How should companies work with "influencers"?

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MidOH

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I'll settle for a sport 2.0.

But if the rear axle is still made out of wood, I'll be forced to review it as such.
 

2dub

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I'll put a little different take on this. My side gig is I operate a forum in a particular niche (not overlanding). My forum is nearly 12 years old and I have a very strong following. I started (shut it down and will be restarting shortly) a YouTube channel, with moderate success. Am I an influencer? Depends on your definition. I have Facebook posts from my forum page with over 250K views and for my niche that is very good. I do feel people in the community place value in what I have to say. Do I have 100K+ followers, subscribers etc, No. But I have a loyal and vocal following that is important to me.

I have been given from various providers free products to promote. Even with my smaller niche I am very careful what I review/promote. I have returned products telling them I cannot promote their item. I feel, and maybe because I have a smaller niche, it is more important for me to protect my reputation. I have worked hard to be where I am in the community and if I start promoting garbage, all that can quickly be lost. My first priority to to serve my niche. Everything else is secondary, including making money from it. I think that is where some "Influencers" go astray. They start making the promotions and influencing and see some money coming their way and let it take priority and then they may have started as legit, but turn into shills.

Now when I get back into overlanding, I will probably have a YouYube channel, an Instagram account just for overlanding, but will I try to become an influencer, hell no. I'll do it for fun. If I get some views, likes, subscribers that's great. But I am not an overlanding expert, I haven't been in the game in many years (I never heard of it referred to as overlanding until 5ish years ago. My friends and I would just say were going out on an adventure trip) I've been living vicariously through the OB forums, YouTube, Instagram, etc. I hope in the next 2 years I will build a rig and get back into it. But my point is I think people in the know would see through me as a poser if I tried to pass myself off as an expert overlander. I've seen some of these poser's videos and even I can tell that they are just trying to become an influencer vs have a deep passion they want to share.
 
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Lanlubber

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Honest review? Great.

Shill? Nothing I hate more, and they are easy to spot, particularly the ones trying to get their "audience" established
Are you talking about people who have utube sites and show you everything they have for their travels ? Does this include people on OB who post in the "what did you buy today" forum as well ? Does it include anything in an OB forum that you've seen. Just asking for opinions ! I see OB as a way to inform us on products the members feel worthy, but there could be some sales pitches too by some.
 

Lanlubber

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Honest review? Great.

Shill? Nothing I hate more, and they are easy to spot, particularly the ones trying to get their "audience" established
Had to use my dictionary again for "Shill", never have heard it used but then I have never been in sales either. LOL
English lessons on OB ???
 

Renegade

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As consumers are you every really "influenced"?
My view is they are people who want free stuff and will say anything to get it. In fact I often think they do more damage than value add.

I have stopped watching Trail Recon for example because he is now bought and paid for, can't believe anything he says.
 

bgenlvtex

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Are you talking about people who have utube sites and show you everything they have for their travels ? Does this include people on OB who post in the "what did you buy today" forum as well ? Does it include anything in an OB forum that you've seen. Just asking for opinions ! I see OB as a way to inform us on products the members feel worthy, but there could be some sales pitches too by some.

A "shill" is a stooge or a plant, bought and paid for. "Truth" is a variable.

No, I like honest reviews and appreciate honest reviews and helpful posts, that is what makes forums great.

I'm talking about the sponsored "influencers" the OP is asking about, which generally equates to a shill.

Company X sponsors "Gomers Offroad Adventures and Gear Review". Is Gomer going to give an honest review or is he going to reward his sponsor? In some cases they will be honest, in many more not so much. This is why nobody takes printed magazines seriously anymore. Giant advertiser in magazine, giant article in magazine raving about a giant piece of shit and how exceptional it is, best in class, blah blah blah.

Shills.
 
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Lanlubber

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Agreed, which tires? I just bought all of my suspension parts and tires are next on the list.

