Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Is Your Strategy to Engage Influencers? Then Don't Ignore the C-Listers.

This is something I've been thinking about but didn't really think it wise to blog about, but what's the point of having a blog if you can't write what you want to write about, wise or not?

I'll just throw this out there. A few weeks before BlogWorld I received an email from a company that makes a product similar to one I'd blogged about. They expressed interest in my point of view and wanted to chat. I was flattered and a bit perplexed--why would they want to talk to me? But whatever--I was curious so I said ok. They set a phone meeting with me and a VP. Literally two minutes before that meeting, the person emailed me and said sorry, they had a big deadline and the VP couldn't make the call. I could have done with the courtesy of a bit more notice, but whatever. Then a few days later the person emailed me again, asking again to set a time to chat. I knew they'd be at BlogWorld the following week and said maybe I'd run into them there and we decided to do that.

Several times during the time I was in Vegas this person emailed me, but as with most of the people I wanted to meet at BlogWorld, schedules were crazy and time was tight and we never were able to find time to meet. Not for lack of trying--we exchanged multiple emails, trying and re-trying to meet up, but we managed to miss each other anyway. No big deal. I didn't give it a second thought...until a week later when I read a blog post by the person who had been wanting to chat with me and saw that they had proudly hosted an event with a small group of "influencers" during BlogWorld. The post goes on to describe the hand-picked list of "A-listers" who were invited to chat and hang out. Lists each "A-lister" by name. Because everybody knows that hanging around with the popular kids makes you look cooler by association.

Here's my thing: I know I'm not an A-lister. Am not one and don't aspire to be one. However, I am person. As are all other influencers, present and future. If your strategy as a brand is to engage influencers--and which brand does NOT have that as a strategy these days?--don't treat people like they only matter if they have X-thousand followers on Twitter or X-million page views per day on their blogs. You approach me and want to chat about your product? And you're hosting an informal gathering at a conference we're both attending, to chat about your product? What a coincidence. But don't make me feel like I'm the kid you only want to be friends with if your popular friends are busy.

Ok, I'm done whining now. I think.

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