Followers Don't Matter. Talent Does.

Joseph Perello

Conventional wisdom among marketers states that the more followers someone has, the more effective and efficient they are at persuading their followers to take action.

At one time, this was true, but things have changed. What matters today is talent. 

Several important factors are driving this shift:

  1. Social platforms like Facebook and Instagram limit the reach of influencers' organic posts to about 10% of their followers. Influencers with 1M followers don't reach 1M people organically.

  2. Savvy marketers understand that driving social engagement is good for the social platform but not necessarily good for the brand. To drive tangible value, marketers must cause consumers to engage on their brands' websites, where commerce happens. 

  3. The only sustainable way to engage consumers on brands’ websites is by regularly publishing and promoting authentic content. (See how Patagonia and Red Bull do it.)

Audiences are Craving Authenticity
What was so appealing about influencers is that they seemed, to the consumer, to be independent advocates for a brand. When brands engaged with influencers, it felt as if they were driving word-of-mouth, the holy grail for all marketers. Again, this was true at one time, but consumers see past this. They crave authenticity, not another form of low-end celebrity endorsement.

Talent Wins
The best brands today embrace a new kind of advocate: independent, professional content creators (writers, photographers, and filmmakers) with deep expertise in their field of passion and a distinct point-of-view.

These creators have published books, written for major publications, and apply the principles of good journalism. They have deep-seated and proven talent in the traditional definition of the word.
 Creators with expertise outperform influencers with followers.

Joseph Perello is the founder and chief executive officer of Props. He serves on the boards of New York Cruise Lines, owner of the 75-year old Circle Line; and Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart, a school for young men in Princeton, New Jersey.

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