How Influencer Marketing is Changing

I recently read an article about how brands are using influencers the wrong way which ‘influenced’ me to write this blog.

Pictured: L’Oréal’s ‘beauty squad’, which consists of five UK beauty bloggers.

We’re all influenced by something. Brands have known this for decades. Whether it’s wearing the same football boots as Leo Messi, or smelling like Johnny Depp, brands have leveraged celebrity influence to sell products for a long time. In the age of social media, the power of influence has become more readily accessible. This is why we’ve seen the rise of social media. It’s only logical that it has moved to commercialise these insta-influencers.

What is influencer marketing?
It’s the process of identifying, researching, engaging and supporting the people who create high-impact conversations with customers about your brand, products or services. Influencer marketing offers brands the potential to unify their marketing, PR, sales, product, digital marketing, and social media through powerful and relevant relationship-based communication.

Pro’s of IM
Thousands of small, medium and large companies cooperate with internet celebrities successfully. There are many studies examining the results of influencer marketing campaigns in different industries. The conclusions are clear — influencer marketing, if done right, will boost your sales. Influencers attract customers with much longer lifetime value than customers you appeal to via other marketing channels. You can build much more meaningful and longer relations by appealing to your customers’ via influencers.

Con’s of IM
You’re giving away some of the power over your brand. The main job of an influencer marketer is to promote your business among their followers. In theory, they will promote your business, and, in most cases, they do it successfully. But there are some rare cases when influencer marketing campaign backfired. Either the influencer profile didn’t suit the brand, the content was ill-prepared, or there was some other type of social media crisis. All of that can harm your brand, even if you prepare well and research your influencer online presence thoroughly.

Mega-influencers: Emily Ratajkowski (22.4mil followers), Kylie Jenner (132mil followers) and Louise Thompson (1.2mil followers)

One brand that is trying to change the way they interact with influencers is L’Oréal who are working with 5 beauty influencers in order to promote its brand to “craft a different type of relationship”. More about them later…

All this talk about influencers makes me think back to the Fyre Festival documentary on Netflix. If you haven’t seen it and you have Netflix or you leach off somebody else’s account (you know who you are), it's definitely worth a watch from a marketing perspective.

The marketing for it was UNREAL; like it was too good to be true. People were spending thousands for a ticket but if you wanted a private yacht with a chef, this was $250,000. Within 48 hours they had sold 95% of the tickets. Farfetched right, for something people, didn’t really know much about?

Fyre Festival advert on Netflix

Founded by Billy McFarland, CEO of Fyre Media Inc, and rapper Ja Rule, they got models, influencers, actors, artists, comedians to be mascots for the festival. From a marketing perspective, they shot footage which was second to none it was the thing that gave all the New York agencies insight into what was happening in the Bahamas. It gave people FOMO and people would have done anything to get a ticket.

This is a perfect example of the ongoing power of celebrity influencers. The press coverage of the trip was monumental, just because of the gathering of such high-profile models in a single place. They were selling an aspirational vision that far exceeded what could actually be provided. It was built on lies from the beginning. Fraud at its finest!

It’s incredible that a couple of powerful models and influencers posting an orange tile essentially built the festival and then someone with around 400 followers on Twitter posted a picture of cheese on bread that trended and essentially tore down the festival.

FYI — Kendal Jenner was paid $250,000 to post ONE image of the festival. She and others later apologised for promoting this event which could have affected their careers.

Announcing Fyre Festival video clips

Going back to L’Oréal’s point of ‘brands are using influencers the wrong way,’ this is probably what they mean. The models that were hired to post about the festival were all one hit wonders.

L’Oréal’s UK general manager, Adrien Koskas, said, I don’t want a ‘one post one cheque’ type of contractual relationship. That’s not what we’re looking for…We work with people by forming a human relationship for the long term.This is how I believe it should be done so it is a more genuine partnership. Unlike how Billy McFarland just paid models to post about Fyre Festival and then didn’t need anything else from them.

As influencer marketing continues to grow and mature as a marketing solution, consumers are becoming savvier. They know that many of the major influencers are being paid a lot of money to promote this product. As a result, it’s less authentic and ultimately effective. When using a major influencer, brands may as well be using a celebrity and shooting an ad. You aren’t fooling anybody!

Two of the beauty bloggers from L’oréal’s, ‘The Beauty Squad’

Consumers put so much trust into brands and expect the truth even though they don’t know influencers and microinfluencers personally. Influencers are there for people to connect with and promote a brand, positively.

Nanoinfluencers’ lack of fame is one of the qualities that make them relatable and authentic. It’s this authenticity with their followers that brands are trying to harness. When they recommend a shampoo or a lotion or a furniture brand on Instagram, their word seems as genuine as advice from a friend. Brands enjoy working with them partly because they are easy to deal with (and probably because they are paid a lot less than famous influencers).

So this is where L’oréal have got it right of having the best of both worlds. These five women aren’t worldwide influencers but people/consumers can engage with their content.

“…consumers are really changing the way they interact with brands and are very engaged on social media. Often consumers are looking for this type of content online and we wanted to be the brand providing that to them.” Adrien Koskas said.

What can influencer marketing help brands achieve?

Brand awareness:
- Social Reach
- Engagement
-Brand Lift
- Social Sentiment

Conversion
- Sales
- Signups
- Downloads
- Click-through Rate

80% of brands find influencer marketing effective but it's not for everyone.

20+ years ago people would promote or slate brands via word of mouth; now it’s done on the internet. Decisions are made every day about hotels, restaurants, and plumbers based on the reviews of patrons found on sites like TripAdviser! You can tell real reviews that come from real fans because they talk about the little things. They talk about the people that work there as much or more than, they talk about the products and services.

Clearly, there’s a similar dynamic at play in Instagram influencing — that signature 21st-century means of “representing reality.” This shows that some brands don’t own their brands anymore. They know that their reputation is co-owned, but are trying to use influencers to shape positive, authentic discussions about their brand.

If brands are looking at working with influencers, a key thing for them to consider are their objectives and what benefit they could be to the brand itself. It’s good to think about the size of influencer they want to work with as sometimes it’s best to have quality, not quantity (in regards to followers).

Worth knowing:
1. Mega-influencers are the highest ranking category of social media influencer, they typically have more than a million followers.
2. Macro-influencers are a notch down from mega-influencers. One way to identify a macro-influencer is by their follower count, which should fall somewhere between 100,000 and one million followers.
3. A micro-influencer is someone who has between 1,000 to 100,000 followers. Micro-influencers focus on a specific niche or area and are generally regarded as an industry expert or topic specialist.
4. Nano-influencers are a relatively new breed of influencer. They tend to have a smaller number of followers in comparison to micro-influencers, less than 1,000 followers.

Many brands are recognising that influencer marketing 1.0 has created influencer stars that are genuine celebrities in their own right now. Influencer marketing 2.0 is all about partnerships and relationships. Is your brand thinking about getting into the game?