When Singapore’s Ministry of Finance commissioned influencers to help promote the national budget to younger Singaporeans in 2018, the campaign was a dismal failure. The fashion and beauty bloggers hired to help sell the budget were widely seen as totally unqualified to discuss high finance.

“I imagine somebody decided: ‘Lets get young people to understand the budget’,” says Andrew Taylor, head of public relations at the media and advertising giant Ogilvy Asia-Pacific.

“It’s an easy trap to fall into – they are a young demographic, birds of a feather flock together – and so ‘we will get like-minded people to talk to them’.

“But then, the audience doesn’t buy it, since it’s not the message they expect from a content creator, or from the Ministry of Finance. So they… are outraged that they are assumed to be so stupid.”

Singapore’s high rate of social media use creates a market ripe for social influencers. Yet as the Ministry of Finance realised, the credibility of influencers is essential for any message to take hold. That applies especially to business-to-business (B2B) influencers.

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