As for influencers, I can't stand them. I've stopped watching certain channels because it was obvious they were promoting a product and didn't disclose that they were sponsored by that company. I also have bones to pick with people when they want you to pay for gps coordinates. I could rant all day about a lot of crap when it comes to the youtube and the gram, but I've been accused of being an angry little man.
Honesty is never rewarded unless you pat yourself on the back. You have to admit it is hard to distinguish honesty from out right fraud. I dont think I have ever bought a product that was advertised on TV, They are the masters of deceit. I remember in my younger years many of my friends would get jobs in sales and the first customers they seek out is you. What friends ???
 

Lanlubber

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I generally go out of my way to avoid buying a product or service that an "influencer" is pushing. I'll also quit following someone who has transitioned from a fan to an "influencer", like the folks with Expedition Overland. This is more or less my personal social media policy, but it ties in nicely with this topic.

Reviews by real people are the influences that convince me to buy a product. It is real easy to pinpoint reviews that are not genuine because they all read the same, have the same hidden links in text or video and have way too much enthusiasm for the product or service. Vendors and fabricators who pour their heat and soul into the product and the community their product is intended for get my immediate support.

A squirrelly bearded guy telling me how wonderful Product XYZ is on a neat table in a YouTube video embedded with links usually steers me clear of said Product. If the squirrelly bearded guy asks me to 'follow' them in any regard, that solidifies my opinion of Product XYZ and is a sure fire way to loose me as a customer and/or follower.
Why does OB put names on us. They have me labelel as "Influencer 1" (you guys don't like Influencers), others are named Advocate , Enthusiast, Traveler etc. What do the names mean and how do they give you a name and a rank of some sort ? I wrote OB once and asked but no one answered my question. What say you @4wheelspulling , do you know anything about these titles OB gives us ?
 

Lanlubber

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Just a bunch of shills. Give them nothing.

They just make your companies look stupid. I'm not impressed that your spokesperson is a 98# dork, with a lumberjack beard and capri pants. If you can't change a tire, or drive sober, shave.

This newb was an ''influencer'' with a strong youtube following. Ripped someones leg off going whisky throttle, lost control of the jeep for about 50 yards of travel. Then had the audacity to blame the pedestrian he almost killed in quite possibly the dumbest off road crash of all time. (brake pedal is the one in the middle yo)



I think I'll avoid taking advice from cracker jack ''influencers''.
I admit I am a sucker with face to face Shills (ha I used it too) ! Looks like the mountain crack is about to have lunch. Open wide now .
 

MidOH

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There's a ton of shill Dodge NPE's posing as Ford fans on the Ford truck forums. Even a ton of Dodge adds at those forums. It's not hard to spot the Dodge shills, but they don't get banned because of those huge banner adds. $$$$ talks.
 

Lanlubber

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A "shill" is a stooge or a plant, bought and paid for. "Truth" is a variable.

No, I like honest reviews and appreciate honest reviews and helpful posts, that is what makes forums great.

I'm talking about the sponsored "influencers" the OP is asking about, which generally equates to a shill.

Company X sponsors "Gomers Offroad Adventures and Gear Review". Is Gomer going to give an honest review or is he going to reward his sponsor? In some cases they will be honest, in many more not so much. This is why nobody takes printed magazines seriously anymore. Giant advertiser in magazine, giant article in magazine raving about a giant piece of shit and how exceptional it is, best in class, blah blah blah.

Shills.
Okay, I gotcha and I fully agree. Everybody come on in to see the two headed man and the bearded fat lady !
 
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KonzaLander

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Why does OB put names on us. They have me labelel as "Influencer 1" (you guys don't like Influencers), others are named Advocate , Enthusiast, Traveler etc. What do the names mean and how do they give you a name and a rank of some sort ? I wrote OB once and asked but no one answered my question. What say you @4wheelspulling , do you know anything about these titles OB gives us ?
I have no clue how the name and/or rank system works on OB. I also don't care about those type of labels.
 

Lanlubber

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I have no clue how the name and/or rank system works on OB. I also don't care about those type of labels.
It's some kind of ranking we are supposed to be proud of. Like the military or Shriners. They also have a number, yours is 2967, mine is 4000 but it hasn't changed in 3 months or more. I want more numbers, who do I complain to about it ? The highest number must be 4000 because I haven't seen one higher. Your stuck with your label, like it or
not !
Oh yeah, we have the member number too that gives the low numbered member's a one up on the higher numbers. LOL