What does it mean to be an Influencer ?

The delicate balance between social learning and influencing

By Jennie Moore

Disclosure: We are a professional review site that receives compensation directly or indirectly through affiliate marketing from the companies whose products we review. We test each product thoroughly and give high marks to only the very best. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own. Visit www.fintechdetails.com for brands we have worked with.

It’s a ghastly title being called an Influencer. It strongly resembles being called a bully in the schoolyard. But the title has stuck in the marketing world and you can see it in several industries including accounting.

What is an Influencer?

An Influencer is someone in a specific industry that is knowledgeable about their audience and provides solutions for them through their online social media channels and speaking opportunities.

This can be particularly challenging for individuals that promote peer to peer learning through social media forums like Facebook Groups. With the rapid change of varying technology, folks have turned to social media to gain up to date information to keep pace with the ever-changing climate of app interfaces, functionality and features.

Are individuals who own Facebook groups for social learning also influencers?

What are Influencers required to disclose?

By definition of the Competition Bureau Canada. The answer is likely yes if they have received any of the following.

  • Received payment in money or commissions
  • Received free products or services
  • Received discounts
  • Received free trips or tickets to events

If an individual has received any of the above benefits from a third party as indicated by Competition Bureau Canada then they are required to disclose their connections with the business, product or service that is being promoted. 

 

The Competition Act is established to ensure truth in advertising. Consumers rely on social learning and therefore on the influencer to be transparent about their opinions they share online about products and services. The point is to be genuine and impartial to avoid deceptive marketing.

 

Best practices for Influencers to follow:

  • An Influencer page that discloses all partnerships with parties in which material compensation has been provided
  • A disclosure on blog posts indicating that companies have provided compensation to your article(s).
  • A disclose for any affiliate links
  • Hashtags on social media posts whenever possible indicating #Sponsored #Ambassador #Partner
  • Disclosure within the description of social media channels that may promote social learning.

Why are Influencers popular?

With the drastic decline of print media, the rise of social media is here to stay.

Prior generations read about solutions provided by influencers for their industry through newspapers and print media. With the daily newspapers going into extinction readers have turned their attention to social media to find information through a concept called social learning.

What’s different about Influencers now?

What’s unique about social media influencers now is that they don’t have to answer to anyone like an editor. Their voice is genuine, unedited and pure. These individuals have a strong social presence on social platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn. You will also see them with their own editorials called blogs.

Are there fake Influencers?

Absolutely there is. Just like there are fake nails! Fake Influencers typically have paid followers. That’s right! Even the people following them are fake too!

Public Relations (PR) firms and marketing agencies allocate their budgets to Influencers to write, speak and frankly promote a solution or product. With money involved, you can downright believe there are gold diggers hanging around.

Usually, these individuals are influences for the money and will frankly promote anything. Their messaging is obscure and the products or solutions they promote are likely something they’ve never used!! It’s unethical and frankly gives people like me a bad wrap.

How can you identify a fake influencer?

It’s hard to sniff out if someone is genuine or not. But here are a few tips to determine if an influencer is truly someone you should listen to:

  • IG Audit is an online tool (or a bot) to see if followers of an Influencer are fake on Instagram. Here’s a neat article by Influencer Marketing Hub on How to Spot Fake Instagram Followers
  • Check an Influencers following on social media. If comments on their posts are short and sweet like “OMG You are amazing!” or use a string of emoji’s then have likely stumbled upon a fake influencer. Move on.
  • Check the following of Influencers and if they have no comments that’s a red flag too. Genuine influences have a devote following who actively comment or discuss what is being posted. It’s called social media for a reason. It gets people to be social and chat!
  • Look for obscure posts. A fake influencer will just about promote anything. True Influencers have a vision and a specialty they focus on.
  • Do they speak in public settings like a conference or just post random photos? Can anyone attest to the messaging they deliver? Is it accurate?

Why am I a Micro-Influencer in the Fintech industry?

Microinfluencers typically have between 1,000 to 1,000,000 followers that are attracted to their funny or inspiring content that niche down into a specific industry. Micro-influencers are looked up to for their expertise in a specific industry such as photography, food blogger, traveller, fashion diva or fitness guru. 

I take a positive influencing approach to the products and solutions I write, speak and perhaps even dream about! It is important to me that the products and offerings we talk about have been thoroughly vetted through my testing. Values are extremely important to me. Especially transparency. I’ve stumbled into being a Micro-Influencer in the Accounting industry by helping accounting professionals and small business owners make bookkeeping simple through my social learning initiative called Fintech Details.

Today we continue to look and review solutions that help make bookkeeping simple. Our approach is to be true to our voice, genuine and honest before compensation. We develop a relationship with each brand we work with to ensure an everlasting continuity of support for our following. 

Connect with me here should you have any questions about influencing or wish to get in contact with me to review your product.

Yours in apps,