Who influences us? Should it be individual influencers or trusted media brands?
Chaired by Heat’s Editor, Lucie Cave, a panel gathered on the Fast Company Stage to debate the issues surrounding the newest media channel, the Social Media Influencer. Representing traditional influencers i.e. media brands were Empire Editor Terri White and TV/Radio presenter Alex Baker while Joe Wicks’ PR Megan Carver, Vlogger Jonathan Seccone-Joly and Fizziology’s CEO Ben Carlson were the voice of the Social Media Influencer.
Terri stated that to truly influence, ‘heart, soul and passion’ needs to be the motivation. The whole panel was then quick to reel off examples of Social Media Influencers who have worked with brands where there was no ‘heart, soul and passion’ or expertise either. Money, it seems, influences the Influencer. Jonathan made no apologies for this, stating when asked if sometimes the money was too good to turn down, he simply stated ‘yes, there is a level of selling out to the money’. He then insisted that to counter this he only works with brands that have relevance to his following.
But how exactly do you measure influence? The panel was quick to agree on the fact that it is not solely about the number of followers someone has or readers of your magazine; expertise, authenticity, credibility and motivation also contribute. Although they agreed on what the quantile and qualitative qualities are, no firm definition or methodology was agreed on what can help brands and agencies identify and measure the influence of the Influencers they work with.
Influencers are the latest media channel and although there are some question marks over the integrity of their brand partnerships and measurement, this seminar demonstrated how the channel is going nowhere.