Influencer Marketing With Gordon Glenister

Thomas Green here with Ethical Marketing Service. On the podcast today we have Gordon Glenister. Gordon, welcome.

Welcome to you too. Lovely to see you, Thomas.

It’s good to see you. Would you like to take a moment and tell the audience a little bit about yourself and what you do?

Absolutely. So, I’m an influencer marketing specialist. I am also the founder of the branded content marketing association’s new influence division. So, I guess I’ve founded one of the first associations for influencers, YouTube bloggers and influencer marketing agencies because I felt it was an area that needed to be represented. It’s sometimes been referred to as the Wild West, and it’s an industry that has grown so rapidly which we’ll talk about in the next, sort of, half an hour or so. But yeah, my background before that of course was I used to run a trade association for 11 years in the promotional merchandise industry. And I did that for about 11 years and then left that, got my own membership consultancy. You never know where that’s going to go when you start something new and one of the people I met was the global head of the Branded Content Marketing Association. We met in a Charlotte Street hotel and we said why don’t we do something for the influencer marketing industry? So, that’s what we did and since then I have created a podcast called Influence with global podcasts on influencer marketing. I’ve done, sort of, (unclear number 0:01:36) episodes which give a voice to the industry. And then more recently, as you can see behind me, I’m the author of Influencer Marketing Strategy. So, I’ve written a book about it to really try and help brands, entrepreneurs, and anybody, really understand what influence marketing is all about. How to do it properly because I think there’s a lot of people that are in it or would like to be more in it, but not necessarily sure of how to do it properly.

Well, congratulations firstly for getting the book done. I know it’s no easy feat.

Oh, it isn’t. It isn’t. It took me 18 months and my sister, bless her, said to me in your first year of business – I said I’ve got an opportunity to maybe write a book. Shall I do it? And I’ll never forget her words – no, because it will take a lot longer than you think, and she was absolutely right. And ironically because I was still relatively new to the industry, I had to do a lot of research. So, I’ve actually made the book almost like a compendium of knowledge, so there’s, like, lots of influence – you can say glossary of terms, lots of reference points. I wanted to almost use it as, well, what do I need to know about this industry, rather than somebody that’s been in it for, sort of, ten years or so. I think it’s coming from my eyes and nobody else. You’re right, it took a lot longer than I thought.

Well, to start with, I know that definitions are tough but to ensure that everyone’s on the same terms, what would you say the definition of an influencer is?

I mean, I think it’s an interesting point, isn’t it, because it means different things to different people. And ironically, within the influencer industry, a lot of them – because it’s been somewhat maligned by mainstream media – will often refer to them as content creators. So, I think, you know, from my point of view, it’s somebody that has a credible audience, somebody that’s got knowledge, and actually, an engaged community that people want to try to be part of. So, I think trust is important, knowledge is important, and content creation, all of those things are important. And then of course when it comes to influencer marketing of the sector, this isn’t necessarily anything new. If you look at Marlboro Man and you look at some of the individuals that we’ve followed in the past and, sort of, word of mouth, we trust the opinions of others more than we do traditional advertisers, particularly amongst millennials. In fact, I saw something a little while ago that said only they trust one per cent additional advertising, one per cent. But they’ll actually more than likely go and find products and ideas from their favourite influencers or content creators, particularly in the gaming industry and fashion sectors. But yeah, so really influencer marketing is about, you know, using individuals for the purposes of marketing and conveying your brand message in an authentic way.

That is actually one of my questions that you touched upon which is, how long has it been around for? Because typically when people think of influencer or influencer marketing, it’s all to do with social media. But your definition essentially means that you can be an influencer or an influence marketer via any means, all you need is an audience and it needs to be engaged, essentially.

Absolutely. And, you know, let’s not forget an influencer could be a journalist, it could be a scientist, it could be anybody that actually people look up to and they have the ability to influence the behaviour of others. I mean, you know, we can have a gathering of friends, of course, can’t we, but some people are more influential. If you think about people that come to parties. Who are the people that are always running parties? Are you going to go to Jane’s party because, you know, they’re influencing us, aren’t they? And actually, funnily enough, Thomas, there has been a huge growth in what we call nano influencers, and those are individuals that have got audiences of less than 10,000 people, which is even spiralling downwards to, sort of, consumer advocacy programs. So, lots of brands are now putting together what they call ambassador programs where they are working with people that are literally great customers, they’re great advocates of their brand, they love the product, and of course, they’re more likely to tell their friends. That doesn’t necessarily mean, of course, they had to pay them. It might mean that they give them offers. That might mean that they give them access to an opening of a store, whenever that comes around, or it might mean that they just produce engaged content that people love to see and watch.

