Marketwired Blog

The truth about influence

By Gail McInnes

Before social media took over traditional media, many brands participated in product seeding, where groups of individuals in targeted demographics were paid to test out products and casually mention it in conversations. These were the original professional influencers – hired guerrilla marketers who were apt in the art of subtlety.

The shift to the “Look at Me!” world of self-promotion and ego brings us a new generation of influencers who use Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, WordPress, Pinterest, and the like to show off their carefully edited “fabulous” lives.

While product giveaways to influencers can provide a sharp boost in product awareness in the short-term, taking the time to place the right products in the right influencers’ hands develops long-term awareness. Many brands are simply throwing freebies at anyone with a Klout score higher than 40 without knowing anything about them.

Rather than simply throw free items at the “Gimme Gimme!” crowd, start a conversation with them on what their likes are, if the product might be something they’d use or, most importantly, like. Do they want to try it? If they say yes, then send them away with no expectations of talking about it, blogging, or tweeting about it. If you select the right group to be given products and your instincts are correct, they will like the product – possible even love it and gladly talk, rave and post about it throughout their social networks. That is when true influence happens.

To find out more about how to find true social media influencers, download our free tip sheet, How to Get Social Media Influencers Talking About You.


Gail McInnes is the owner and director of the PR and Branding firm, Magnet Creative Management.


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