Our thoughts on influencer marketing
Over the last couple of years, there has been a rising trend in influencer marketing, from the heavy-hitters like Coca-cola right down to the small independent business. Without knowing much about what’s available, it can seem like an expensive strategy for marketing, but the growing prevalence of so-called ‘micro-influencers’ has opened this option up to smaller companies looking for something a bit different.
The definition of a micro-influencer is not a clear cut one, but the general consensus is that people with a following of 1000 to 50000 on a platform, with a consistent focus (be it lifestyle, food, travel, or even cleaning), can be classified as a micro-influencer. These accounts are mostly focused on a single person or small group of people (ie. a family), but can also be focused on a pet - pet ‘personality’ accounts are more and more popular every year, and can be classed as influencers (even though the animals aren’t writing the content themselves).
Using influencer marketing has its benefits, but can also have its downfalls, especially with higher follower counts and popularity. Social media scandals are in the news every week, with influencers being a top target. The main risk with using an influencer is the unpredictable nature of the future. Will they suddenly be involved in some negative publicity? There is no way to know, and there is a risk involved with every marketing campaign, but doing your research and due diligence before deciding to use an influencer is the only way to hopefully prevent being burned.
Of course, the benefits outweigh the risks, especially when you’ve covered all bases in your research beforehand. Here are some of the main perks compared to other forms of digital marketing:
It goes without saying that trust in a company is an important part of making a purchase, especially when there is a large monetary commitment involved. Followers of micro-influencers generally follow in order to gain recommendations and ideas for things they aspire to have in their own lives. Micro-influencers try to cultivate a reputation for recommending quality products they use themselves, and their followers trust their advice as if they were a friend. It’s a similar concept to having a brand ambassador, but with a higher level of credibility from the audience’s perspective.
Value for money
As a follower count grows, so does the price of an ad. As with magazines, TV ads, and billboards, the more people that you could reach and the better the placement, the more you’ll pay. It’s still not cheap, advertising never is, but in comparison to the top end influencers you’ll pay peanuts for a very effective product placement shown to an interested and engaged audience. Compare this to placing an ad in a magazine - there is no precise way to gauge the return on investment, and the majority of the people who see it might not even be remotely interested. With influencers, not only will there be analytics available (always useful), but the audience already has an interest. Additionally, it’s easy to click through to purchase - you can’t click on paper, and people tend to engage more when it’s made easy for them.
Engagement is always a tough metric to crack, as you can’t force people to like, share, comment, or visit your site. Especially on Instagram, the micro-influencers have engagement down to a T, with 7x higher engagement rates than mid, mega, and macro influencers combined. By maintaining authenticity, posting quality content, and engaging with their followers regularly, their followers give back by liking, commenting, and clicking through. Engagement is also linked to trust as previously mentioned - followers trust the person, and want to interact and support them, as well as gaining authentic recommendations.
Invasive ads are everywhere, popping up in the middle of a video, halfway through an article, or snuck into your Facebook feed. As a result, more and more people are using AdBlock in order to get rid of them all entirely. Not only does this make your impressions plummet, but can waste your time and money. Influencer ads on social media, however, don’t flag up in any ad blocking software, as they are genuine posts from a user. Around 22% of internet users in the UK use ad blockers, but in the 18-24 age group, this rises to about 43%. It might not seem like much, but it can make a difference!
As mentioned in almost every other point, an influencer’s audience is the most valuable aspect of using them for marketing. Micro-influencers have an aesthetic and a subject theme, so those who follow them are generally already interested in what they have to say. A carefully nurtured follower base who already have an active interest in the influencer’s life and content are a powerful force not to be sniffed at.
Influencer marketing may not be for everyone, and may not work for every business, but if you put in the work to find influencers within your niche, the benefits can be incredible.
If you’d like to try marketing with an influencer but aren’t sure where to start, get in touch with Jane on 01223 873349.
Article by Eden Jefford