The way we access our media has changed dramatically over the last ten years and social media influencers seem to be slowing taking over. We are picking up our smartphones and tablets now before we’ pick up the TV remote or a newspaper.
Advertising has also changed and instead of paying for a massive advertising campaign on TV or radio, there are other options. A lot of small to medium businesses are choosing to work with social media influencers in a bid to target their customer profile directly.
Collaborations may come in many different forms. These include YouTube videos, a sponsored blog post, an Instagram or Facebook post or a Snapchat tutorial. There are loads of options to try out. More and more businesses are ditching traditional marketing techniques and choosing to work with these social media influencers. If executed correctly, a collaboration with an Instagram or YouTube star can work just as well, or even better, than a printed advertisement in a magazine or a newspaper.
According to Top Rank Blog, 57% of marketers are set to make influencer marketing part of their main marketing campaign this year, with 55% planning to spend more on influencers over the next year.
Most social media sites, such as Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, cost nothing to sign up and you can effectively advertise your product or service for free. However, building an impressive follower count can take a lot of time and effort, which is why brands are turning to people who have already created a loyal following who listen to their opinions and advice.
Social media influencers have monetized their follower base on Instagram, YouTube and other social platforms by working with brands in paid partnerships. Businesses quickly saw the benefits and rewards in these collaborations.
A lot of Instagram and Snapchat stars have gained thousands and thousands of followers because of their make-up skills, wardrobe selections, expert advice or tutorials. It’s put them on a pedestal far above other celebrities. Some document most of their daily lives via Snapchat or Instagram and most of their follower’s trust and value what they have to say. If they are going to recommend a product or service, you can bet that a percentage of those thousands will be interested in hearing what they’ve got to say. 70% of teenage YouTube subscribers trust influencer opinions over traditional celebrities, according to Think with Google.
It’s an easy and cost-effective way to gain awareness, build a following or get potential customers over to your social media pages.
If you are a home store, you’ll want to reach out to bloggers or influencers who talk regularly about home wear or interiors. But if you’re a tech company, you’ll want to talk to someone who discusses gadgets or perhaps gives YouTube tutorials on equipment. If you work with someone who doesn’t always talk about your specific industry, people will see straight through it and you’ll not get the response you are paying for.
There are social media influencers for every genre of product or service, including marketing and business. Do your research and you will find one that is right for you.
A lot of businesses are choosing to work with ‘micro-bloggers’ now instead of those who have a bigger following. A ‘micro’ blogger is someone who has a smaller following in terms of numbers. However, they tend to have a bigger connection with their followers and engage with them more often, making them seem more trustworthy.
Some bigger bloggers have such a large following that they simply cannot reply or engage with every follower who leaves a comment or asks a question about a product or service.
Like everything else, when discussing the price, it might be cheaper to work with a smaller blogger or influencer and might prove to be more cost-effective in the long run.
In recent years, some bloggers and social media influencers have received backlash for untrustworthy work, and their lack of transparency with their following. Unless they clearly state whether the post/photo/video has been sponsored or if it is a paid partnership, they are not being honest with their following. People do not like this.
With the number of social media stars today, if they aren’t being honest with their following, their followers or subscribers will simply turn off and watch someone else instead. They are indispensable, and people will always have other options.
In recent years, the UK advertising regulator has acted to make sure these influencers have a greater understanding of online ad rules.
Influencers work like a walking, talking advertisement. But they do it in a way that is natural and ‘honest’. Sometimes they do this without letting their followers know that it is a paid ad or collaboration, which is against the standards set by the advertising regulator.
More than likely, followers are interested in how these people look, what they do or what products or services they use. They’ll listen to their advice if they are recommending something. They can be oblivious to the fact that the content they have posted was paid for and controlled by a brand.
The advertising regulator has put actions into place to research the public’s understanding of ad labelling. They have also made it clearer, so influencers are aware of their standards. There can be no excuses in today’s market.
Guy Parker, Chief Executive of the Advertising Standards Authority, the UK regulator of ads in all media, told The Independent earlier this year their ultimate regulation is in the interest of influencers as well as consumers.
“Because it will allow them to maintain their authenticity. Without that, they run the risk of being viewed with the same cynicism that many people now direct at fake news. Truth matters.” he said.
Before you select which blogger or social media influencer you want to work with, you need to decide why you want to work with one. Are you going to run alike, follow and share competition to gain new followers and increase brand awareness? Or do you want them to do a demo or trial of your product to gain new customers? Or have you just launched your new business and are simply wanting to build a following?
All these questions are important. You’ll have to answer them before you decide on the influencer you want to work with. Check that their followers are real people because it is quite easy to buy thousands of fake followers or bots. You should look at how regularly they engage with their followers. If they have worked with brands in the past, ask them for the statistics from their previous collaborations. Analyse the collaboration and see what worked or didn’t work.