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 “Our market is changing,” says Virigina Salas Kastilio, super-influencer and owner of GINICANBREATHE, a next-gen marketing and branding agency. “We don’t respond to adverts and we don’t respond to being sold to and creating this illusion or this dream of selling us what kind of life we should be living.”

And businesses are floundering, because consumers recognize a hard pitch, a sales voice, an inauthentic moment of attempted connection that just drives them away.

Influencer marketing, wherein a celebrity or big-name authority acts convincingly enthusiastic about your product, was originally conceived as the end run around consumer weariness with sales pitches. But those have become suspect, too — they’re too remote, usually not actually convincing, and the one-to-one connection that makes influencer marketing successful is just not there.

Enter person-to-person influencer marketing, and heave a sigh of relief because you’d never be able to afford Beyoncé anyway.

“Consumers want to get more to the core message of things,” Kastilio explains. “And that’s why this type of influencer marketing, person-to-person that’s not a celebrity, is taking more weight in our economy because it just seems so much more credible.”

They’re the social media stars that have built up huge organic followings on their platforms, and have audiences full of adoring viewers or fans who respect them, connect with them, and don’t know if they want to be them or be with them. On paper, their follower numbers are eye-popping and you’re daydreaming about their metrics, but it isn’t always a match made in heaven.

“There’s a lot of disconnect and imbalance going on for companies that want to find the right fit,” Kastilio says. “It just has to do with a lot of searching, and a lot of testing and sometimes, just also doing runs with an influencer and seeing how the community is reacting to the partnership with the brand and being very strategic and creating these type of collaborations that seem organic and not forced and not oversold.”

Sometimes it’s simply a matter of recognizing that influencers aren’t businesspeople.

“What one finds when working with the right influencers,” Kastilio says, “is that sometimes the content might be really amazing and the reach might be incredible, but they don’t know how to actually convey a message, they don’t know how to storytell properly in terms of when it’s for a brand and not for themselves.”

But it’s not just the influencers who need to learn how to make the most of the relationship.

The brands are also at fault,” Kastilio says. “They just come to the influencer and they say, ‘We want you to do this, stand here, and whatever. And the creative comes out and they say, ‘Well, that has nothing to do with our message.'”

It needs to be a respectful collaboration from the outset, Kastilio says. And it needs to be real.

“The difficulty is that you see something that works — you see something that’s precious, you see something that’s beautiful,” she explains. “And as humans, we are are just simply opportunists. So we see that and think, we could monetize that. We could sell that. We could make something of that. And then what you do is change it. You take people with an audience and attention and exploit them — which goes against everything that they’ve built up.”

But companies are starting to get it, she says.

“Thankfully, more and more, there are a lot of companies that are giving influencers that space to really hold true to their voice and becoming more creative,” she says.

“That’s really what converts.”

For more on how to collaborate with influencers, and the key steps to take to achieve immediate results, don’t miss this VB Live event.

Don’t miss out!

Register here for free.

In this VB Live event, you’ll:

  • Learn the different types of influencer marketing and understand which is right for you
  • Discover the right influencers for the best results in your specific industry
  • Get tips from a super influencer on what works for them and what turns them off
  • Avoid the mistakes of bad influencer marketing strategies


  • Virginia Salas Kastilio, Snapchat + YouTube Influencer, ginicanbreathe
  • Bill Arzt, COO and co-founder, FitReserve
  • Stewart Rogers, Director of Marketing Technology, VentureBeat


Wendy Schuchart, Moderator, VentureBeat