Do you cover brand ambassadors in your book?

There’s a whole section on brand ambassadors. There is.

It’s interesting because – yes, especially from a marketing perspective, you would think that you’d really only focus on the people with the big audience. But I suppose it’s another way, you know, if you have someone or if you have ten people that can reach 10,000 people or you have one person that reaches 100,000 thousand people, you know, it’s essentially the same thing, depending on the engagement of course.

And of course, the other thing is that when you’ve got a range of people, there are slightly different niches within that. So, it might mean that you’ve got different age profiles. Even within beauty and fashion, you can have somebody that is under 30, you can have somebody that is catering for the 40 plus, but they’re all fans of Clarins or they’re all fans of a particular product. But what you’re likely to do is to get a different type of content and a different message, and that’s what’s so exciting about working with influencers, is brands are learning more about their customers and consumer behaviour by working with influencers. That’s why when they run competitions – in fact, what I’ve found particularly interesting is the growth of new products. Some brands now have started to say well, rather than have a fait accompli, this is our new product. They’re actually starting to realise this could be a really great way to create a product. In fact, I was only speaking to somebody recently on my podcast about this where they went over to Brazil to create a sweetener and they used influencers. They flew them to Brazil for five days and during that time their product was created in those five days. So, they came up with the brand name. They reached out to their audiences. They learnt a lot about what type of products that they would like. What the brand message was going to do. And of course, once you’ve then created that you’ve almost got a ready-made audience for that product.

Yes, it’s something that they’re engaged in and they were a part of as well, I suppose.

Indeed, and to be honest, the way people measure influence marketing now is a lot more about engagement rather than just sheer followers. I mean, yes, brands do want reach of course, but it’s so important to work with influencers that absolutely align with your brand values, and that you’ve done the proper research with those individuals just to make sure that they haven’t worked with a competitor. They haven’t used language in their posts that don’t resonate with your brand. But yeah, that they’re completely at one.

Well, I wanted to ask you about a brief, sort of, breakdown of the industry and the context behind that question is, for example, we offer some pay-per-click services. So, in our advertising agency, we would charge a fee in exchange for managing a pay-per-click account, and the reason why a customer would do that is because we might be able to get them a better return than what they would do themselves. So, what’s the equivalent for influencer marketing?

I mean, obviously, there are some influencer marketing campaigns that are gifted. There are others that are paid for, you know, and sometimes it depends on the scale of the number of followers. So, for example, if you wanted to work with a nano influencer or maybe a smaller micro-influencer, you might want to send out new products in terms of gifts, present them in such a way that you hope that they will then promote that to their audience. And of course, well, if it’s without control, it doesn’t have to have the same level of advertising disclosures as it would if you were paying for it. But yeah, I mean, in terms of return on your investment – it has been one of the bugbears of the industries sometimes, I have to say, but that’s all about doing your proper research and making sure that you attribute your goals and objectives to the campaign. So, like any sort of goals, isn’t it, they need to be smart. People need to make sure that they are setting this great brand awareness. Are you trying to create reach? Are you trying to create, you know, cost download for acquisition? It could be then that you are using something like an affiliate link, maybe like a 10 per cent which is attributed to that influence that you can then directly attribute back. I mean, you know, there are platforms like rewardStyle which have been hugely successful, particularly amongst the fashion and beauty influencers. I mean, some of those females, in particular, because on their platform it’s very fashion and beauty, is like 90 per cent women. Some of those individuals are earning like 50 to 60,000 pounds a month, and if they’re earning that sort of money through affiliate marketing, you can imagine how much they’re generating for the brand. So, I think it is about, you know, using links, but then let’s not forget as well that one of the benefits, particularly in stuff like YouTube and blogging, there is that evergreen content where it’s staying around for a longer period of time and still generating leads, you know. I mean, Charlie bit my finger video. Do you remember that video? Yeah? I was just looking at that the other day. How many views do you think that has had now on YouTube?

Well, I heard it’s got to be in the hundreds of millions, is it?

879 million. That’s insane – 13 years ago. And recently, I think a year ago, the brothers met up together and that got six million, so when they were a lot older. The amount of money that will have been generated through, you know, ads on that account will keep earning money and keep generating impressions for the brand. Does that answer your question?

