What Star Trek Taught Me About Using Influencers

 In Mindset

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“Beam me up, Scottie.  There’s no intelligent life down here.” How many times have you heard this Star Trek joke?

I’ve even seen it on bumper stickers and coffee mugs (note to self, I need to get one of those).

Pop culture holds a lot of lessons for us, especially where leadership and business are concerned.

We hear stuff like this all the time with movie franchises like Star Wars, The Matrix series and others.

When I think about influencer marketing though, I think Star Trek.

You remember captain Kirk and his loyal crew, right?

Kirk always gets the girl (green ones too) while Spock and McCoy debate the merits of logic over emotion – or is it the other way around?

There’s Scotty who always manages to fix the engines at just the right moment.

While Uhura, Sulu and Checkov find ways to help Kirk solve the problem facing them.

The characters are great, no doubt about it.

Star Trek: The Original Series

Yes, I admit it guys, I am a long time fan of this show, the original series in particular, so don’t hold it against me!

The stories are engaging and hold up over time.

Now, for those of you who’ve been living in a closet for the past 40 years…

Captain Kirk and his crew go out and explore the universe. They have a mission to seek out new life and new civilizations.

As a business person you’re like captain Kirk and his crew — and you have a mission too.

Your mission is to seek out ideal consumers and turn them into paying customers.

So, let’s explore this theme a little further.

New planets are like Facebook groups, blogs, YouTube channels, forums, even events.

Starship enterprise - planets are where you find your ideal consumers

These are all places where your ideal consumers gather and mingle.


Piloting the Enterprise in search of your ideal consumers, you’ll find some planets that are good prospects.

Engaging with your consumers there means you have some options.

You can advertise to them… but that’s disruptive and people get wise to ads and find ways to block them.

Just check out the influencer marketing statistics and you’ll see what I mean.

You can choose content marketing but that takes forever to get traction.

Or, you can work with influencers –people who already have their trust.

As a smart marketer, naturally you choose the most effective and fastest route to reaching them:


But what happens when you beam down?

Remember when captain Kirk and some guys in red shirts beam down to a planet together?

As this picture illustrates, the guys in the red shirts always die.

Don't treat your influencers like red shirts

Poor red shirts! They got no respect.

It became a running joke with the show’s fans.

Beaming down a party of red shirts is like picking the wrong influencers.

Poor selection is a waste of money as Paul Johnson points out in Adweek.

I emphasize influencer selection with all of my clients and students.

However, when captain Kirk has the right team with the right skills, yes, there might still be some trouble, but you know they are going solve the problem

Not only that, they’re going be able to enroll another planet into the Federation.

The Federation gets bigger, gets more citizens and grows.

And Star Trek gets another happy ending: the Enterprise crew saves the universe.

Your business should be the same.

Because Kirk and team go down well equipped, they solve problems and they add value.

And you’re no different, right?

Star Trek Landing Party from episode Operation Annihilate

So what does all of this Star Trek stuff have to do with how you treat influencers?

I’ll tell you about that…

When I saw this post by John Obeto, a technology / healthcare influencer, on his blog Absolutely Windows, it really struck a cord with me.

In it,  John goes on to explain that he was invited to attend a medical / healthcare event — as an influencer.

As I said, he covers tech and healthcare, so having him there made a lot of sense.

His misson was to cover the event, interview interesting people and blog about the experience.

Also, by being there, John got to make new professional connections.

Everybody wins.

But when he bumped into another influencer on the show floor, things get really interesting!

After the introductions, John asked the other influencer what he covered and why he was there?

The answer was astounding — to John and me.

The young man explained that he has a blog about hot rods, of all things.

We’re talking about souped-up cars!

The trouble is, he didn’t understand why he is at this event. Why he was invited or why he was pressed to go.

But it gets better:

Evidently, he did post on his blog a couple of times about his child being a preemie and the challenges he and his wife faced.

(Note: This is how he got noticed by whoever invited him)

But he went on to explain that his contact, a “social media person” needed  to have “bodies at the event” — so they pressed him into accepting the invitation.

They paid for his travel and hotel which is the least they could do.

But, he still felt pressured.

To be clear:

This hot rod blogger was the Star Trek “red shirt” in this case.


Simple… he was left to wander aimlessly around not knowing what he is supposed to do, or what was expected of him.

He was sent into the unkown as fodder.

As a result, he added zero value and he got nothing in return. Zilch.

This did a disservice to him and to those who pressed him into going.

Let me ask you something…

Would you toss aside a golden nugget if you found one?

No, you wouldn’t.  You’d hold onto it and might even make a nice piece of jewelry out of it.

The point is, you’d value it and you’d find the right  use for it.

Nurture influencers … don’t treat them as disposable Star Trek red shirts.

This fellow influencer who John met was another body.

Nobody comes back to look for him or beam him up.

Treating him like this means he’s nothing more than a transaction, disposable.

Guys, this is marketing at it’s worst, especially with influencers.

Choose your influencers carefully and with a plan in mind.

You’ve got to understand that congruence is king.

Congruence is king

When it comes to working with influencers, congruence is the factor that you’ve got to focus on, over and above everything else.

It doesn’t matter if it’s for your personal brand, your small business or a Fortune 500 client.

You’ve got to know your ideal consumer.

The people who you want to turn into those long term raving fans and longtime customers.

To do that, you have to choose influencers who already have their trust.

They have your ideal consumers as audience members… readers, viewers and followers.

So congruence is about agreement, harmony, compatibility … between your ideal consumer, influencers and you.

But there’s even more to it:

Using influencers is using leverage, like when captain Kirk uses his judo moves to flip his opponent!

Gotta love Kirk!

Think leverage.

Use influencers as leverage

You reach many by using only a few!

Own this idea, guys.

You get the benefit of leveraging the TRUST they’ve built up over time with their audiences.

And that’s something to take seriously.

You’ll be rewarded many times over.

Make new friends and get new customers by working with influencers.

Make sure the influencers you choose make sense — are congruent with you.

Then make sure they speak to your ideal consumer, the people you want to turn into customers.

Be sure to beam down, like in Star Trek, to a planet with the right influencers.

You’ll be kindly welcomed!

Look, I hope you’ve enjoyed this little lesson today as much as I have.

I really enjoy kinda weaving the whole Star Trek theme into it!

But, no matter what, come join me in my free Facebook group.

We’re growing, we want you, you can come on over and we can continue the conversation over there.

We’d love to have you, so please find us at Influencer Marketing For Badasses, you can’t miss it.

Just search it up in Facebook. I’ll see you in the inside.

Influencer Marketing for Badasses

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