In recent years, Influencer Marketing has increased in popularity, but this style of marketing is not a new concept… however, due to advances in technology and the rise of Social Media, it is becoming more and more prominent on our news feeds!

I’m sure you can agree there isn’t a day that goes by where you don’t see an influencer promoting herbal tea or teeth whitening.

But what is an influencer?

An influencer is a trusted figure who has the power to affect purchase decisions of others due to their position in an industry, knowledge and their relationships with their audience. Influencers should NOT be treated as just a marketing tool, but instead should be classed as a Social Media relationship asset where brands can collaborate to achieve their marketing objectives.

There are 4 main types of influencers:

Celebs – Influencer Marketing grew out of celebrity endorsements.

For many years, companies have found that their sales usually increase when a celebrity promotes or endorses their product. There are still many cases in which companies use celebrities as influencers, especially high – end brands. The issue here is, as celebs have so many fans and extensive Social Media following, it can be difficult to judge the real influence they have on their followers.

Industry Experts and Thought Leaders – This market of influencers have gained accreditation due to their experience within an industry or their qualifications. Usually, this influencer is respected due to their place of work, e.g. a journalist from a major newspaper or producer for a record label.

For a business, it is beneficial to develop relationships with industry experts as the promotion will carry more weight and will have a more significant impact on their audience due to them following that person for advice within that specific industry.

Bloggers and Content Creators – Influencer Marketing and blogging have been connected for some time now. If a blogger comments about a product in a post, it can lead to the readers wanting to try it out for themselves. Many bloggers have developed a significant following in specific sectors. For example: blogs on personal development, finance, health, childhood, music and many other topics, including blogging itself, are highly influential.
Blogging is not just writing articles; many bloggers are ‘vloggers’ who produce constant video content. This form of blogging is essential to utilise as YouTube on average has 1 billion hours of video watched every day!!!!!

Micro-Influencers – these are the ‘influencers of the future’ – the everyday people who have grown in popularity due to their knowledge of a particular niche. This form of relationship isn’t just based on the number of followers that person has; it’s the engagement and relationship they have with their followers that is so vital. Once relationships are established, they are excellent sources of Social Media promotion as the relationships they have with their audience is something you can’t just buy.

Since the use of Influencer Marketing is on the rise more and more, companies are noticing the benefits of using this form of marketing and building relationships with influencers. In the last two years alone, Influencer Marketing as a search term on Google Trends has risen by 400%!!!

But why is this important for your brand?

Consumers trust recommendations from influencers – FACT.

Speaking from personal experience, if I saw someone I followed passionately promoting something on Social Media, 9 times out of 10 I will end up on that brand’s page checking out all of the products they sell.

But if I saw a celebrity endorsing a product on TV, I wouldn’t go and look up what they’re promoting, and I’d probably think “what a load of rubbish”, and completely discard it.

So, what makes influencers different from celebs – they’re both being paid?

It’s simple: consumers trust influencers more than a brand!

92% of people trust recommendations from individuals (even if they don’t know them) over brands. Influencer Marketing allows brands to break into that circle of trust in a way that feels organic and welcomed because it is relevant, reliable and identifiable.

The shift from celebrities to opinion leaders

Over the years, celebrity endorsements have lost a lot of credibility, due to retailers using any celebrity face to promote a brand whether they are relevant to the brand or not.

Remember Ozzy Osbourne as the face of ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter’ – no neither do I, because it was so irrelevant and pointless.

Oh, let’s not forget in 2004 when Bob Dylan became the face of Victoria Secret…yes you heard me VICTORIA SECRET – the lingerie brand, and Bob Dylan – the Folk/Rock singer.
What an odd pairing right? The campaign received a lot of backlash and just left people confused.

The growth of Social Media

Year on year, the popularity of Social Media continues to grow seeing 3.196 billion users worldwide in 2018. Social Media is how influencers engage with their audience and allows them to create an image that people can aspire to. What is beneficial for influencers is that Social Media allows them to develop relationships with their audience and talk on a personal level which leads to their audience investing in that person.

People can now block paid ads

More people are now blocking advertisements on the Internet. The 2017 Adblock Report from PageFair shows that over 600 million devices use Adblock, and this number grew by 30% globally since 2016. With this report, I suggest it is time for you to stop wasting your money on ads that your consumers block and focus on channels that people trust – and as mentioned before, consumers believe influencers.

Influencer Marketing reaches the Adblock generation with the information they want.

Influencer Marketing: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Now don’t get me wrong, yes influencer marketing is great and should be utilised BUT in the correct way. As a brand, you need to ensure that the influencer you choose is right for your brand image, relevant to your brand and is followed by the people you wish to target.

The thing with Influencer Marketing is that if it goes wrong, it goes VERY WRONG by becoming a complete waste of money, generating bad PR and potentially affecting the sales of the product you intended to promote.

Nike and Snap (Snapchat) are perfect examples of Influencer Marketing at complete opposite ends of the spectrum.

Nike

A perfect example of a successful influencer campaign, that I’m sure you’ve heard of, is Nike’s partnership with athlete Colin Kaepernick.
This campaign was CAPTIVATING and sparked engagement from people all over the world. In fact, this campaign increased sales of Nike goods overnight by 31%!!!!!!

Colin Kaepernick simply posted a black and white image of himself on Labor Day with the quote…
‘Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything. Just do it.’’

This single tweet gained nearly 400,000 Retweets and over 900,000 likes.

Partnerships like this don’t happen by chance – it’s down to Nikes ability to identify an influencer that has the same aspirations as their brand.

Snap

For a big successful company like SnapChat, you’d assume that they would be cautious about who they recruit as an influencer and undertake intensive research to find the perfect match, but clearly not.

The model, Luke Sabbat was chosen to promote Snap’s new v2 glasses which allowed you to snap and take photos why you’re on the move.

Very futuristic and unpractical if you ask me…anywayyyyyy moving on.

Luke was sued 60k for ‘failure to influence’ – yes that’s a thing.. as he failed to upload one Instagram post and two stories.

 

From my digging, I can outright say that Luke Sabbat was far from a perfect match for these two reasons;

1. His audience engagement is on Gaming
2. After gaming, it is Performing Arts (NO FASHION)
So where is the logic? If I were Snapchat, I would clearly notice that he is more suited for a gaming brand.

In summary, Influencer Marketing can be brilliant for a company, but you must ensure that the influencer is correct for you, as it could only hinder your brand if they aren’t.

 

Liv