Brands, stop focusing on follower numbers and look for talent instead

first_imgRead more: Fyre Festival and why influencers may need regulation Unfortunately, this has driven the commoditisation of content and talent. Viewing talent through this lens can lead to a lack of creativity and authenticity, as well as a lower quality of content. Ultimately, this is damaging the reputation of the industry and is causing a lack of trust. whatsapp More From Our Partners Astounding Fossil Discovery in California After Man Looks Closelygoodnewsnetwork.orgA ProPublica investigation has caused outrage in the U.S. this weekvaluewalk.comPolice Capture Elusive Tiger Poacher After 20 Years of Pursuing the Huntergoodnewsnetwork.orgMatt Gaetz swindled by ‘malicious actors’ in $155K boat sale boondogglenypost.comBrave 7-Year-old Boy Swims an Hour to Rescue His Dad and Little Sistergoodnewsnetwork.orgBiden received funds from top Russia lobbyist before Nord Stream 2 giveawaynypost.comRussell Wilson, AOC among many voicing support for Naomi Osakacbsnews.comNative American Tribe Gets Back Sacred Island Taken 160 Years Agogoodnewsnetwork.orgFlorida woman allegedly crashes children’s birthday party, rapes About a decade ago, a generation of talent organically found their voice and a loyal audience on digital platforms such as YouTube, dramatically changing the media landscape. While their followings were impressive, it wasn’t the numbers that struck me – it was the passion, knowledge, creativity, and relatability that they were bringing to their audiences through online content.  The fifth series of popular reality series Love Island is in full swing. With the contestants’ social media followings growing by the thousands, we are reminded of the seductiveness of numbers to define success. Shaping what to do with that common ground in a way that works for everyone requires experience, which if I’m honest is hard to find in an industry that has only been around for a short time. We firmly believe that this is the most innovative and exciting industry in a generation – but it’s being tarnished by a lack of experience and low-quality partnerships.  The other problem with influencer homogeneity is that it has led to an obsession with data, with the industry attributing value to influencers based on numbers alone. This is causing many creators to buy fake followers in an effort to be discovered. That’s not to say that there isn’t a place for celebrities and reality TV stars who build a presence online – of course there is. But it is important to understand the distinction, and make informed decisions from this. It is now incredibly easy for anyone to call themselves an “influencer” – a term which has become symptomatic of the challenges facing the industry today. The biggest is that it has lumped everyone labelled an influencer into a homogenous mass of people. It doesn’t distinguish the “talent” – those creators who have an expertise to share, produce high-quality content, have a purpose in what they do, and maintain a deep connection and dialogue with their trusting community – from those who use the influencer label as a means to define their status, but have no real value beyond that.  To combat this, brands should come at everything through a talent-first lens. It’s about putting yourself in the shoes of talent to ensure that creativity and authenticity come first.  As the industry has evolved at pace, and the volume of content creators has spiralled, this unique talent has taken a back seat in the eyes of many who seek to define the industry under the catchall term “influencer”.  Main photo credit: Jules Ameel / Getty Images Being a digital-first talent is about having a natural ability to do something that people want to be part of: from fitness and make-up artistry through to cleaning and food creations, and sharing that online.  The problem with the industry whatsapp Digital-first talent are real, authentic, accessible, and honest. Find the talented influencers People become influential because of the talent that they bring. No two creators are the same, and their value should not be measured by the number of followers they have or how many likes they accrue from post to post. BLOOMINGTON, MN – APRIL 15: Social media makeup celebrity ILuvSarahii meets fans during the NYX Cosmetics opening at the Mall of America on April 15, 2016 in Bloomington, Minnesota. (Photo by Jules Ameel/Getty Images for NYX Professional Makeup ) Doing so means that the talent are true to who they are, their audience gets something that they value, and the brands benefit from great results.  Share It’s not always plain sailing operating in a new world, and challenges are a byproduct of being innovative.  This is dangerous, and leads to a number of complications. Under the influence: brands must stop focusing on follower counts But if the industry is to rebuild trust, the value of truly talented content creators must be realised, so that only the most creative, strategic, authentic and effective campaigns are delivered.  Ultimately, it’s about finding common ground between the talent, the brand, and the audience.  I can guarantee that the best talent-led brand partnerships are yet to come. Data is still important, of course, but it should be combined with expert insight and experience to inform talent selection, not dictate it. Without that layer of human knowledge, it’s impossible to determine whether a talented creator is the right fit. Dom SmalesDom Smales is chief executive and founder of talent management business Gleam Futures. Monday 15 July 2019 10:18 amlast_img read more