Recently, a saga between a luxury hotel owner and social media influencer Elle Darby went quite viral.
The gist of it is that Elle Darby (with 87,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel) has written in to Charleville Lodge in Dublin for “free” accommodation in exchange for some postings and reviews of the hotel on her social media platforms.
The hotel owner Paul Stenson however flatly turned it down and the reply may not be perceived to be polite, and also implying that social media influencers should not be freeloaders. One event led to another with Elle Darby also defending her side of the story. I will leave it to you to read more.
There will always be heated debate about the roles played by social media influencers and how they should be compensated.
We want to put the discussion in the right context. We feel there is absolutely a legit role played by influencers, whether the influencers are TV/movie/sports celebrities or they have great followings on the social media.
Politicians can have great followings and are influential too, think current POTUS on twitter.
Marketing is about branding, creating awareness, building loyalty and finally sales conversions. If social media influencers are the best bet reaching to your target audience, then collaboration with these influencers should be in your tactical marketing plans.
Therefore, the above saga is unfortunate in that there is no alignment between what the hotel owner and the social media influencer each wants.
Imagine if the luxury hotel is just starting out and the 87,000 YouTube followers are mostly potential customers and they do look to Elle for hotel recommendations, a 5-night free hotel stay give-away may well be worth the reach that can be achieved.
I guess at the end of the day, it is a commercial transaction if emotions and relationships are removed from the equation.
Objectives and deliverables need to be defined in any marketing campaign, and if the influencer marketing goal (example brand awareness) is achieved, then the influencers have valued added.