The Rise (and fall) of the Influencer

The Rise (and fall) of the Influencer
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“Hi team! (If you knew anything about my brand you’d know it's me behind the keyboard, Marlo)

Really love your label and your designs. I’d love to work with you in collaboration if you're interested? (Wow this is so specific I can really understand why you love the designs)

Can’t wait to work with you, (You aren’t even following my brand on Instagram and not once have you engaged with my content)

Thanks

@XXXX”


Do you know how many emails and DMs brands get a day with these generic, uninteresting messages? I would love to know how many brands this one message was sent to and how many responses to collaborate they received. 

They say it's a numbers game - if you shoot off 100 messages you’re bound to get 1 bite.

Since launching the brand in May I have had hundreds of these messages. Occasionally I respond with “What type of collaboration did you have in mind?” knowing full well what they’re fishing for….FREE STUFF!

And sure enough the response goes something like this; “I’d love some pieces of clothing and in exchange I can give you a high res image. My 450 followers would love this content”

Hold the phone - can I get back the minute I wasted reading this email?

I understand - you want free stuff - don’t we all? But what blows me away is the lack of ability to add value. What value is this collaboration bringing to the table? 

  • Can you deliver high res imagery from an established photographer and 4+ feed posts? 
  • Do you have an organic instagram audience that is engaged and shows synergies to my own? 
  • Will you share your engagement rates and prove to me that I’d be an idiot for not working with you? 
If it’s D) None of the above what on earth am I getting out of it?

    It appears everyone is now an Influencer. If you have an Instagram account and more than your dog is following you - I suppose you can call yourself an Influencer.

    Once upon a time when 'LIKES' were visible and people were still using Facebook the title of Influencer was a genuine title. If you had 25K actual followers that were addicted to watching your life unfold and wanted to buy what you were wearing and eating and consuming you were a powerful marketing tool to brands that wanted 'in' on your audience. Nowadays given the saturation of the market and the amount of bikini pics I see a day - finding cut through on a platform that has over 1 billion users a month is a tough gig! 

    The act of gifting contra product is an interesting one - brands that flood gorgeous girls with 10 garments a week in the hope that they wear just 1 piece seems wasteful and not very personal. At the start of the year before marlobymarlo.com had gone live a beautiful (& very established model) asked if she could try the Marlo by Marlo linen collection. We agreed on deliverables and she was so excited to receive her outfit...Fast forward 7 months - I messaged, emailed and commented on her posts looking for some kind of acknowledgement that she had received the hand made garments (specifically made for her) in the mail and whether or not there was any intention of her wearing them/loving them/or posting a picture in them - to absolutely no avail. 

    I’m not a charity. I cannot give out handcrafted products for nothing, I can't stand the idea that the garments are just sitting in a pile of other unloved and unworn clothes never to see the daylight and most frustratingly I cannot believe that some ‘Influencers’ are so self entitled that this behaviour is OK.

    I took it personally...can you tell? 

    On the other hand, a few months ago a gorgeous blondie called Sophie reached out to me - she gave me an insight into who she was, she’d just moved to Sydney and was looking to grow her audience and network, she already had an audience of users, was represented by an agency and promised to deliver A, B & C in exchange for a MBM item. 

    She came across as an actual human being - who was going to deliver value - where do I sign?! I responded to Sophie, we got chatting and a few months later she interviewed me on her podcast High Tides and Salty Vibes (take a listen) - I suspect we are going to watch each other grow for years to come. 

    I believe the key to influencing is all in the name - do you have influence? We can all see if you’ve bought 15K of your 20K followers, if you have bots spamming your posts, if your target audience is men and (importantly to me) if you stand for something. 

    But if you’ve got 6K followers all organic and engaged, with awesome content shot on a decent camera and you’re a good human being - lets connect!

    Sidenote: If you’re an app developer please feel free to help me code up a ‘Rate Your Influencer’ app integrated with Instagram that allows brands to review their experience with influencers so we can steer clear of the self entitled. 

    Marlo x


    Talent is God-given; be humble. Fame is man-given; be thankful. Conceit is self-given; be careful

    - Harvey Mackay

    3 comments

    • Claire : September 25, 2019

      I always enjoy reading what you have to say. You write so eloquently. This entry was particularly interesting to me. I can’t believe someone would receive your amazing clothes and never wear them. Such a tragic waste. Thanks for the great read. X

    • Kirsten: September 24, 2019

      Word girl – word!!!!!

    • Courtney Steltenpool: September 24, 2019

      It makes me so annoyed that people would take advantage of you like that – especially when you’re such a hard worker!

      Loved this post, you speak nothing but truth.

      Court x

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