Influencer Marketing In Need Of Industry Standards

Expect an "implosion" of video stars within the next couple of years because there are a bunch of 15-year-olds sitting around in Middle America with lots of likes and followers "ogling" to work with brands -- but that won't happen, said Brian Salzman, founder and CEO at RQ.

Today's pay-to-play influencer model can't sustain itself, he said. The industry needs standards, he told attendees at OMMA LA earlier in the week. The influencer that represents Swiffer can't be seen in another video talking about or walking around using a floor-mopping product from another brand.

Marketers don't want the social junkies who buy likes from a vending machine to become influencers. In exchange for a small sum, a Russian vending machine sells fake Instagram likes. 

A fundamental principle of marketing is to create long-term relationships between brands and consumers, and marketers need to do the same with influencers. "My mom always taught me you are who your friends are," he told Digital News Daily via phone Thursday. "The influencers need to become your friends -- your family."

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Kids today are trend-seekers and they're looking for the next big thing, Salzman said, noting that some of the more successful YouTube stars make millions annually.

Brands need to work with people who have passion about their products. 

Authenticity, the biggest buzzword for social in 2017, requires brands to build the relationship. "it can't be about the likes and the shares," Salzman said. "It has to be about people."

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