Youtube, Instagram, and every social platform in between are overflowing with picture-perfect, freshly-filtered influencers convincing us to part with our hard-earned cash for the latest answer to teeth-whitening #ad.
The use of influencers in social marketing has changed the landscape of online advertising in a huge way – and they’re becoming increasingly popular. Just look at how the search term ‘influencers’ on Google Trends has risen over the last 5 years.
Whatever your opinion on the rising obsession with social influencers, when it comes to marketing brands online – they work.
An influencer marketing survey conducted by Collective Bias indicated that 70% of millennial consumers are influenced by the recommendations of their peers in buying decisions.
While it may have all started with us following celebrities, lapping up their endorsements and running out to buy whatever new skincare product they were waxing lyrical about, the line between celebrity and influencer has become somewhat blurred. These days, bloggers, YouTubers and Instagrammers have become so popular that they are celebrities. The likes of Joe Wicks, Ingrid Nilsen and Huda Kattan have all forged empires of the back of their social profiles and gained official celebrity status.
With this said, working with the right sort of influencer is crucial. You need to choose one which fits your brand and feels authentic – which is why biggest is not always best when it comes to influencer marketing.
These hugely popular influencers that have become celebrities in their own right have almost become too big (if that’s possible). The whole appeal of the influencers was that they engage with the audience they’re “influencing”, building a level and trust and understanding. When they become as popular and the likes of Zoella, they can’t always influence the audience in an authentic and meaningful way because they can no longer engage the way they once did.
Smaller “micro-influencers” can have a two-way conversation with their audience and engage daily, so have the potential to have a meaningful impact. So, how do you best decide the right influencer for your brand and ensure you get the best possible return on investment?
Niche over numbers
Going after the number of followers or reach alone is a risky business. These stats can be manipulated for a start, and just because an influencer has half a million followers doesn’t mean their followers will engage with your brand.
Working with smaller, “micro-influencers” with the right niche can have much more of an impact. The many only have 20k followers, but their audience is likely to be highly engaged and be genuinely interested in the content they share.
The age-old saying goes, quality over quantity – and in this way, quality of content is much more effective than quantity of followers.
Finding the voice
There are (literally) thousands of influencers out there that will have followers that fit your target audience. Their media pack will tell you all about the fact 74% of their followers are female, 60% are aged 18-24 and 30% live in London – but do they talk the same language as your brand?
Using influencers that don’t fit with your tone of voice can be counterintuitive, so you need to ensure they do. Scour their posts across all platforms and read their comments back to their audience to get a real feel for their voice and personality.
You want them to post about your brand in a natural way – influencer marketing loses authenticity if you need to control the dialogue of the posts and consumers will sense that they are being marketed to if you make an influencer change their voice.
It goes without saying that running a micro-influencer campaign is a much more budget-friendly approach, as they are a lot more affordable that securing celebrity endorsements.
Rewind a few years and the latest up-and-coming mummy blogger would bite your hand off for sending her a free babygrow in exchange for a blog and Instagram post.
These days, you’ll be hard-struck to find any decent influencers that will post for free (although there are some out there!) Don’t be fooled into paying thousands for a post and an Instagram story unless you’re 100% sure the exposure will be worth the outlay.
Need some help with your influencer marketing? Get in touch with our social strategy team and see how they can help get your brand the exposure.
Written by Eimile Kerrigan
Digital Marketing Manager