By Rosie Miller
A lot has been said over the past few years regarding influencers, from the fees they command, to brands who use them to much success (or not), to the ASA’s guidelines and those who don’t toe their line.
More recently, media have speculated whether Instagram is on a downward slide into boredom and over-influencing, hastened by the pandemic and the platform’s core base of millennials creeping towards middle age.
Some influencers themselves are shunning their title, preferring to be known as ‘content creators’ – and rightly so. They are creating content for brands, and are pursuing compensation for doing so, in monetary fees rather than piles of new clothes and cosmetics.
While it may sound like you should think twice before getting into the world of social media influencers (we’ll keep using the title for the purpose of this article), we believe the world of influencing and content creation is one that can’t be ignored.
Why using influencers is still a good idea
1. Authenticity and credibility
If you can execute a well-planned influencer campaign, one of the outcomes should be authentic content and the credibility that comes from independent third-party endorsement – there’s the basic ‘why’ of using influencers right there!
Active social media users are becoming more and more selective about who they follow. There is now the recognition amongst users that following someone who makes them feel negatively about their own life or body is not a good thing for their mental health.
This means that those they do follow, they often feel a closer connection to and believe in what they have to say. And on the flip side, as more and more companies vie for influencers’ buy-in, creators are being more selective about the brands they work with. So those that get over the line can be more assured of authenticity and influencers showing a genuine connection with their company.
Plus, using an influencer gives you at least one substantial customer testimonial, which can be tricky to otherwise obtain without incentive.
2. Social media reach
We’ve been saying it for years – organic social media reach is not what it was ‘in the beginning.’ On Facebook, you’re lucky to get above 5% of your followers seeing your regular posts, particularly if your engagement is not high.
While paid advertising is one important channel to remedy this, another way to extend your reach is by partnering with those with a larger, more engaged following to reach more new people.
Facebook and Instagram now allow brands and influencers to partner through their Brand Collabs Manager, making the process easy and transparent – something social media users put a lot of stock in. The number of complaints to the ASA (from anecdotal evidence they seem to be numerous) is a great example of this.
3. Think of your audience
Is your target audience under the age of 60 (and to be honest, we could go older – there’s grandmas with over 1 million followers on Tik Tok)? Then a strong social media presence is key, on the channel(s) that best fit your company.
If your audience is considerably younger than this, it’s much harder to reach them through mainstream media. As someone in their mid-late 20s, I can go several weeks if not months without watching anything on free-to-air TV, and only read the newspaper when I visit my parents.
You’ll find younger audiences online, and social media dominates people’s internet use – 90% of internet users are on social media. Worldwide, the average user spends 2 hours and 25 minutes on social media every day (of 7 hours total spent on the internet, across all devices).
And I can tell you that I find out about new products and trends through social media (and to some extent, emails from brands I love), and I’d say about 80% of this comes from influencers I trust (the other 20% from ads).
One last point to get you on board
There’s one last point to make about getting on board with this channel – you may be thinking that your organisation or brand isn’t a good fit for the influencing world. But in 95% of cases, you’d be wrong.
You don’t need to be selling a cutting-edge skincare product or collagen powder to benefit from influencer PR; we’ve seen innovative campaigns from city councils and government entities, those in the agriculture space, banking and investment companies and even dentists.
To get it right, just follow the tenets of any good communication activity – build a strategy with clear key messages, targeted to the right audience, at the right time.