It’s been four years since we braved the harrowing depths of the 2014/2015 bear market and widespread tales are still told of OG’s not only surviving, but going on to achieve incredible things. To this day, names like Angelo and Cobain are still celebrated and revered amongst their peers.
A level of natural respect and admiration is born from seeing a Twitter account with over 10k followers knowing the sheer amount of hours put in and the great content you would have to provide in order to achieve those staggering numbers.
Love them or hate them, the Crypto Influencer is and always will be an integral part of the Cryptosphere whether it be providing YouTube content, interviews, reviews, medium articles, telegram channels or just simply posting charts or fundamental analysis on Twitter.
But how does the Cryptosphere feel about influencers being recruited to advise ICO’s? Or releasing a series of scheduled tweets and not disclosing it as an ad they’ve been paid for? What about large accounts promoting those pre-sale Masternode coins promising you a wealth of fortunes if you sign up early?
Opinion will always be divided on these matters and you can find passionate arguments on either side of the coin.
I aim to explore these issues by starting with a little about myself and my background.
December will mark my fifth anniversary of a career in marketing and advertising. I’ve accumulated a vast amount of experience having worked for two of the largest media agencies in the world, a multi-billion dollar tech company and more recently a member of FANG.
In December 2013 I started working in London for WPP who boast a portfolio of the biggest and most established brands in the industry. The social department at the time had a team of three – a manager and two juniors. By summer 2014 the team had increased to over 30 people – fully tiered and structured.
Social then become a fundamental part of every single media plan and it became evident to me that this was the future of advertising.
Fast forward five years and most brands have dedicated social media account managers specifically to respond to comments and drive engagement through interaction with other brands. A great example of this is Wendy’s who are renowned for poking light hearted fun at their competitors.
The majority of TV ads are now accompanied with hashtags as a brand’s further attempt to engage their consumers on all other media channels whether it be Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
Paid partnerships are the latest trend with Hopper reporting that Kylie Jenner is paid $1million for an Instagram post. From personal experience I know that some minor YouTube personalities can be paid up to $25,000 for simply putting a brand’s URL in the description of one of their posts.
So how does this relate to Crypto a relatively new industry and community?
Like I touched on earlier there are various methods that influencers are utilised in Crypto, some more obvious than others. Let’s break these down.
After the 2017 ICO boom it has become common practice for new projects to recruit influencers with a large following who will hype up the coin, promising it to be the next 100x. These influencers will be paid handsomely with free tokens from the project or they will be allowed to purchase the token at a heavily reduced price during the pre-sale. The job of the advisor is to spread awareness about the project and whip their followers and others into a frenzy. If done correctly, the ICO will sell out very quickly and when tokens get released into the market the hype surrounding the coin will allow it to open at 3,4 or 5 times and above the ICO price.
Fairly straight forward in that the influencer will agree on a number of posts promoting the project and being paid in either USD or the project’s token.
Projects will often look to further their reach and drum up interest by being interviewed by large accounts that are then released on either Twitter or YouTube. Most projects don’t have a YouTube following and are around the 5-10k follower mark on Twitter so it makes sense that if they want to attract new interest, an often scripted interview is released via a large influencer account.
An influencer and project will partner up in order to both gain more interest and followers. The common practice for this is for the influencer to give away $100 or more worth of the token and the follower must follow, retweet and tag three friends in order to be made eligible.
I’m including this method of promotion as these projects are often red flags. These coins will offer influencers free Masternodes to promote their project whilst ROI is incredibly high at the start. Most influencers will then already be able to set up around 5 masternodes before the project has sold their first official node in the pre-sale often for around 0.25 or 0.3 BTC. A common theme of these coins is to have Zero Protocol and it’s own Dex on the roadmap and you will often see the same marketers in many of these coins in Discord.
Cryptocurrency projects know their market. The crypto community is thriving on social media – mostly Twitter, Reddit, Telegram and Discord. They know that it would be a waste of time, resource and most importantly funds to try and target non-crypto users using traditional display or video advertising.
The promotional methods mentioned above are highly effective in targeting the correct users and traditional advertising brands would be ecstatic to find such a highly engaged and active community that is so easy and simple to target. Because of this it makes complete sense for Crypto projects to employ these strategies.
Which brings me to the influencer.
In any other industry if you have built up your own brand, following and you consistently provide content for free should you be entitled to monetise this?
If you’ve spent countless hours providing charts, entry points and generating revenue for your followers should you be able to accept a fee to promote a coin providing all relevant and correct information? In my view, this is completely reasonable and should be accepted throughout the Cryptosphere so long as the influencer is transparent in being clear that it’s an ad or they have received some type of compensation – similarly how an Instagram post is tagged with the words “Paid Partnership”.
As an investor in Cryptocurrency, you have to be able to educate yourself to learn to distinguish the scams from genuine products, the respected to the shady characters and most importantly to make your own decisions and not follow the herd mentality.
Which brings me to my last point – Do Your Own Research!
#DYOR really isn’t just a meme and I cannot stress this point enough. You should never enter a position without first researching at the very minimum the basic fundamentals. Check the advisors, check the team, check the website, see who’s shilling the coin on Twitter.
If the advisors of the coin are wearing “Wen Moon Lambo” t-shirts is that really a project you can take seriously? If a coin wants to partner up with a highly controversial and unsavoury character just to try and boost the price of their coin is that something you want to be a part of?
Crypto is still very much the wild west – trade safe.
Thank you for reading.
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