Q&A with TRIBE CEO Anthony Svirskis

by Siobhan Koopmans

  1. In the “old” PR days, brands would tie their promotions to a celebrity’s profile to make noise about a launch or new product – are those days dead?

Not at all. Celebrity and ambassadorial endorsement is well and truly alive; however it now constitutes multiple mediums and a significant aspect of social integration. Brands will always love aligning themselves with well-known people who are seen to represent their brand values and audiences; but larger endorsement contracts now cover TV, print, digital and social media. We are also now seeing the rapid rise of the social media influencer, whose profile and largest audience is purely on social media.

  1. Are citizens supplementing celebrities or replacing them? 

Supplementing. The advent of social media coupled with technology has quickly made citizen influencers more accessible to brands. These citizen influencers have smaller audiences than celebrities or celebrity influencers, but have a much stronger connection with their audiences. Through apps like TRIBE, brands can now access volumes of citizen influencers with speed and efficiency; but this doesn’t necessarily replace larger scale celebrity endorsement. That said, for smaller brands with restricted budgets, many celebrities are out of reach; so citizen influencer marketing can be an affordable alternative.

  1. 5,000 followers or 50,000 – what’s more valuable?

Purely from a data perspective, 10 x 5,000 followers is more valuable than 1 x 50,000 followers. All our statistics show that engagement is higher with smaller audience sizes. However, it still comes down to high quality content and followers who engage with that content.

  1. What gives a citizen influencer that ‘X’ factor and ultimately the followers?

High quality content and passion for their category. I liken it to the early days of SEO when you could trick Google to rank you higher through link farms and loading your homepage with keywords. Then, when Google got their act together and changed their algorithm to ensure that there were no shortcuts to SEO, it simply became about high quality content. Instagram is now the same…if you buy or mine followers through inorganic ways, it won’t help you. Focus on the passion that you have and being creative and your followers will come. Brands are now understanding the value of authenticity and engagement over follower numbers.

  1. Can traditional media (newspapers, television and radio) learn anything from citizen marketing?

Absolutely. Citizen marketers have been creating content for mobile screens since day one; it’s only now that traditional media and marketing professionals are realising the value of mobile-first content. That means the TVC you created doesn’t necessarily work on an iPhone screen to a digital native audience. Citizen influencers have a trusting connection with their tribes, so content is highly curated to what their audience expects, not what advertisers think audiences want to see or hear.

  1. Who ‘influences’ you?! 

I’m highly influenced by the Directors and Advisors we have at TRIBE – we work collaboratively but I tap into their experience at every opportunity I can. Outside of this, I closely follow the start-up and technology industries in the US and Australia, and I am often influenced by successful companies and their strategies, more so than individuals.