If a little is good, a lot must be great.

Or so the thinking generally goes. However, when it comes to influencer marketing, there can be too much of a good thing.

Over the past year, there’s been a wave of companies extolling the virtues of

While it’s terribly convenient for all parties involved, these companies operate on a flawed premise that you can automate relationships, creative, and credibility. I’d argue that automated platforms are quickly eroding credibility – and as a result, effectiveness – within the influencer marketing space.

Why is this?

It starts with the fact that the process is too open. There are countless platforms where just about anyone with a few thousand followers can opt into creating branded content (YouTube videos, Instagram and Facebook posts) in exchange for product or payment.

The “one-off” nature of these brand activations creates a trust issue. An influencer can create a piece of content for a brand, then turn around and do another promotion on behalf of a competitor shortly thereafter.

There’s also the human element that is lacking from these arrangements. Simply reading a creative brief without talking to anyone is likely to leave a lot open to interpretation, and inevitably will result in miscommunication. Talking points are important, but having anyone represent your brand without so much as a conversation seems sloppy and careless.

What is the impact of this going to be long-term?

The only end results will be that brand credibility gets diluted, influencer credibility gets diluted, and brands will have a ton of garbage content with few people buying from these Insta-pitchmen and women.

As our business has become more reliant upon technology, interacting with someone in person is more important than ever. Anyone can fire off an email or jump on a Skype call. There’s something to be said for having a conversation with someone. In my experience, people want to do ‘right by you’ if you’ve interacted with them in person. Enthusiasm and passion is infectious, but only if people can experience it and see if for themselves.

Automated influencer marketing seems like a good shortcut, but it doesn’t work if it’s going to undermine trust in the long run. After all, influencers are different from banner ads. You’re not buying impressions — you’re working with people.

We might be able to add meat to this by citing specific examples of brands that have done this. The only risk in doing so is that those brands might get agitated if we call them out in this context…

I think we could also expand here (or only expand here) by providing examples of brand-influencer relationships that have done this well. We don’t need to provide specifics about how an influencer worked with a brand behind the scenes, but I think we could cite 1-2 examples of brands that have achieved traction on social media by consistently partnering with one influencer over time. Showing and not just telling the reader what this looks like will help to drive the point home.