Not every conversation begins with some kind of an affirmation of positive expectations, but this one did. ‘So you fancy you are an influencer?’ I asked.
‘More than that,’ he replied, ‘I am a writer. I draw. I sketch. I handle my DSLR rather adroitly…’
‘How does all this help?’
‘You didn’t let me complete,’ he said, with a bit of annoyance creeping in, ‘I tweet, I blog, and I also help brands reach out to newer audiences.’
This time I waited and did not interject. He continued, ‘I tweet in rhymes. Isn’t that exotic enough for new batches of readers, followers, and re-tweeters to jump in and help me get brands some more unique interactions?’
‘Sounds lovely,’ I said, ‘so you think writers are actually influencers. This bit sounds a bit shaky. Aren’t writers way beyond the humdrum of social media?’
‘Not at all. Every good piece of writing exerts some kind of an influence. Some readers get inspired to write better, others learn just that bit more about society, and yet others may find the right quote to help them make their point with force. This list is actually endless.’
‘I agree,’ I said, ‘but an influencer in this age of online brouhaha, is someone on any of the social media platforms and talking about brands. A powerful addition, of course, would be his having a blog where longer pieces can be written. We have so many writing on gadgets, devices, lifestyle brands, food, wines, and even travel.’
This friend looked at me and wrote this on his tablet:
A master of words?
An expert of some sort?
A juggler of facts?
Well, an influencer knows
That what he says or shows
Can turn lies upside down
Make false potential drown
And so, a good influencer
Doesn’t create a mere stir
But strengthens every fact
With responsible tact.
‘Good idea,’ I said, ‘you can write your replies on your tablet and we’ll know if they are tweetable or not. Anything more to add to this definition that anyway sounds fairly plausible?’
He thought for a while and wrote:
An influencer knows the market alphabet well
And has a multi-platform reach that is swell
This person kneads his facts with his words
And isn’t ever afraid to ring a warning bell.
‘Ah! So influencers aren’t always brand boot-lickers, is it?’
‘No, and they cannot afford to be labelled as one,’ he said, ‘they are the sort who hardly ever have to announce that they are a part of the influencer platoon. They are the kind who have made others create phrases like positive expectation and must be staunch believers of a healthy relationship between truth, trust, and transparency.’
I remembered a quote that went: ‘Influence is when you are not the one talking and yet your words fill the room; when you are absent and yet your presence is felt everywhere.’ So I asked, ‘What must influencers be careful about?’
Influencers tread a thin line between truth and lies
One wrong step transforms homes into pigsties.
Brands must know this and tread with care
Or the competition will soon shred them bare!
I laughed and said, ‘Why will brands be so worried about a few tweets about them getting trolled? Just one out of many influencers getting banged doesn’t really matter to a multi-million brand. Or does it?’
He took some time thinking and then wrote:
Recipe for Brands:
Slices of healthy information
A dash of what hasn’t worked in the past
A pinch of what the competition does
A bowlful of planned strategies
…and more than just pennies as compensation!
This recipe always works
A happy influencer never shirks!
‘Seems fine,’ I said, ‘So let us get back to the preliminary things an influencer does. Any rhyme for this?’
‘Every time,’ he replied, and wrote:
Credible information that is readable
Credible & read-worthy information that stays for long
Influencers give us all this
Can be bloggers, bloggers for a niche, be precise and witty on twitter, and be caring on Facebook.
‘You’re right,’ I said, ‘and thank God you have brought in bloggers as well. I was thinking that the world of influencers was limited to twitter, facebook, and Instagram.’
‘Any tweetable rhyme on the relationship of brands and influencers?’
He smiled and wrote:
Influencers are the ones who start an online buzz
A buzz that’s abuzz sans irrational and baseless fuzz
Brands love a buzz
In a diminishing fuzz!
‘You said that brands love a buzz,’ I asked, ‘and obviously it has to be the right kind of buzz. Any rhyme on how brands may go about reaching out to the right sort of influencers for the right kind of buzz?’
Without a word, this friend wrote:
Brands need to read more than just stats
Or how many followers are with you holding bats
Brands need to go beyond mere figures
Even for micro-influencers have no sniggers
Because content and stylized content matters
More than directionless chatters.
‘Aha! So one doesn’t need to have a million followers on twitter or half a million followers on Instagram to qualify as an influencer? What makes you believe that a ‘stats only’ policy leads to a weak online influencer activity?’
‘This is simple,’ he said, ‘followers and even ‘likes’ can be bought. There are hundreds of people posing as influencers who are there simply because they network well with the decision-makers at agencies. But brands and companies need to go through their lists carefully, because…’
Brands generally notice networked dolts
Who know less, do less, but have a stats display
This is what brings on the locks and bolts
And online action ready to slay…
The brand, obviously.
‘And yet we see a proliferation of the wrong set of influencers these days. Why?’
‘Well,’ he began, and then wrote:
When Brands want…
Doctored creative input
I read his reply twice and then asked, ‘There are a lot of influencers who scoff at creative input. They say that all that matters to them is getting ReTweets on twitter and massive engagement levels on every platform. Isn’t this what brands actually want because this is what presumably leads to consumer-brand conversations and may lead to smiles on sales graphs.’
He said, ‘Let me divide my answer into three tweetable chunks for this one.’ And then he wrote:
Influencer marketing is all about the dance of a fresh flash of creative optimization where lines – from text, sketches, illustrations, drawings, and pictures – occupy a stage constructed on facts and accountable interpretations.
Relations with good communication matters more than communicating with networked relatives, so to say. Brands need to be tough with Agencies known to patronize their friends, fuzz figures, present doctored stats, and be unwilling to part with earnings in a fair way.
Influencers are the ones who are on the battlefield and winning wars for Brands. They are the ones who need the best fatigues, the state-of-the-art ammo, worthy accommodation for their family, and rewards after every triumph.
‘Rewards? What kind of rewards are you referring to?’
If a piece of driftwood isn’t going anywhere
Near an influencer to become a masterpiece
It never will and none its glory will share.
However, for this what invariably enters, is fees.
‘Ha! Ha! Nothing comes for free anyway.’
‘Not even good and effective influencers,’ he replied with a smile, ‘And so I will repeat that influencers need to be ethical about their activity.’ He wrote:
To barter truth for a pocketful of profits is bad
To spread lies for the sake of money is sad —
It is the viewer, the audience, the reader
Who is the real influencer breeder
So why feed them doses that kill?
Even Brands don’t profit from a consumer mortuary fill!
‘True,’ I said, ‘let me too try and write my bit on influencers in rhyme. Rhymes are indeed a wonderful way to communicate.’ And so I wrote:
Influence goes on unimpeded and with confidence
And this isn’t because of and, or, therefore, and hence
It is because the world sees many paths, remains undecided
And waits for an influencer opinion confided.
This post is based on a twitter conversation I had on ‘influencers’. Click here to read a post on that twitter conversation uploaded by OnPurpose Consulting.
18 July 2018