“People much prefer to be active participants than passive ones.” Wrong for starters.

I was reading a formal paper a few days back from a marketing automation firm. I wont name them because I don’t want to give them the oxygen and I’m not into public naming & shaming. They called the paper ‘Best Practices in Social Influencer Marketing’. I see a title like that and I’m curious what on earth they mean.

I then see they’ve taken one of our own company’s original phrases – that of working “to, through and with, influencers” – and prominently highlighted it on their front page. It was a term we publicized when creating the original 2007 Wikipedia entry on ‘Influencer Marketing’. Not surprisingly they used it unattributed. Another red flag to me.

They then wrote a series of absurd statements to make their claim that they understood social influencers. I picked out these gems as further proof of the rubbish some companies write.

 “Becoming an influencer is simply another form of viral marketing, only you’re indirectly promoting yourself instead of your company.”  Just garbage.

 “Good quality influencers post smart and post often.”  I have no idea what they mean by ‘good quality’ influencers! I can only think they mean someone who’s trying very hard to be influential.  Which is patently very different.

 “People much prefer to be active participants than passive ones.”  If that were the case, how come 99% of any blog’s readership are passive and only 1% ever post comments or interact with the author? How come people sign up to follow hundreds of tweet streams yet rarely contribute to any of those conversations? How come we all hate websites tracking us? Human nature dictates that when it comes to social media, the overwhelmingly vast majority much prefer silent, passive roles than active participation.

And there were many more sentences I could have picked out. It was laughable. I can understand what this company is trying to sell. They’re trying to encourage subscribers to their no doubt glorified bulk-mailing software. I just wish they didn’t try and jump on the ‘influencer’ bandwagon when they clearly have no understanding of what they’re talking about. Yet another company muddying the waters and confusing everyone.

Maybe I should go against my nature and actively write to them!

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