Micro-influencers, bloggers and everything in between. Becca Farnsworth discusses how to make the most out of influencers.
How to pick the right influencers for your marketing strategy
It’s an incredibly noisy content marketplace out there so making sure your company or brand is heard can be a challenge. There’s an increasing demand from consumers wanting to see authentic content, so the brands doing well right now are those creating genuine human connections.
Although celebrity influencers have a place, for example ex-Love Island contestants collaborating with big brands, there has been an increasing trend towards using more genuine influencers or subject experts. While we might aspire to be like the celebs on our screen, audiences are genuinely influenced by people they can relate to and most importantly, who they trust. They want authentic interactions with brands, which is why there has been a shift towards utilising micro-influencers.
Results are also clear in the industry, with 89% of marketers saying ROI influencer marketing is as good or better than other marketing channels.
But there are still lots of question marks for marketers. How do you identify the right people for your brand and utilise them to maximum impact? Should you be working with bloggers, or micro-influencers? And what even is the difference?
Micro-influencers and bloggers
The definition of an influencer is someone who has established their credibility in a specific industry and has built-up trust and authority with their followers, giving them persuasion power. The worth of an influencer is usually based on how many followers they have, who their followers are, and whether their followers are, of course, ‘influenced’ by what they post.
It is also important to consider how engaged their audience is, with quantities of likes and quality of comments acting as a good indication as to whether the influencer will generate you genuine, successful results.
But those with the biggest following are not always the most effective for a brand. They might have fake followers, or just be completely irrelevant for the brand, so think about quality over quantity.
So how do you create genuine interactions? This is where micro-influencers come in. These are everyday people who have gained a growing number of followers on their social accounts, usually between 5,000 to 50,000, by regularly posting about their genuine interests.
Another form of influencer is a blogger, someone who is known primarily for their website (although, they are also likely to have a high social media following too). Similar to social media micro-influencers, bloggers have authentic connections with their followers. Their followers trust them and the long-lasting content bloggers create can be extremely valuable in telling brand stories.
Whether a blogger, or a social media micro-influencer, neither need to have huge followings, they just need the right following, influence and engagement. Tapping into a micro-influencer who has a strong, niche following also means you can utilise their networks and influencer connections, helping to find more opportunities to target your specific audience.
So, when it comes to finding representatives for your brand, who do you go for?
The golden rule is to put your audience first and think about:
1) What you want to promote?
2) Who you want to promote to?
3) How does your audience consume content and more importantly, what platforms influence them the most?
4) Will the audience be interested in the content?
Once you have the above clear, it’s time to identify who you want representing your brand.
Research is vital at this stage – don’t just settle for the first person who fits your required demographic. For example, they might be fashion-focused, but love trainers – so approaching them with a high-heel shoe brand would not give strong results. They might be an influential food blogger based in the right location for your steak restaurant launch, but a vegan.
When it comes to using bloggers or influencers, it is also essential you pick people you genuinely believe will represent your brand well and share your values.
How does this work in practice?
Marketing activity needs to be aligned with understanding who your clients want to target and why, taking an audience-first approach.
We took this approach with our client Newmarket Racecourses and its Moët and Chandon July Festival. Our objective was to challenge perceptions around a ‘day out at the races’ among consumers and to increase the appeal to a wider range of audiences, including families, younger people and couples.
At the centre of our campaign was insight. Using ticket sale profiles, we identified that there was an issue with attracting the local population. Racegoers would travel far to attend for a special occasion, but there was a gap in sales from those within a 40-mile radius for a general day out. The aim of our campaign was therefore to break down any barriers to this.
To help do this, we had a range of key messages which were important for our influencers to entwine into their content. From discussing the range of ticket prices and that U18s go free, to acknowledging you don’t have to dress up – these messages were woven into content from our influencers in a genuine and authentic way.
We know that consumers are more likely to be influenced by their peers, as opposed to more traditional and direct advertising, so an influencer outreach campaign was the perfect option. Micro-influencers were key to our strategy, as we had specific demographics we wanted to target.
We then asked ourselves ‘What are we promoting?’. Each day took a theme, and although we were always promoting a day out at the races, the audience focus was different. For example, we wanted to push the family-fun day out element on the Saturday, so we approached mummy and family bloggers.
This influenced the next question… ‘Who do we want to promote to?’ We wanted all influencers to be within a certain radius from the racecourse, to increase awareness of the races locally, so this was our first requirement. The next requirement linked into the what. Thursday’s focus was Ladies Day, an opportunity to dress to impress, so naturally we targeted fashion-focused influencers to appeal to a wider demographic of females and couples in the area.
Our micro-influencers had a big impact on the day by posting on their social channels, with their high follower levels giving us a wide reach, drumming up awareness and engagement around Newmarket Racecourses on a short-term basis. Our bloggers also posted on social channels throughout the day, adding to this initial buzz, but their written blog reviews gave us a longer-term reach, as the lasting content will sit on their sites and appear in online searches.
We carefully audited our micro-influencers to make sure they were relevant for our campaign but if you are struggling, there are tools available that can help identify the right influencers such as Upfluence and Trendkite. These tools can also be used to monitor the impact of influencer campaigns.
By putting our audiences first for each day’s brief, we were able to identify the right influencers, who generated authentic engagement with their followers and shared our key messages too. All of this activity fed into persuading people in the local area to give the races a go.
And the results were strong too – with a total of 120 social posts, a social reach of 152.7k and nine blog posts targeted at the right audiences. Every blog post contained our key messages, helping to shift perceptions that the races is simply for a special occasion and over time we will be able to directly see the influence on ticket sales.
If you’d like to find out more about how we can help your company generate positive influence, drop us a note.