Have we lost all sense of authenticity? Influencer marketing trumps passion for products

By Daniel Cherrin
Founder and CEO
North Coast Strategies 

I want Kylie Jenner to like my work as a PR professional and I want her to post it on Instagram.

jeansIt worked for Fashion Nova. Jenner, the youngest and most successful of the Kardashians, with her Kylie Cosmetic line, recently posted a picture (a pic for the Gen Y’rs) on Instagram (Insta for the Gen Y’rs) and simply said, “I love my Fashion Nova jeans,” gathering 2.2M likes.

Traditional media is great if you can get it and a good PR agency or publicist should have the relationships or wherewithal to help you determine what is news. However, influencers have followers and if they can promote your product on their Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter account, you will see visitors to your website spike.

Disney, BMW, Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple are some of the most authentic brands according a recent article in Business Insider, but they too pay influencers to talk about them.

Adidas, for example, created a group of their own influencers, called the Tango Squads. These are groups of socially savvy 16-19-year-olds, in 15 select markets, creating content around soccer. According to Marketing Week, “Each group is managed by an Adidas in-house team, who share exclusive content and new products with the group, before they are even unveiled on Adidas’ Twitter or Facebook channels.”


MORE: Hear more about social media marketing strategies and tools at the Digital Marketing Boot Camp, Feb. 15.


Influencer marketing goes beyond Adidas hiring Kanye West or Puma hiring Rihanna, or even Dunkin Donuts tapping Vine sensation Logan Paul to promote a donut.

This makes my job in PR much more difficult as well. Newsrooms are shuttering and the journalists that remain are working on multiple stories and being asked to post their stories first on Facebook and Twitter, even cover the event live using Facebook Live.

The trick with influencers is to find the ones who have significant followers, within the 10,000 to 100,000 range, but who also still illicit good audience engagement that drives results.

You can look for a celebrity and pay big bucks by working through their agents, you can work directly through the celebrity if you have the relationship, or you can also work through an influencer agency to find the right influencer for you.

In working with a celebrity or other influencer, you want to research their background, interest, and passions.  Make sure there is some connection between your product and the celebrity before contacting their agent. To gain an influencer’s attention, follow these four tips:

  • Find the hook. Make the connection and make it personal. Influencers are constantly being inundated with pitches. In your pitch, let them know you follow them and give an example of why you were attracted to them. This includes why they are the perfect fit for your product and how their followers could benefit from it.
  • Find the money. Influencers make a living by getting paid to promote products, so be prepared to budget for influencer marketing, but feel free to negotiate fees creatively.
  • Be prepared to give up editorial control. Influencers want to do it their way and don’t want you to tell them what to say or how to say it.
  • Know the law. There are laws now directing influencers to provide certain disclosures. Depending on the industry, such as medical devices, food and cosmetics, additional disclosures and diligence are required.

In advising companies today it is important for PR agencies to tell their clients that it is in their best interest to develop their own content and find the influencers to broadcast their message. Whether you pay them or not, it is important to find the right people to talk about you and your product.

Although I cannot offer you jeans, I encourage you to share this article, to tweet it, post it and tag me with any post at @DanCherrin (on Twitter, Instagram).

DANIEL CHERRIN | is the founder and CEO of North Coast Strategies and a partner with M10 Marketing, an integrated marketing agency. Through advocacy, collaboration and strategic relationships, Daniel Cherrin has built a successful career, as an attorney, lobbyist and public relations professional. This includes serving as the Communications Director for the City of Detroit and Press Secretary to the Mayor of Detroit, federal lobbyist for the Detroit Regional Chamber and the owner of an independent public affairs consultancy. Daniel believes the way forward is to engage! Through strategic communications, strategic relationships and something valuable to share, Daniel works to protect and enhance the reputation of organizations and people in the public eye. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCherrin or www.NorthCoastStrategies.com.

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