I think you raise some interesting points - points which really need to be in the back of all of our minds. Social media care isn't really my background - I come from an advertising agency, where I owned social media marketing & content strategy development for many of our clients. My longest-term client was a national QSR with a strong hometown feel. It was within our strategy to celebrate the true advocates, rather than just general social media influencers who posted once or twice about our client and wanted money. Now, keep in mind, this was an organic program, so I didn't pay any of these influencers. Instead, I focused on custom activations. In one situation, the customer was a snarky, sarcastic DJ. He complained that he wasn't given a lid for his soft serve dessert. We sent him 30 lids in the mail. It was a risk, because our client wasn't sarcastic - rather, they were more clever, tongue-in-cheek, and this toed the line, but it was a risk worth taking. The DJ loved it. He recorded a whole "unboxing" video talking about how he got played by us, and I recall he rescinded his complaint. It was genuine, it was the right opportunity for that situation, and it was successful. Another customer used self-deprecating humor, making a lot of jokes about our QSR client but at his own expense. He deserved to be encouraged and celebrated (which definitely fell within our brand guidelines) so I 3D printed him a personalized trophy, shaped like one of the QSR's well-known desserts. He was sold, as were his followers. This happened probably 3 years ago, and even today, I'll occasionally search his handle and people still mention him all the time in conjunction with that QSR. Completely organic. And none of his followers are resentful, or feel less important, because we celebrated that person in a way that was completely unique to them. There's definitely a difference between organic activations, like what I outlined above, and paid influencer programs/opportunities, which is more of what you seem to be focusing on. Take a look at any Instagram account where the influential user posts their own un-paid content alongside content about an affiliate program or something #sponsored. Look at the difference in average engagement of posts. The sponsored content consistently sees lower engagement. Their followers aren't dumb, they know how the game works, and they know the sponsored content isn't genuine, so they don't fall for it, like you said in your post. But if the influencer is just posting about something they truly love, with no sponsorship, it doesn't seem fake, and followers will be more likely to engage and trust the opinions. It's all about building that real trust, and if that doesn't exist, then the brand is doing it wrong. So, rather than taking the stance that all influencer efforts put a bad taste in the mouths of other customers, I think the focus should be turned toward ensuring efforts are: a) true to the brand, b) true to the customer, and c) true to the prioritized success metrics. If these three points are what's considered, rather than generalizing who an "influencer" is or where trusted opinions can originate, then great activations can happen anywhere, without customers thinking a brand has a hidden agenda or is playing favorites.
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Hi! I don't have access yet to that page you mentioned for customers only, though I'm definitely a customer. I would love to vote for updated emoji usage in Lithium! Can you put in a vote for me as well, please? Thanks!
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