It takes a lot of money to give you license to treat someone like crap. And they’ll still resent you and wish you dead. In the gig economy, the interview process goes both ways. Your favorite lifestyle influencers are actively vetting you with the same rigor you’re using to discern whether they’re influential enough to be worth the pot full of money you’re willing to pay them for post or partnership.
Some agencies on Madison Avenue are starting to get it as is David Goldsmith, Chief Strategy Officer at WEGO Health. They’ve been working on building respect-based and trust-based influencer relationships with his caregiver and patient community for over ten years before opening up the 100,000+ influencers they’ve cultivated over that decade to organizations, companies, and brands outside of their agency-side. The result is WEGO Health Experts. Gerris partner Dan Krueger and I jumped on a call with David Goldsmith last week Friday and it was kismet city. David and I are fellow alumni of The WELL (email@example.com here) and we’ve obviously been involved and engaged by online communities since before the web via the world of text via telnet, an Gopher- and USENET-based Internet.
We also recognize that most every message board registration, Twitter-handle, Facebook wall, every single channel on YouTube and profile on Instagram represents a beautiful child of God and not just a Klout score or a sticky metric or an Influencer Score or a follower/friend/subscriber count or even an engagement.
Even lifestyle influencers and lifestyle bloggers and Instagrammers, who are pretty much all lifestyle influencers, and the lifestyle YouTubers with their lifestyle channels are beautiful children of God as well and deserve to have every one of their perceived Millennial snipes, snarks, and the perceived lack of appreciation and perceived entitlement that they exude forgiven because they’ve been treated like crap a lot before they became the bells of all the balls and have taken over advertising for where all the ad dollars are going these days.
Forgive them and “Be Kind; Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Hard Battle” — remember, hugs not horns. No matter how jerky they’re all being to you, suck it up buttercup — they’re just doing what you’ve done: exerting all that leverage and newfound power back on you. Either way, it doesn’t change the fact that we’re all looking for connection, appreciation, respect, and understanding — including insufferable Millennials.
YouTube calls all these people creators. They’re artists: screen-ready, podcast-ready, photo-ready, and are willing to put in the time in. If you read last months article in the New Yorker, #Vanlife, The Bohemian Social-Media Movement, you’ll quickly learn how much work goes into taking Instagram selfies of your leisure, surf-obsessed, life living in a van with a super-hot lover. It takes hair and makeup and a bit of samulacrum to turn the back of a van into the place of dreams where toned, tanned, terrific legs prop up against a van wall while the beautiful #vanlover lingers, lounges, and reads the real life hard-back book of some French philosopher or maybe Goethe.
So, I believe that their aggressiveness and the surliness and snark is a direct response to how they as a group have been treated in the past. They’ve grown so worried about the fickleness and thin skin of their advertisers and sponsors that everyone in the world, it seems, has a Patreon account. The tagline of Patreon? “Best way for artists and creators to get sustainable income and connect with fans.” For those of you not in the know, “Patreon is an Internet-based platform that allows content creators to build their own subscription content service.”
It’s like a persistent Kickstart for makers and digital artists. But instead of raising money to launch a product, business, or the remake of a movie, Patreon allows fans to directly pay online influencers to continue have the freedom and incenting to keep on making and creating. It also allows all the patrons to curry favor and earn the power to request online mentions, to get a call out, to be featured, to be named in closing credits, or to have the leverage to influence future content or topic. Money from Google isn’t reliable and agency product sponsorship can be patchy but having the financial support of your friends, fans, and followers turns out to be the gift that keeps on giving.
Yes, we’ve driven them to that and it’s totally fair. We do care more about numbers, reports, ROI, and impact more than we care about the contributing parts of that Borg. To too many of us, they’re more “the influencers” and “the micro-influencers” than they are the lovely individual named Jamie Morton, the Trihardist.
So, mea maxima culpa, actually, because while Dan and I were on the phone with David Goldsmith, it occurred to me that lifestyle influencers can separate their opinions from their compensation. Quite a few months ago, one influencer responded to my outreach by asking for payment but adding that that money wasn’t to buy the review but to pay for his time. It was an opportunity cost and in no way buying content.
That there are only 24-hours/day and only seven days in a week and only 365 of those days in a year and $250 bought one of two of them. From learning about how David Goldsmith actually advocates for his 100,000 healthcare and medical patient and caregiver influencers and experts, getting them consulting gigs and speaking gigs and actually taking them to the next level, grooming them into topic expert consultants, what Madison Avenue is doing, building partnerships with their influencer network, is very appealing and a very smart innovation.
While Dan and I are still the experts in earned-media micro-influencer marketing with over a decade of practice and almost twenty years of combined experience, we’re very excited to start building relationships with other influencer marketing agencies, consultancies, and agents.
If you’re interested in learning more about influencer marketing, micro-influencer marketing, or earned media micro-influencer marketing, please call me or email me or check out my company site or my own personal website — I look forward to connecting.