dear mr president,

in response to;

very rarely will i come across an article that i feel so passionately inclined to respond to. in this case, i couldnt resist. it proves to me more than ever that the wider publics understanding of influencer marketing and how it works effectively and by what means is so very far from the reality.

first and foremost, it’s incredibly sad that it took a girl just doing what she has been groomed by social media to do and led to believe is right being called out by a well respected columnist for influencer marketing to be addressed in local media. i don’t know about you, but my mum raised me to know that’s called bullying and we don’t do it.

i think the biggest point to discuss here is defining a “food blogger” – everyone seems to have a different interpretation of the loosely used title.

a blogger is defined as;

  1. a website containing a writer’s or group of writers’ own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., andoften having images and links to other websites.
  2. a single entry or post on such a website:

therefore, many self proclaimed “bloggers” are not in fact “bloggers” they are active on social media and by active i mean posting solely on instagram, which is absolutely fine, but does not replace qualified journalists, professional writers or columnists.

on this occasion what was being offered wasn’t a review, nor should it have been intimated that was what would be provided in exchange for money. in actual fact, content and in turn, exposure, was what would be provided both in vlog form & in posts on social media which is totally acceptable.

this incorrect terminology is where in fact the whole issue here has arisen and it really is a shame the individual is being targeted when really it should be the business who if they had been better educated within influencer marketing they could have really made the most of this opportunity to generate some great content and connect with an influencers engaged community.

it’s actually really unfortunate that it’s social media in itself that’s has encouraged individuals to offer their services to brands, businesses etc as apps like ‘tribe’ & ‘brand snob’ have done. put simply, the use of influencers is not necessarily appropriate for every business, or industry nor is it a cookie cutter model like these apps suggest. the best influencer campaigns are unique and tailored to both the individuals brand as well as the brand or business itself.

what is good to see, is these restaurant owners quoted who clearly do understand the importance of authentic opinion and respect the profession of columnists as opposed to those who are simply, active on social media. BUT this is where it gets tricky, columnists feel as though they are becoming null and void because well, everyones a blogger now which is where i think this whole debacle has come from.

side note, you learn in sales the old line “you pay peanuts, you get monkeys” and it’s fair to say this rings true in this case, the work you get from a columnist or reporter is not comparable to that of both an actual ‘blogger’ or lets say, influencer. columnists should not feel threatened by the rise of the influencer but more so than ever, demonstrate a point of difference.

instagram introduced the ability to mark which posts are paid collaborations earlier this year, but if you’re going to do it for one you need to be committed to mark them all – a bold move for many influencers. personal branding 101 says that when one discloses a post as paid for the first time, the community can lose trust and may be under the assumption that all posts are sponsored and no opinion is in fact authentic and genuine. this is a big no no for any blogging initiative especially one who is expected to be sharing honest and educated opinions with their community

with the growth in influencer marketing there is no doubt a time and a place for influencer payment, reviews are not one – content is. content is of value, as brands we use this, re-purpose it and it helps to support our bigger marketing strategy whilst also giving exposure to the influencer through our social channels and database.

when it comes to disclosing whether a post is paid or not, it depends on the context, the brand and the individual. for example a restaurant/cafe paid post does need to be disclosed at least in the first instance because this payment does skew the review to being positive. no brand is going to pay for a negative review, am i right?

this is also where many brands go very wrong, in participating in one off posts rather than long term partnerships (you can read more on my thoughts here

i would never suggest, let alone pay for a post with an influencer if they didn’t genuinely love the product and want to share why they love it and educate their community as to what separates the brand from other brands, the products, or the place etc

from a brand awareness point of view, i think 50sixone have absolutely nailed it in terms of their product being instagrammable by even someone with an LG flip (do they still exist?) again supporting the mantra that content is king, a good photo is something they can re-post! having an influencer mention them in a story or post something organic is definitely powerful but calling it a review, not so much (because it’s not)

do not be mistaken, influencers are NOT replacing journalists however, journalists will need to adapt to the changing social media landscape to ensure they don’t get left behind

influencer marketing is an exciting element of an integrated marketing strategy and has huge benefits short and long term, so call me 😉

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