The word “influencers” has a lot of negative connotations these days, mostly deserved. It’s been taken over by trendy little assholes with an Instagram account and a tonne of fake followers.

If you run a business of any kind, you’re probably used to being spammed by them constantly. “I think my audience will love your product. Send me a free one and I’ll post it on my account and take some nice photos”.

How about “no”. Go away.

But that doesn’t mean that some people don’t have influence, or that all of these people are worthless (but most of them are).

Find people that are adding value

If you can build relationships with people that are genuinely adding value to your industry, it can be of huge benefit. They probably won’t classify themselves as influencers, but they are.

The way I decided to do that was to focus on bloggers that were working in the industry I was targeting. I found people that were writing content that I genuinely thought was high quality and was adding value to the conversation, then I connected with them.

Over time I learned which ones had personalities and values that aligned with mine, and which did not. I’ve made some good friends as a result, and would remain in contact with them if I was no longer in business. We have similar interests and get on well.

It’s important that you start this early in the process though. If you start chatting with someone and immediately hit them with a product to review, they’re going to think you’re only after the review. You don’t want that.

Forget influencers, make friends!
Forget influencers, make friends!

Start today, long before you plan to start selling anything. Build a genuine relationship with them, rather than an obviously business one, and it’ll benefit you long term. It’s also nice to have new friends!

Why not work with Instagram influencers?

I know it’s tempting. An account with hundreds of thousands of followers gets in touch and offers to promote your product. Who doesn’t want to get coverage from a massive account like that?

The problem is, we’re getting to a point where there are more influencers than their are people to be influenced. That can’t work. These people aren’t really running huge accounts. If they are a real person at all, 99% of the time their account is followed by bots and you’ll get nothing in return for your payment.

Often they aren’t even a real person, just a marketing company running an account with the sole purpose of earning lots of small payouts from people desperate to promote their products.

Avoid the temptation and just say no.

An alternative to influencers and buying followers on Instagram

If you really want to do better on Instagram then ignore the influencers and don’t buy followers. Instead just post more content and consider using InstaNobel to automate the work.