We need to talk (some more) about influencers…

Posted on
March 13, 2019
In the wake of Netflix’s widely lauded documentary ‘Fyre’ and Hulu’s ‘Fyre Fraud’, the tragic, yet at times hilarious, sequence of events that led to the catastrophic Fyre Festival serve as a stark reminder of the prominence of influencer marketing. On that note, now seems as fitting a time as any to examine some key considerations to take into account before utilising influencers for your brand or campaign:

From Nano to Macro:

While it took over 50 million #EggGang participants to topple reigning Instagram queen, Kylie Jenner, the driving force behind the influencer economy is not always the mega influencers, but those followed by tens of thousands of followers. By developing a trusting following within a niche interest, micro-influencers offer brands the ability to target specific areas both accurately and cost-effectively.
While follower requirements vary depending on who you talk to, the industry standard typically defines a nano-influencer as having 1,000-10,000 followers, a micro influencer between 10,000 and 50,000 followers, a mid-tier influencer between 50,000 and 500,000 followers and a macro influencer from 500,000 all the way up to 1,000,000.  
Working with these influencers has pros and cons. While micro-influencers offer a tight knit relationship with their audience, macro-influencers boast a larger, more diverse following. Furthermore, while macro-influencers may have a well-established influence within a given community, with the additional benefit of prior experience working with brands, micro-influencers cover a wide range of niches (e.g. yoga, well-being or food) and come at a substantially cheaper rate (Social Media today quotes an average rate $180 per post on Instagram). And nano-influencers are often just doing it for fun and no payment is required at all.

Finding the right influencer:

While calamitous in its eventual activation, what made Fyre Festival such an unusual case was the incredible amount of attention it garnered via its use of influencers. Despite coming at a substantial cost, utilising mega influencers such as Hailey Bieber (née Baldwin), the Hadid sisters and numerous others to promote the festival indicated a real understanding of their target audience.
Whether it’s nano, micro, mid-tier, macro or mega influencers, certain elements will always remain vital to ensure:
  • That the chosen influencers’ past, present and future content aligns with your brand and its values
  • That the target audience relates to the influencer
  • That the influencer understands what they’re promoting / advertising (to avoid Fyre Festival-esque backlashes)
  • That the promoted post is successfully delivered (Daley Blind and Scott Disick take note)

Measurement:

As previously examined by James Toller, with brands spending €56 billion on sponsorship this year the necessity of accurately measuring the value of sponsorship has never been more important. The same applies to influencers.
However, while it’s developing fast with the aid of social media analytics the lack of ad transparency, especially on Instagram, means that measuring ROI from influencer marketing remains a challenge, although in both the UK and USA this is being stamped down up with influencers being called out for not making it clear when their posts are adverts. While reach and engagement can be easily measured, how this directly relates to sales and website visits is less clear.

Decommodification (or lack of)

Burning Man, the self-proclaimed “vibrant participatory metropolis,” represents the pinnacle of trendy and desirable Instagram content. The communications team, however, have recently spoken out against the “relentless consumerism of mainstream society,” definitively stating that Burning Man is not a back drop for your business and, in the spirit of the Decommodification Principle, should not be used as such.
At first glance this may appear to be a cause for concern amongst influencers and those who choose to utilise them, but in reality, the concept of decommodification has existed at Burning Man since before Instagram was invented and influencer status was restricted to actors and athletes. Instead we now exist in a marketing age where “nearly 40% of Twitter users” have made a purchase due to a Tweet from an influencer.

The regulations

The ASA, CAP and CMA have brought out join guidelines to ensure that brands and influencers toe the line when it comes to affiliate marketing on social media. The key take-out is that it needs to be made obvious that the post is an advertisement upfront, prominent, appropriate for the channel and suitable for all devices.

Conclusion

According to Linqia’s annual report on the state of influencer marketing, 86% of marketers in the United States used influencer marketing in 2017, 92% of whom found it effective. Coupled with reports that the industry is set to reach a staggering $10 billion in value next year, it’s becoming increasingly hard to ignore its impact. However, to avoid repeating the remarkable failings of Fyre Festival an air of caution should be adhered to, as whatever the level of influencer you’re using, it’s YOUR brand / campaign that they’re representing.
Keen to learn more? Get in touch and our digital team will help guide you through getting the very best out of your influencer marketing strategy.
If you want to understand further what the ASA, CAP and CMA’s regulations are regarding the use of influencers, either as a brand or as an influencer yourself, please get in touch.
Posted on
March 13, 2019
in
Industry trends
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