Well, I’m somewhat distracted by the Charlie bit my finger thing now. That’s all I can think about at this point. That may be why it’s so popular, like, past a certain point. But the summary of what you said for me is, you go to someone with an audience and you have your goal – so, whether that’s branding or whether that’s initial return – and they either get paid or they get gifted something in exchange for what your goal is. So, you’re trying to reach a particular goal and you go to the influencer with that in mind. Would you say that’s a good summary?

Yeah. And also, I think one shouldn’t forget that influencers can be amplifiers but they can also just be great content creators. But there are lots of examples of where brands have used photographers and videographers that have a modest audience, maybe a few thousand but do amazing content. And effectively, what they’ve been doing is they’re then using that content on their own websites, on their own marketing collateral. I’ve even seen influencers appear on bus shelters, you know, in other forms of media because the content is so rich, different, exciting, engaging. I mean, if you think about a classic photoshoot for an advert, how much money that would cost and yeah, you’ve got some of these individuals – you know, this is what I love about a lot of these influencers. They’re great multi-talented individuals. You know, often photographers, videographers, directors, location students, audience builders, website builders, you know, they’re digital natives, a lot of them. And it might surprise you if we exclude maybe the B2B sector, the average age of an influencer is 28, with a very high percentage being females. But what we’ve seen very successfully is a lot of entrepreneurs find their niche and develop their brand by being an influencer. But what I will say to people, and certainly your listeners, I mean, so many people tell me I want to be an influencer. What do I need to do? You know, I just need to get a load of followers and off you go, and it’s just so not that. A) It’s crowded now, there are a lot more people doing it, and I always say to people start off with a passion, start off with something that you really enjoy and the tighter the niche the better. If you’re all things to all people you’ll not get picked up and noticed. So, if you want to be a fashion influencer – probably one of the most crowded – perhaps focus on swimwear. Perhaps focus on lingerie or jewellery or something like that because that’s more likely to get you picked up than if you’re all things to all people.

The reason I was smiling was because your answer segues nicely into my next question. I wanted to ask your opinion or your thoughts on attempting to do it on purpose versus it happening by accident. So, of the successful people out there – because like you said, there are plenty of people that now want to do it as a result of seeing people who are doing it – but do you think the percentage of people who are successful influencers, what do you think that is in terms of they did it as a result of having a skill versus, you know, I’m going to essentially manufacture this celebrity online?

Well, I mean, when it comes to manufactured celebrities – I knew one particular individual that went on a series on Netflix, for example, and on the Thursday, she had two and a half thousand followers. And once the show aired, she was at 1.2 million one week later. I mean, that’s insane but that’s much more about, what I would call, celebrity type of influence that happens. And of course, those people are just following her without even knowing too much about her. Whereas the individuals that I would say are professional influencers, are those that are absolutely focused on their purpose. They’re totally aligned to their cause and their values, and they’re the ones that are very successful. By the way, we’re not talking about individuals only, there are lots of examples now of family influencers of, you know – every niche is catered for. But I think my answer to your question is, own that niche and be consistent in all of the content that you create. If you are doing stuff for families, make sure that you’re constantly creating content about family values. Because the moment you go off and do a piece of content that is not aligned to that, it doesn’t fit with your purpose, and your audience is following you because they’re interested in that.

Okay. So, what I take from that is if you’re going to be successful at it – which coming back to the people who are successful is very much a by-product of the stuff that you’re already doing?

Yeah. I mean, there are a couple of people that I thought you might be interested in. I love this guy. He’s called the Yacht Guy. And he was always fascinated by superyachts, so he basically started to take some video footage around these superyachts when they were at marinas or exhibitions and shows. And he started to build up a real audience. Effectively, what he was doing is bringing the life of the superyacht to his audience, plus he’s got his own take, his own style on it, and before you know it, you know, some of these big brands like Sunseekers and various other big luxury brands were inviting him inside. And so, he was not only seeing it from an exhibition point of view, he was also seeing it live at the ports and then he’s become a bit of a celebrity. And now he’s got, you know, millions of subscribers on his YouTube channel. Similar to Supercar Blondie – I don’t know if you’ve heard of her? But she has amassed millions of followers. An Australian enthusiastic, I would say, influencer and content creator. So, she does the same sort of thing but with supercars, and what makes it particularly interesting is she gets to see limited edition ones. It’s all on YouTube so you get the whole she’s pressing the buttons and the doors go up and she looks in the engine and, you know, she really excites the viewer. So, it’s not just about showing content, it’s bringing your own enthusiasm and energy and all those things that you can’t get necessarily from, you know, one-dimensional content.

