I want to pretend that I’m impressed by experts and influencer marketing campaigns.

Unfortunately, that’s a lie.

Experts are idiots. I’m an expert in some circles beyond my mind, and I don’t know anything. Nobody else knows anything, either. And let’s not forget that the robots are coming. We should all embrace a basic income and pray that our overlords are benevolent. 

But as cynical as I am, I have developed a reputation for delivering successful influencer campaigns to bolster the efforts of marketing departments. I know, I know. It’s so dumb. You probably wonder — is influencer marketing really a thing? Do people pay attention to other people? Can one human being move a market? Does social media matter?

Those are fair questions. Here’s what I know when it comes to influencer marketing and HR technology.

1. Nobody is stupid enough to confuse notoriety with influence.

Vendors know the difference between someone who is loud and someone who has ideas. Buyers know the difference, too. My industry is full of smart technologists and business leaders selling to a seasoned group of HR veterans. It’s a boring market, and to pretend like there’s a group of fake, shady con artists making a dime on “influence” is a insane. (Frankly, it would be awesome if that happened. I would be tremendously wealthy.)

2. Influence is all about character and reputation.

I have said it before, and I’ll say it again: behavior matters. If you work for an HR technology company with a shady reputation, or if you’re a thought leader who takes money from anyone to talk about anything, your ideas get lost in a broader conversation about conduct. I say the same thing to bloggers as I do to product marketing managers and CEOs: do right and be kind, and your universal influence will shine.

3. Influence is measured moments, not in algorithms.

I’m not interested in someone who swoops in like Superwoman on a big stage at user conference and seizes the day. That’s theater, not influence. I get excited when I can give someone an opportunity to shine and it also benefits a product, service or event. That’s the definition of a successful and harmonic influencer program to me.

As you can see, I didn’t answer some of my questions. Is influencer marketing a thing? Yes. Do people pay attention to other people? Sometimes. Can one human being move a market? Absolutely. Does social media matter? Depends.

Very simply, word-of-mouth marketing matters in our micro economy. When it’s combined with someone who has a decent reach and a solid reputation, magic happens. Influencer marketing matters in the boring world of HR technology. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.