Influencers don’t matter

Do influencers matter? How do they affect the performance of your marketing campaigns? Here’s what we think.

Stefan Lim / January 15, 2021

With projected spendings of up to US$15 billion a year, we are seeing an across the board increase in influencer marketing activities for businesses from retail, FMCG and even travel and hospitality.

Closer to home, as activities intensify, cynicism over the effectiveness of influencer marketing seems to have crept up. Amid the chatter, with healthy demand and an influx of consumers all offering to create brand content, the skepticism and doubt might not be unwarranted.

So, do influencers matter?

Here’s what we think.

Generic influencers don’t matter

Effective influencers have a specific craft and skill that people look up to and follow. It’s important that you identify that admirable trait and understand why people follow him or her.

On the contrary, if the craft is lacking or the trait is not strong, there’s no real reason for people to follow and there’s no impetus for you to associate your brand with them.

So work with influencers who process a trait or craft that you admire.

When we worked with a Singapore radio station to promote its music stream, we identified emerging talents who would perform to a sizable community of fans online. Their admirable craft? A brilliant ability to croon a cover and mesmerise their fans.

Similarly, our work for a brand of household cleaning products saw us activate designers and stylists with a beautiful home. The admirable trait? An aesthetic ability to make spaces look beautiful and inspire other homeowners to do the same.

Disengaged influencers don’t matter

The recipe for failure: a disinterested influencer with a disengaged follower base.

If your influencers are never interested to respond to people on their feed, they are not good enough. If they do not own an engaged follower base who will be curious about your product, they are not right.

We see this very often, people asked a question and all an influencer does is to direct them to the brand’s website. It isn’t good enough. Your influencers need to articulate your product well and if they don’t, it is a problem of attitude, ability or both. And this is how we can deal with it. Pick willing influencers (through an analysis of their attitudes for past work – can help) and empower them with complete information about your product. There is no shortcut. Before the start of every campaign, we facilitate on-boarding sessions between brand owners and influencers without fail. And along the way, we nurture the relationship between brand and influencers constantly, never letting it become transactional.

Influencers who cannot rally their audience don’t matter

Not all influencers can sell, but all influencers must have the ability to influence actions.

While it is ideal to run a campaign that results in a purchase decision, it is equally important to achieve actionable and measurable outcomes before the purchase. For example, actions such as the number of sign-ups for a product event, participants for a contest and subscribers to your mailing list are quantifiable outcomes that are also useful for the brand.

So this is how we justify conversion. We work with influencers who can rally and design quantifiable actions that are useful for the brand. Never should we run campaigns that do not require actions from the audience, and render our efforts immeasurable.

Influencers who cannot create, creatively, don’t matter

If you need to put the influencer in a studio with a photographer, you aren’t exactly activating a modern day influencer. The content they create in the studio is staged and unreal. You are, at best, hiring a model to pose with your products.

Instead, you want them to create content that shows how your product is applicable to them in real-life. Today’s influencers are hybrids – they are experts in their domain and makers of inspirational content.

The singer who performs for a live audience also makes good quality videos of his performance. The home cook who whips up a feast also frames beautiful photos of the dishes she creates.

Influencers who are unprofessional don’t matter

Most influencers you are working with are independents, but that does not mean they should be less professional.

Brands tell us that they avoid working with people who

  1. need to be micromanaged.
  2. are always late with their submissions
  3. miss post dates
  4. are not responsive
  5. overlook requirements in the brief

Thankfully, most influencers we track are responsible people but we still design the platform to help those who need help.

Our ranking system lets brands rate influencers they have worked with – this lets others in the community learn about the intangible qualities of a personality they might be keen to work with.

We implement tools to manage the workflow. Deadlines for every task are set explicity and reminders are triggered automatically at every stage of a campaign. This eliminates ambiguity and late submissions.

Together with all the brands we work with, a lot of emphasis is being placed on professionalism. We believe the ability to be accountable to our commitments is the cornerstone of a successful campaign.

So, these influencers might not matter. Yet, lending the voice of a consumer-creator to spread the word about your brand completes your marketing mix. The marketing matters.

Picking out the right people and working effectively with them will be the challenge you need to overcome. And they can be overcome.

Here’s where I put a plug in for The platform helps you scale the production of content through creators and influencers alike. Applying analytics from social media and best practices for enterprise workflow management, you can now manage large groups of influencers concurrently with the least effort and hassle. It’s akin to building a virtual content team that never runs out of ideas and never stops producing content for your brand. Sweet. Have fun making content!

Have something to say? Reach us at


Stefan takes a keen interest in developments related to digital marketing, gamification and influencer activation. He was co-founder of a digital creative agency, and is currently poking his nose into issues he feels strongly about.


If you would like us to take a look at your plans for an upcoming campaign and suggest improvement opportunities, let us know how to contact you. We reply in minutes.

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