Coming back to the celebrity topic that we touched upon, what would you say the difference between celebrity and influencer is if there is one?

Well, I think when it comes to celebrities, they have often been celebrities because of film, television, music, you know, mainstream. Whereas I think a lot of influencers have become famous through social media, i.e. Instagram and YouTube, so they’ve come at it from a slightly different angle. And in fact, many influencers in a way have become accidental celebrities because they have huge follower bases, bigger than some celebrities, and certainly engagement rates. And that is also because of the point I was making a few minutes ago, about their niche. Supercar Blondie was an example because it’s very tight. Whereas celebrities tend to be more broad than that. And now some of these celebrities are realising that – I mean Kylie Jenner was famous for charging one million dollars for an Instagram post which is obviously insane. The engagement of that would be very low of course because of the size of her Instagram audience, which I think is about 170 odd million or something. But, you know, lots of brands are realising that they want to work with a range of influencers because it reaches different types of audience. They’re also exploring new audiences as well. They’re uncovering them almost as a result of working with these individuals. But yeah, I mean, I think it’s a niche, it’s content creation, it’s multi-skilled individuals. Whereas the bigger celebrities are largely famous for, you know, entertainment, music, or a particular call.

You mentioned influencers essentially becoming more famous than celebrities. It makes me think of a particular trip that PewDiePie took where he was absolutely mobbed and there were rumours going around – I think it was Japan but I might be fudging the details there – and there was, like, rumours going around that he was in the country and people were looking for him and this sort of thing. And when he arrived at the airport it was like Brad Pitt, essentially. Have you got any thoughts on PewDiePie specifically?

Well, an amazing individual. Just shows you how successful he’s been and there’ll be people out there of my age and above who’s never even heard of this guy. It just shows you, doesn’t it, but amongst their audience. There’s another lady called Tiana Wilson, and she’s around 14, and I include the case study in my book actually, but she runs a YouTube channel called Toys And Me. And she reviews toys and talks about them and has her own personality. And, you know, she has grown to – I think it’s about 11 or maybe 16 million or something on YouTube. It’s insane to think that many people are following – but of course, we wouldn’t be following her – amongst her teenage audience it’s crazy. I think it was in 2018 or 19 that she partnered with a social media agency and they created a range of licensed merchandise with her. They did a pop-up store in Bradford shopping centre, and over that weekend they had 20,000 people come to see her for a meet and greet and go and buy products from her. I mean, unbelievable. Some people were queuing for up to five hours just to get a photograph with her and it was raining, you know. Products being sold every 20 seconds. I mean, as I say, there are lots of images that I’ve put in the book about it. It just amazes me how she has really created that. And then just following that she did a partnership with Asda because Asda was promoting a range. So, what they decided to do was – I think in one of the offices, the manager’s offices or one of them – they recreated her own home. So, when she was doing her, sort of, live stream to her audience, you know, she was talking about the new range of exciting products and then when she pulled the curtains back, it wasn’t her own home but it was the Asda store. There’s a really great piece of content that’s entirely relevant to that brand application, so I must admit, I love that. And that’s on the back of something like Ryan’s Toys. I don’t know if you’ve heard of Ryan’s Toys, have you? I mean, he is equally a youngster, under 10 still, and in 2019 he’s reported to earn 22 million dollars.

I didn’t know specifically what he was called but I have heard this story.

Yeah. Isn’t it incredible? It really just, sort of, blows me away. And there’s another lady called Becky Lyn and Becky was a big Chinese influencer. And they do worship them over there. I mean, some of these individuals, they are – well actually, I think it’s quite a culture, isn’t it, China and Japan. If you’re famous they really go to town. And she famously sold 100 Minis in less than five minutes.

Do you mean the car, Mini?

I mean the cars.


In five minutes. I think it was a limited edition. It was a new brand. But they looked so cool and literally people just went ahead and just bought them. It’s all over the internet. It’s incredible.

It is amazing.

Yeah. But that shows you the power of influence, it really does. And we were talking at the beginning of this about ROI. Well, if that isn’t an amazing ROI, I don’t know what is.

