Influencer marketing through social media has been huge since 2016 when Airbnb partnered with Mariah Carey. It only takes one viewing of Netflix’s documentary on the failed Fyre festival that same year to see just how powerful they can be, even for a less than satisfactory product (we’re not giving away too many spoilers, give it a watch).
Since then, we have continued to see massive growth in influencer marketing, with some brands now relying on influencers for their entire marketing strategy. But has it all been worth it?
According to a study from New York marketing company Captiv8, reported in The Times, brands are paying more than £157 million for fake influencers on social media. As a result of these and similar statistics, there is no doubt that brands have become more cautious with their spending on influencers.
Companies are losing trust in influencer marketing and realising that followers do not always convert to transactions. Although a celebrity or personality may have a large following on social media and users may appreciate the content that they put out, this does not mean millennials will prioritise this over real life expertise and brand reputation when it comes to spending their money.
Social media users can tell if an influencer is genuinely using and supporting a product, or if they’re just pushing something they don’t believe in for payment – Kendall Jenner and Proactiv were mocked for trying to convince the public that Kendall was a long term user of Proactiv products. Popular Instagram personalities, with no credibility or relatability to a product, won’t be able to sell it by posing with it.
Despite the risks, we still believe as a PR agency that it is worth using influencers – if it’s done right!
Here are our top tips for getting the most out of influencer marketing:
Work with micro-influencers
Micro-influencers typically have under 50,000 followers and focus on a specific niche topic, making them reliable and credible in that field. They have built their following by communicating with their audience on an open and honest basis, so their followers trust their opinion. By working with these influencers, you can reach a specific market that looks to this personality for their views on your industry.
Ensure your influencer is authentic
With such a focus on follower numbers, the rise in paid-for followers was inevitable. Surveys have shown that 8% of Instagram accounts are fake and 29.9% of accounts are inactive, giving us an insight into how many followers are simply purchased bots and not potential customers.
When looking at an influencer’s following, don’t just look as far as the number. Examine their followers to see if they are legit. Do the profiles of the followers look like real people, or avatars and fake robot profiles that influencers have paid for?
Ensure your influencer has high engagement stats
Again, make sure the profiles that are liking and commenting are real and legitimate. Even influencers with a high number of real followers can have low engagement. If their followers are not engaging with their content, it means that either Instagram’s algorithm is working against them or their content isn’t engaging with followers.
This is another benefit of micro-influencers, they tend to have a higher engagement rate than larger broader topic profiles, as their followers are truly interested in their niche.
Consult the experts
If you are new to influencer marketing and want to ensure you don’t miss the mark, come and speak to us at Rumpus. We already have existing relationships with a range of established and reliable influencers, and can help you identify suitable brand ambassadors.
If used correctly, social media influencers can be a powerful asset for any company. Unlike traditional methods of advertising, social media influencers provide precision marketing that can reach the people who would benefit most from your product or service.