In March of last year, MrsHinchHome posted her first picture on Instagram. In September, Sophie Hinchcliffe appeared on This Morning with 387,000 followers. Now, another six months later, she has 2.3 million Instagram followers and her book — Hinch Yourself Happy — has become the second fastest selling title ever on the Bookseller’s non-fiction chart.
Her shortened surname, Hinch, has become a verb for extreme cleaning. A host of hashtags have followed: #Hinching, #HinchHaul, #Hinchmas and even one for #HenryHinch, her dog!
Through Instagram stories alone, Mrs Hinch has changed an entire generation’s outlook on cleaning and is a prime example of how important influencer marketing still is in the world of PR and social media.
The #HinchArmy has directly impacted the sales of cleaning products across the UK, with stores selling out of Hinch favourites such as Zoflora and Minky M Cloths. In fact, Thornton and Ross, the makers of Zoflora, made a statement to reassure people that they are working overtime to ensure the product is fully stocked — even doubling their production to meet the demand — and the Minky M Cloths, or as Mrs Hinch calls it her “Minkeh”, have sold out, been restocked and sold out again. The demand is so high that the “Minkeh” cloth is being sold on Ebay for 5 times the RRP of £2.49.
Mrs Hinch’s popularity and the subsequent boost in demand for these products is not a coincidence. It shows the true value and potential for working with influencers to tap into a particular target market to boost a brand’s reputation, something which, working in PR, I’m often looking to do.
Millennials are now touted as the most house-proud generation. Not only are “Hinchers” buying the recommended products, they’re also seemingly taking on board her tips and tricks for a clean home. A survey conducted for Appliances Direct showed that people born in the 1980s and 1990s now spend more time cleaning than any other generation.
1 in 10 millennials follow Mrs Hinch on Instagram, and she has created a new genre of “cleaning influencers” such as LittleMissMops, and MyBudgetHome — more micro influencers to add to our list of people to watch.
What does this say about influencer relations in PR?
PR is all about getting someone else to endorse a brand. Influencers are an effective way to do this, building on audience trust and a respected their opinion. A PR agency can be the perfect bridge from a brand, product or service to the influencer and therefore the audience.
Keeping up with social media trends and influencers, as well as forging genuine relationships with key influencers is a skill that definitely shouldn’t be underestimated for PR professionals. The rise of Mrs Hinch shows how there is an influencer for every market and is a prime example of how influencer marketing can and does work. In PR, it’s part of my job to see the opportunity in liaising with micro influencers and developing meaningful connections with them. Striking the right chord with the right influencer at the right time could be the difference between not hitting coverage KPIs and selling out a client’s product on influencer recommendation alone — no mean feat in an over saturated market — but as Mrs Hinch has proven, definitely possible.