Because it’s so different, I mean, you always almost need a different word for it, don’t you? Because it’s just, like – I mean, if you get that one person for your brand, for example, Mini, then yeah. I mean, the selling a product every 20 seconds example, so I’m surprised they had anything left in the store.

Yeah. I mean, it really was, it was insane. It was so quick, yeah.

What would you say are the common mistakes in the approach to influencer marketing, both from the businesses’ perspective and also the influencers’ perspective?

When it comes to the business, I mean, I would first of all say they don’t do their research. So, they reach out to people that they think might be good for them or they put an advert out and they think by just sending a direct message, they’re going to get a response. They’re going to perhaps give them a free product. Let me tell you, around 65 per cent of influences ignore outreach emails, and they ignore them because there’s no thought that’s gone into them. There’s no sense of the approach being tailored to them. It’s almost like getting an inbound email that says dear all, dear influencer, you know what I mean? So, don’t ever do that. Treat these people with respect. Treat them with care. And what I would say is go and start looking at their content, liking it, commenting on it, and then when you’ve got the right approach, you know, really think about that email properly. And there’s a whole section I put about this in the book. Well-crafted email that takes consideration of what they’ve achieved and how you’d like to work with them, but perhaps use the word collaboration. That’s a sort of industry buzzword. You know, there’s no master/servant relationship here. It’s about proper collaboration. And also, these are individuals that are going to promote your products so you want to make sure that it’s a good fit. You’re interviewing them but in a way, you’re interviewing potentially the best candidate you’ve ever had, so you need to do it with care. And obviously, there are ways in which you can find influencers. You can do so on Instagram on YouTube just by searching hashtags or Google search, but there are also very effective tools out. There are influencer marketing platforms and there are influencer marketing agencies that specialise in the area that will actually help you to do that. Effectively, it’s a huge database of those individuals so you can search by, you know, their audience, for example, because the last thing you want to do is you need to know what their audience demographic is like. What’s their age profile? Their gender profile? But there’s no point in saying well, I want to work with this female influencer because she looks great, I like her content, but actually, if 80 per cent of her followers are men and you’ve got a perfume brand for a female, maybe it’s not right. So, it is absolutely doing that research properly. And try to build up a relationship with them. I think that’s really important. Okay, and then from an influencer’s point, you know, how do you become more professional as an influencer or do it properly? Well, first of all, you know, prepare for the long haul. This is not going to happen overnight. Start to follow other influencers that you admire and that are in your niche, and follow carefully what they’re doing. Look how they are engaging with their community. Again, it’s proper research. And then look at what you’re going to do that potentially might be different. Another thing, of course, is you could reach out to the people that are following your competitor, if you want to call it that because arguably, those people that are following your competitor could also be interested in your type of content as well. Use video, definitely, that’s no question about that. Also, make sure that your Instagram feed is consistent. Maybe even look at getting some presets. Go and have a look at Beautifully Defected, Louise Simpson. She’s a great example of somebody that has a fantastic aesthetic. So, it’s really colour coordinated. She’s a family blogger but she talks about all sorts of very important issues in our society. But everything that goes on her feed is of this lovely, sort of, pinky purpley filter. And that’s why people like Johnson’s Baby, you know, want to work with her because what they’re doing is – effectively what you’re doing is having your own CV or media pack. So, that’s another thing you should do is think about putting together a media pack that you can then send out to a brand that you’d like to work with. So, those are just a few of the ideas, there’s more than that but that’s just to whet the appetite.

Well, I think you’ve touched on a lot of the things that I was about to ask you about, but other than that, have you seen any common traits of people who are, you know, excellent at the top of their game?

I’ve got a number of influencers that are part of the PCMAs, a lot of influence. I mean, Louise Simpson is a good one. John Adams is another one, dad blogger, Dad Blog UK, won an award. Who else do I like? I mean, some of the other people I mentioned already, the Yacht Guy and Blondie, they’re also very good because they’re consistent and they’re close to their niche. Yeah, there are loads of others. You’ve put me on the spot.

It’s all right, feel free to come back to it because my mind works the same way. It’s, like, I’ll get the answer just to something a couple of minutes after someone asked me, but you’re giving great value, so thank you very much for it. What do you think are some of the misconceptions of being an influencer?

