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What Is Influencer Marketing?

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Influencer marketing is the process of promoting and selling products or services through influential people who can create high impact conversations and have the ability to have a positive influence on the brand. It’s nothing new but with the growth of social media, brands have jumped on this marketing tool to help push their message, build brand awareness and drive revenue.

It can also carry with it great risk for brands of course, Lance Armstrong and Nike, Charlize Theron and Raymond Weil (you know, the one where she dared to wear a different watch!), Kate Moss and Chanel.. Brands are quick to disconnect when it all goes wrong…

Who Are these Influencers?

Although the A-Listers can be an ideal target for big brands (with deep pockets) pretty much anyone on social media with a huge following and strong reputation to a given target audience can also be a gold mine for brands.

Celebrity Intelligence, from Centaur Media PLC have developed a system that gives you all the low down on the who’s who of influence in the celebrity world.

And in the world of beauty, it’s well worth looking at their latest report which shows some strong ongoing trends towards an increase in this sort of activity (in partnership with Fashion & Beauty Monitor, and based on the views of 385 marketing specialists)

57% say an influencer’s audience is most engaged on Instagram and it is the resounding channel of choice in 2018, as YouTube falls out of favour

Some more interesting Celebrity Intelligence stats:

  • Nearly all beauty marketers say their budget for influencer marketing is likely to increase over the next 12 months
  • The most popular source of data for proving the ROI of influencer activity is web analytics (77%)
  • Measuring ROI is still a major challenge for marketers and 46% suggesting it is the biggest pain point when it comes to influencer marketing
  • Driving sales isn’t necessarily the main objective for influencer marketing, which can make ROI more complex to measure
  • 33% say increasing brand awareness is the main purpose of influencer marketing, compared to just 12% who look to increase sales
  • 82% of beauty brands rely on social media engagement to measure success, followed by press coverage (50%), revenue generated (46%) and web traffic (45%)

Of course this isn’t just a marketing approach for the beauty and fashion sector, almost every brand out there has either tried or currently uses Influencers to promote or strengthen their brands.

Which Tools?

When it comes to finding out what and who is trending, there are lots of influencer marketing tools out there, you won’t struggle to find one, but here are some that we’ve tried ourselves:

  1. First will always be Google – all seeing, all knowing.. try Google Trends  for a guide on what’s hot in pretty much any sector
  2. TrendSpottr from the team at Scribble Live offer a free solution with limited features via Hootsuite – very good for early warning on hot trends before they become hot
  3. Followerwonk (free for 1 profile) is for Twitter and gives you huge insight into it’s user base

How to Influence the Influencers?

  1. Find where your influencers hang out online, and then you can conveniently start hanging out there too
  2. If your influencer is local, keep an eye on their social feeds to see the industry events they tweet about. Register for those same events, and try to make an in person connection
  3. Use people you know to help, it really is a small world!
  4. Nurture these relationships – whats is it for them? sometimes it’s cold hard cash but not always
  5. Don’t just use and abuse, cross promote your influencers and run joint campaigns
  6. Create something for them..limited edition range or product..

66% of respondents cite content creation and distribution as a “critical” role for the influencers and celebrities that they work with

Where it’s worked well

Forward thinking British company REN Clean Skincare recently announced a collaboration with the Surfrider Foundation; a non-profit organisation dedicated to protecting oceans and beaches. Since this partnership, REN has changed its brand slogan to “Clean to skin. Clean to planet.” It has already begun engaging a wide range of talent in Surfrider Foundation beach clean-ups throughout the US and UK REN has also announced its pledge to work towards zero waste by 2021, which will focus on all packaging, meaning that all unnecessary packaging will be removed, where possible packaging will be created to be re-usable in another form or re-fillable, and all packaging will be 100% recyclable.

And not so well… 

Estée Edit was launched by parent company Estée Lauder in 2016 to target the so called ‘millennial consumer’ but failed to reach their target after selecting Kendall Jenner (who had repeatedly been reported as saying she doesn’t wear much makeup) and Irene Kim to influence their target market. Spending a fortune on the biggest celebs wasn’t the answer and decisions like selling via Sephora and not focussing on developing a specific range for Kendall Jenner were expensive mistakes. By the end of the year, Lauder insiders were reporting target shortfalls, while social media metrics suggested that Kylie Cosmetics was far more popular, or at least more relevant to consumers who are active on social media.

And Confusing? 

Was David Mitchell the right choice for Saatchi’s EE data gifting ads, or was it only me saying ‘what on earth has happened to David Mitchell?’ Why is he doing this to himself (like I have to ask)..  I also refer to his fab article on gender equality for the guardian last year where he ends his article ‘But I’d hate a sudden disappearance of gender stereotyping to trick us into believing adverts are necessarily decent or civilised in other ways. They may soon be gluten-free, but they’ll still be laced with strychnine..’  I mean Kevin Bacon is dead to me and he was in footloose and was a real hero of mine….. was! But David Mitchell I could see you promoting The Guardian, Range Rover or Oxford but EE? Am confused.

NB: I must just add that any links added to this post are for usefulness only and not as part of any third party affiliate advertising! now that would be ironic

Know Your Audience

So finding the right influencer is key, and using the best channel to share this collaboration is also key. It’s not always about A-list celebs and most small businesses and us mere mortals aren’t going to be able to afford to talk to those sorts of people anyway.  Be more like REN we say, find an organisation or person that it’s true to your brand and vision, talks your talk. This might be an organisation or person with influence in your community or sector, or someone well known in a particular sport of field of expertise. Will they want you? why? what does it do for them? do you make them look good or do they just love what you do or your product?

How will your audience react to them? will they respect your choice and engage? chose carefully and wisely and always have a clause in your contract that allows you to separate easily in the case of PR disasters.

If there is one thing we can’t control it’s life (that can’t be true.. am off to look for apps on that now)

Other articles you may be interested in:

CBD – Spotting The Next Big Thing

How can you spot the next big trends, what is everyone talking about at the moment and has this markedly changed in volume and frequency over time?

Understanding Your Marketing Funnel

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Ecommerce Promotional Planning

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Online Shopping – The Young Ones

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