How to Avoid the Influencer Marketing 'Catfish'

Remember Catfish, the MTV reality TV program about online dating where participants tried to lure others into a relationship via a fictional online persona? For WHOSAY co-founder and EVP Talent, Harvey Schwartz, the term could be making a comeback...in the influencer marketing realm.

"Our goal is to find great matches, and avoid the 'catfish,'" Schwartz said about the delicate process of matching top-notch talent with brands for successful influencer marketing campaigns.

Schwartz wrote the essay “Is Whitelisting a Win-Win for Brands and Influencers,” for MartechSeries, where he argued in favor of whitelists or "pre-approved and vetted lists of influencers for brands to work with."

"Only the top 10% influencer talent within each segment are reliable and professional creators,” he says in the article. That’s why professional vetting is essential to navigate the crowded influencer space, where it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the number of options available.

"With hundreds of thousands of potential influencer partners across the social landscape, the uncertainty of picking 'wrong' is a growing one," wrote Harvey. "Whitelisting looks to ease that burden on brands, with lists geared toward matching companies to complementary and professional influencers from celebrities to micro influencer." Add to that WHOSAY data from 400+ successful influence campaigns...et voilá!

But there’s a caveat. As Schwartz says, "don't just borrow the influencer audience, you'll need to work together to create effective, engaging content." When brands see influencers as "uniquely, creative, brand partners" the relationship becomes natural, which facilitates the creative messaging to fit both the brand and the influencer in an authentic and seamless manner.”

"Smart vetting, with highly creative influencers; beyond the selfie, hyper-targeted to paid audiences are just a few of the ways a traditional content play can go from white noise to roaring success," Schwartz concluded.