Why Your Influencers Matter More Than Your Influence
Influencer marketing is a rapidly growing industry, with more bloggers in company books these days than business contacts. The traditional methods of advertising – radio, television and print – are steadily on the decline, with the rise of social and digital marketing triumphing over the past ten years.
But what makes influencer marketing such a popular choice for brands? From afar, paying a stranger to write a positive review of your product seems like a strange way to utilise your marketing budget. These are ordinary people, getting paid millions of pounds to promote simple ordinary household objects or services – so why do they matter so much to big name companies?
Influencers are this generation’s pop star, they are the Hollywood movie stars of the 2010’s, and they wield more power over their audiences than any television advert ever could. Bloggers and vloggers in 2017 have the ability to capture and speak to their audiences on a direct, eye-to-eye level, through accessible platforms, frequent social media and relatable human voices, connecting to them on a deep personal level. This new brand of influencer can cry, laugh, share, indulge and be as honest and true to themselves as they like on camera, without the responsibility of a television camera, director, script or strategy. Young audiences and old are tuning into these honest voices on such as broad variety of topics, from mental health, fashion, politics and career advice. And it is this voice that makes them so profitable for brands and businesses in the industry.
Just how popular are these influencers?
Earlier this year, Forbes released an article highlighting the Top 10 Beauty influencers of 2017. This list featured Nikkie de Jager, Christen Dominique, Wayne Gross, Manny Gutierrez, Shannon Harris, Kandee Johnson, Huda Kattan, Michelle Phan, Jeffree Star and Zoella – their individual profiles and public social following. The article then went onto combine the total reach of all 10 influencers:
49, 157, 110 Instagram Followers
11, 608, 220 Twitter Followers
16, 672, 533 Facebook Likes
46, 543, 975 Youtube Subscribers
135, 000, 000 – Total following
With a combined reach of over 135 million, these beauty gurus can speak, en masse, to entire generation of potential consumers, recommending and reviewing the cosmetic products popular brands are producing. Through affiliate programmes, sponsorship deals, representative contracts and publicity agreements, high value individuals can become human endorsements of the products your brand is looking to market.
So does a brand’s individual influence matter at all?
Unfortunately, securing a high profile influencer is not a standalone guarantee of increased profit. Through these influencers, audiences and consumers are also being taught the value of products, the importance of humane production methods and the importance of company morals. In the same way that many millennial job seekers will avoid working for a company with poor morals, consumer will also avoid purchasing from a company with a bad reputation – even if their favourite Youtuber recommends them.
A brand with a poor reputation can also be damaging for influencer marketing too, as companies run the risk of being publicly shamed for poor influencer management. Brands who ask too much of their influencers, refuse payment, degrade or humiliate influencers, or use their content without permission can become the target of a negative viral storm online.
The ideal influencer-friendly brand should follow particular guidelines:
- Have a set budget in mind for influencers
- Have a good reputation online
- Have a great digital marketing campaign
- Be relevant to the influencers niche
- Have good reviews elsewhere online
- Have a solid moral reputation i.e. no scandals, reports of abuse, exploitation, cruelty or discriminatory practices
- Be willing to credit influencers for sponsored content
With these in mind, brands have a lot of pressure to be fit for influencer marketing, as well as appealing to their existing consumer base. So is it worth it?
The statistics about working with influencers
We’ve gathered the statistics from brands who frequently work with influencers to see if they feel their marketing risks have paid off.
- 61% of brands have worked with influencers this year
- Female niche influencers are the most popular
- 39% of brands are held back from influencer marketing by budgetary constraints
- 59% of businesses say engaging with influencers is a challenge
- 72% say relevancy of their influencers in more important than reach
- 59% of brands have confirmed that their influencer marketing budgets will increase by next year.
It appears that, although some brands have discovered issues with their influencer marketing campaigns, most are looking to continue their strategies into 2018. The benefits, in this case, clearly outweigh the drawbacks.
Influencer marketing is a risky, yet incredibly lucrative strategy for brands with the supplies to fund it. With the power to change the mind of every consumer they speak to, bloggers, vloggers, Instagrammers and content creators are the new generation of idols, inspirationals and rule makers for audiences – so it’s definitely worth keeping them on side, even if it means sacrificing a segment of your brand identity first.