So, you know, there has been some bad publicity in the media and I think that’s because some of that has been the, what I would call, the TV driven ones or the ones that are a little bit need-focused, look at me, you know. I mean, I was appalled by some of the content about individuals on the beach in Dubai, I won’t lie. You know, much as I’m a great supporter of the industry, I thought taking pictures and content when we’re all going through a pandemic was not a good move. So, being sensitive to the world that we live in, being sensitive to your audience, has taught a lot of people what’s right. And of course, brands are also very sensitive about that as well. They’ve been stepping very, very cautiously the last year as well. And that’s why those organisations that are standing out and doing good by society will be those that recover well, you know, like Leon, for example, giving out loads of free lunches to NHS workers, Nike investing in helping and supporting people exercise at home and, you know, lots of other organisations. And it’s the same with influencers. Those people that have been helping people – I mean, Joe Wicks, of course, he got off the block very early, didn’t he, and tried to keep the nation fit and that’s a classic move to not only grow an audience very quickly but also be very aware that things are going to be different, what can I do to help? So yeah, I think that really.

We donated a lot of that ad revenue as well so, kind of, speaks to what you were saying.

Yeah. It makes a difference because people see you as much more authentic. I mean, just going back to non-authentic. The industry has had issues around fake followers. So, one thing I would ask anybody to do never, ever, ever buy fake followers, fake news, because it will come around to bite you in the back. Not only that it will affect your engagement. Brands will buy on engagement and look for people that have got that. And that’s the other thing is if you’ve got people that are wanting to follow you on Instagram or something and you see that they’ve got more followers or you think they’ve got a dubious profile, you know, block them or unfollow them because it’s better for you to have less people that are engaged and want to know more about you than those that are not. We need to read the industry of organisations that even go around doing this and bot followers as well because I think that hasn’t helped the image. I mean, what’s really good now there’s a lot of technology tools now that will actually help organisations spot big spikes and inauthentic activity and they are making the decision. Don’t underestimate this. Brands are making the decisions now on your audience profile because they are using tools that enable them to do that. If you want to be serious about being an influencer, you know, don’t go down that rabbit hole.

You touched on a couple of things which are fake followers and the creation of content during a pandemic. I do like to ask sometimes – because my company’s Ethical Marketing Service – have you got anything to note on the ethics of influencer marketing?

Funny enough, a project that I’m working on at the moment is a company called And not only are the products or ethical clothing fashion style products which are enabling us to show the supply chain and the impact it’s having on every individual, what we’re also doing is we’re reaching out to influencers that share those values as well. So, as it happens, we’re just in the process of doing this so I don’t have any results per se. But I do think it’s important now, particularly amongst younger millennials and Gen Z, ethics in influencer marketing is quite high on their agenda. In fact, I was talking to somebody just the other day and I don’t know where I saw it in a survey but it said two-thirds of influencers are rejecting brands’ campaigns if they don’t align with their ethics. So, not just with their values but their ethics as well, so yeah. And when we saw that, didn’t we, in the pandemic. Right at the beginning of March 2020, if you remember, some brands were seen to be very good at looking after their employees and others were not. And, you know, influencers don’t want to work with brands that don’t look after their people.

I know that one thing which I think social media companies have been trying to make more transparent is disclaimers. So, like, this is a paid product placement type disclaimer.

Absolutely. And again, I’m a great fan of this. The advertising standards authority is now looking to clamp down on influencers and content creators that are not using this because I think it should be very, very clear. I have no problem with influencers being paid for. I absolutely believe that they should. If they’ve taken time to build up an audience and they are promoting brands and products and services then they should be, in the same way, that you’d pay for an advert, a TV campaign, a radio ad, you know, it’s a form of advertising. But brand placement is our better description of it, in a way, because that’s the type of advertising that feels like it’s congruent to the content as opposed to just, you know, look at this product I’m holding. And actually, a lot of the smart guys and girls don’t want to do that either. In fact, what I found interesting is that they don’t want to just be like advertising robots because potentially it would damage their audience, and they’ve worked up a long time to grow that. So, where I think brands can do really well is when they can engage with an influencer, not as just amplifiers, like, this is the message that we’d like you to put out, but start to frame it like, you know, these are the sort of brand messages we’d like you to consider. And then the influencer comes back to them with their thoughts on the type of content they can create around that. So again, it’s this word collaboration, isn’t it? It’s how can both sides benefit together? Not this we’re the advertiser, we’re going to pay you, push this advert out. That just doesn’t work in influencer marketing.

How did you get involved in this particular space?

