
You can half-ass social media and only get in trouble when your Board realizes you’re doing a shitty job; however, influencer marketing is like movie production. You can spend all your time making a movie but until the movie is done (scripted, cast, filmed, wrapped, cut, edited, tested, rendered, tested, marketed, promoted, and opened) and actually in theaters with warm human butts in the seats, then it’s all just wasted money.
Influencer marketing is almost aways all-or-nothing. If you chicken out and bail, you’ll get the chicken-shit results that you’ve made for yourself. It’s not for the faint of heart.
Rule #1 of Influencer Marketing: Influencer Marketing is a lot like traditional publishing: you can be bankrupt with success. If you know your new author or book is really going to blow up, you’d better sell a home or secure a line of credit. Success is expensive. Same thing with Influencer Marketing: success is expensive. Get ready for it! Become rich in both product and cash. Bottom line: the more successful the campaign, the more the campaign will cost. If you have a thumb drive you want to promote via influencer marketing, you’d better have 500 drives-plus-shipping at the ready because that’s success. 50’s a fail.
Before Gerr.is there was Abraham Harrison, my first digital PR agency. AH sold influencer marketing (née blogger outreach) since Autumn 2006—twelve-years ago now—and Gerris Corp continues in this tradition. As consultants, we’ve always understood that influencer marketing is social media marketing—one and the same. Social media has never been just about building a field. It’s about players and fans and beer and hot dogs and bobbleheads and hats and jerseys and games and championships. Anything else is just practice; anything else is just pre-season.
Being beautiful, friendly, clever, generous, and charming is no longer good enough when you’re not just competing with the student body for Prom King and Queen, you’re now competing with potentially every other beautiful, friendly, clever, generous, and charming person on planet earth. The Internet has flattened the market, allowing anyone to eat your lunch, so just ringing the dinner bell after you launch your social media presence is not going to work as well as you expect.
My prospect knows that. You should, too. Maybe you didn’t know that before reading this, so you were blameless and naïve. No longer! This veil must be removed; the scales must drop from their eyes; their eyes must be opened and enlightened. Now, you have nobody to blame but yourself. Good luck, soldier.