Social Influencers: the most resourceful weapon in your creative arsenal

Frederico Roberto

11 Jun 2020 · 4 min read

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It’s one of those adages that we keep hearing over and over again: “the best ads don’t look like ads”. Well, guess who creates ads that don’t look like ads, 24/7? You got that right. Influencers.

Influencers have been around now for 10 years+ (not to be confused with ‘celebrity endorsements’ which have been around since the dawn of time) and they’re not going anywhere, anytime soon. I fully anticipate that creators will continue to thrive, becoming even more tuned in to their audience and creating relatable, relevant content.

Allow me to expand. I’m one of those that truly believes that for every time a marketeer says ‘brands need to talk and act like a human’, a cute Humboldt penguin slips on ice and hurts its little wings. Brands are mental constructs created by clever messaging through different channels over a period of (sometimes) years. And that’s done by corporations with, most of the time, the same common goal: Sales. Right? Cool. We got that out the way, let’s move on.

Now, one of the ways – if not the only way – to get people’s attention and drive them to action is to appeal to their emotional side. Tap into what matters to them. It might sound like an outdated point-of-view, but people do buy emotionally and justify rationally. As David Ogilvy once said, “Our job is to present our clients’ products facts in a fantastic, appealing way”. Something like that. I’m terrible with quotes.

Back to my original point: Who doesn’t need to pretend that they are emotional human beings? Exactly. Influencers.

Influencers are emotional human beings themselves. They are real people like you and me that have passions, motivations, lives and problems of their own, laundry to do and – even after all of that! – they still up the ante by putting themselves out there, in what I call a ‘vulnerable act of courage’. Open to both praise AND criticism.

I reckon that this is the fundamental difference between ‘normal’ corporate comms VS. conveying a message through these people’s platforms. The ‘2-way street’ element of social media makes it oh-so-fast, oh-so-real, conversational, accessible, relatable, and definitely much more human.

Most agencies and brands still aren’t as agile and/or cost-efficient enough to know how to adapt to a community that’s ever-evolving. They operate in an old business model that’s very TV-oriented and in which Media agencies still shift most of their budgets towards the number of eyeballs, and that’s it.

Well, it isn’t 1960 anymore and the truth is, yes, unidirectional comms via traditional advertising channels still has its place in the marketing mix – obviously – but most agencies don’t give a toss about planning for something that will bring far more positive sentiment to a brand. Because (let’s face it), that’s hard work: having to deal with different platforms, different people, different messages, different personalities, different goals, different reports can be seen as a chore when compared with a more ‘simplified’ project such as TV planning and audience reports.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing TV or TVCs. For years – maybe even still today – they’ve been the summit of creative communication in advertising, both in craft, and the impact of the so-called “big idea”. But over the past 10- 15 years we’ve witnessed the rise of content creation in different ways: new channels emerged (Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, to name the usual suspects), plus new tools; from smartphones to better and more powerful cameras, able to create borderline Hollywood-level content, to better and stronger computers, hardware and software. All of this allowing us to put our vision out there if we’ve the time, dedication, and resourcefulness.

So, (and I recognize I’m being really simplistic here) when choosing between creating a very expensive (but very beautiful), one-directional project with a corporate message (most of the times disguised as caring for what people are most passionate about) OR a much more cost-efficient, still super sleek-looking, day-to-day, entertaining, human, relatable type of engaging content, take a wild guess at where the interest is going? Yet again, you got that right. Human Stories.

All more impressive is the fact that people are consuming hours and hours of content both on Instagram and Youtube (sticking with the main ones here) without batting an eye, but if a 60, 30, 20 or even 10-sec commercial spot comes along they’re dying to switch the channel or skip it.

I myself have created several Influencer engagement campaigns over the years, (an example here for your perusal) and the rule(s) of thumb to work with them for the most impactful, authentic and smooth output is:

I’d like to thank you for your time reading through these blurbs. I hope you find them useful. Or as my grandmother – an influencer of mine with an audience of 2; me and my brother - used to say: People will look at your pretty faces and you’ll get their attention. But if you open your mouth and stupidity comes out, they won’t follow you anywhere.”. RIP nan.

Frederico Roberto is the Executive Creative Director at Interweave Agency and the CoFounder of International Creatives London. You can follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

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