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Jun 20 Paid Influencer Marketing: Please Don't Kill the Golden Goose

Aesop’s Fable proves a valuable lesson about paid influencer marketing.

There have been a lot of opinions proffered recently about paid influencer marketing. Some say it works, like this chart showing a $9.60 return for every dollar invested.

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But then you have Gawker, with headlines like, "The Influencer Economy is Collapsing Under the Weight of It's Own Contradictions." The weird thing is, they're both right. The difference between these criticisms, as we see it, is where their focus lies. Should we as marketers be focusing on the influencers or the quality of the content they produce?

Many influencers are like hens – they pump out mostly garden-variety content (eggs) that’s not particularly special or unique in any way. If you focus solely on this type of low-value content, it would be correct to give influencer marketing a bad rap. Lots of people are making money with this sort of pablum.

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The Moral of the Golden Goose

Aesop’s Fable about the Golden Goose has an important moral – something that can easily be applied to the practice of influencer marketing. In the fable, the goose is killed by the farmer in order to get to the lump of gold he believes her body must contain.

The goose has no such lump of gold and the farmer is left with nothing – because of his desire to gain immediate wealth, he deprived himself of the gain he was assured of every day (the golden egg). Or put another way, short-sighted actions can destroy the profitability of a valuable asset.

Paid Influencer Marketing: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Well-screened, proven influencers are like golden geese – they produce golden eggs (content) that are extremely valuable to brands. Quality content doesn’t have to come from the influencer with the largest audience (in fact it usually doesn’t). It does have to be authentic, original and visually appealing (who doesn’t love the look of a fabulous native product shot – a.k.a. golden egg?!).

Once you have this great content woven cleverly around your brand, you can put it wherever it makes sense to ensure it is discovered across the social web – Pinterest, blogs, Facebook posts, Tweets, etc. And then good content does something magical – it travels across the web on its own momentum.

Bad influencer marketing – garden variety posts that are obviously regurgitating branded content, influencers who only run sponsored posts, accounts full of #Sweepstakes posts and void of originality will kill your golden goose without you getting one single golden egg.

Carusele’s Golden Geese

At Carusele, we have been carefully tending to our golden geese. Our stable of 7,500 pre-screened influencers only produce original posts on topics they’re genuinely interested in (and as a result, so are their audiences) which results in content that doesn’t sound like an ad – because it’s not.

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Our geese have produced more than 2 billion impressions for some of the world’s biggest brands. The resulting golden eggs are beautiful, original branded content that is discoverable long after our campaigns wrap up.

Our clients now own those beautiful golden eggs – without having to pay the ridiculous fees associated with content creation for various types of advertising.

With all the negative commentary surrounding the effectiveness of paid influencer marketing, we need to ensure the golden geese don’t end up dying off. The focus needs to shift from the influencer to the quality of the content they produce – the golden eggs. After all, it’s the actual content that gets results.