What’s in an Influencer?

There have always been certain people out there, the people who are wearing an outfit you envy, have the latest gadget you’re coveting, provide tips and tricks to make your garden perfect, or have the best parenting advice you’ve ever heard. These people have taken to the internet to share their wise words with the masses, and the best of the bunch end up with huge communities.


Incidentally, over the years we as a society have become more cynical towards traditional marketing and advertising, disregarding traditional advertising media like TV commercials, magazine ads, and even banner ads on websites.

The convergence of these 2 seemingly unrelated things (or are they?) have made for a new climate for marketing and advertising. Brands have found that tapping the people who have developed large online followings, or influencers as we call them, can be a great way to get in front of a cynical audience in an organic way.

Okay, now that we’ve moved past the jargon, the jist of influencer marketing is pairing brands with influential people that appeal to their target market. The key to all of this is doing it in a way that doesn’t scream “BUY ME,” but rather “here are ways you can use this product to make your life better/more stylish/easier/etc, and look at this person you love doing it.” Sounds pretty good, right? Influencer marketing is a win-win for both the brand and the influencer because the influencer gets compensated for promoting products and the brand gets exposure to their target audience. We could even call it win-win-win™ (88 Creative is working on trademarking the term) because the consumer can also be labeled a winner if they find out about a product they love.

To most of you marketers this is old news. You’ve been using influencers to build your brand for many years, but where is it all going? Recently, Instagram cracked down on spam accounts across their network and many influencers were outed for buying followers, and this isn’t just 100 followers we’re talking about. Some were seen to have purchased followers in the 6-digit range. As a marketer, I found this deceptive but as a user of Instagram, I could see the appeal. Don’t get me wrong – never would I ever buy followers for myself or for my clients on any social network, but I do see the benefits influencers get as their networks grow and it just gets better as the follower numbers get higher.

The backlash was severe within the influencer community, but outside of that I haven’t seen much of a ripple effect. Many of these influencers maintained their brand partnerships, proving that numbers are important but a great relationship is key. Building great partnerships that make sense for both the brand and the influencer will become the most important part of successful and long-term influencer marketing. We will also see more of a symbiotic relationship between brand and influencer because in the end, the influencer built his/her community based on their tastes, so who better to know what the community wants? I’ve been a part of a brand relationship like this and the results were amazing!

Here at 88 Creative, we believe in influencer marketing. We have seen its effectiveness and we’ve developed partnerships with many Toronto-based influencers and bloggers who have done some great work for us. Working with people like Erica Ehm from Yummy Mummy Club and Jen McNeely from She Does the City has been great for our clients and their communities.

Do you have a community of dedicated readers? We want to work with you! Send us a note with your areas of interest to hello@88creative.ca and we just may be in touch for our next campaign.