As I said, I think at the beginning, I never planned to, it was all born out of a need to represent and support the community. You know, my background is in trade associations and, you know, professional bodies and I just felt as though the influencer community, the agencies, were not represented. So, we created this new division that the branded content marketing association influencer to represent the sector. And in the next two weeks or so we’re bringing out a set of industry guidelines which is in excess of, sort of, 15 pages on what organisations should do to make sure that they comply with the regulations and do it properly. I always think, you know, influencer marketing has a phenomenal return on investment, and we’ve seen instances of 11 plus more ROI and others. Quite amazing. But I will caveat that by saying when done well. So, you know, if you don’t follow the right steps, if you don’t think about your objectives, you don’t work with the right people, you don’t measure the campaign properly, then you may not get the results that you want. That’s why I’ve written the book because I want to be able to actually show people, do it well and you’ll find the results amazing.

Have you done any collaborations yourself, either as a promoter or a brand or a business?

I have but only more recently, and I mentioned the Isle of Green which is an example. I’m looking at launching a new rum brand and we’re going to be using influencers with that which is very exciting. I also run masterclasses now which effectively is like a three-hour session really, just helping organisations navigate through the program. Because there is an argument that says if there’s too much information, too much overload, I don’t know where to start. So, what I wanted to try and do is demystify that and simplify it, you know, and I’m a simple man so I try to create it in simple language.

So, I have to ask but, you know, if it’s spoilers let me know. Have you got any anyone in mind for reaching out to for your rum brand?

No, no, I can’t tell you what it is because it’s under wraps.

It’s super-secret. No spoilers here.

Yeah, exactly.

Well, when you do perhaps collaborate with someone let me know and I’ll retweet it or whatever that looks like.

Yeah. That’s great.  Super. Thank you, Thomas.

No problem. Have you got anything that you think would be valuable to the audience that we haven’t mentioned today?

I think one of the things I could mention is what can content creators do for you? We’ve mentioned some of them but I just thought I’d highlight a few others. They can obviously amplify and build audiences. They can also be community managers but if you’ve got, like, a membership or something, you can, you know, hire them as part of that. And there’s a thing called Social Media Takeovers, I don’t know if you’ve heard this, but effectively for a particular campaign you can hire them to run the campaign, not just be the amplifier but it could actually run them for you. So, you’re not only understanding what it’s like from an influencer’s point of view but you’re getting some real insights into what they do and how they are successful. Obviously, photographers and videographers for content. You can use them for conferences, for getting people to come to events. Always think about if you’re going to do a discount code, try and attribute it more generally to that individual. So, rather than make it broader, like the name of the Conference 20, perhaps create Louise Conference something, so that you can try and attribute that specifically back to that influencer. And, you know, if you’ve got a new app that you want to launch and there’s been a huge growth in using influencers as marketing techniques to get people to sign up and register the app. Don’t underestimate the power of TikTok. I mean, TikTok was one of the fastest-growing apps downloads on the internet and it is now gathering huge momentum in the influencer marketing space, particularly amongst the younger audience. And we should never underestimate that, you know, influence marketing is not just about selling stuff, it’s about entertaining, educating, as well because those are the new sales in a way, aren’t they? If you entertain and you educate, that automatically falls down the funnel, you know. People don’t want to be sold, they want to be inspired, educated and entertained. So, I guess that’s about it really.

I’ve learnt a lot so thank you for all the sharing that you’ve done today – that’s a pun.

Thank you so much for giving me the chance to speak to your audience today.

Have you got any goals regarding the book?

Well, there’s a couple of things. It’s going to be launched in America at the end of March which I’m excited about, so very soon, and obviously, that’s the biggest market in the world. We’ve managed to get the agreement to translate it into Portuguese because Brazil is phenomenal for the influencer market. I mean, if you’ve got a million followers on YouTube your, like, small fry. So, we’re super excited about that and yeah, I mean, I’m not necessarily going to make loads of money from selling the book, I think it’s all about trying to position yourself as a thought leader and somebody that knows this subject and wants to help lots of other people do the same.

Okay. Well done again for becoming an author. Gordan Glenister, where is the best place for people to find you?

So, they can find me on my website which is or if you have an interest in the membership sector My podcast is Influence the global podcast that shines the spotlight on influencer marketing.

A busy man. Well, thank you very much again for all the value and I will speak to you soon.

Thank you so much, Thomas.