In the digital landscape, great content is king – but its easy for marketing efforts to fall into the same old traps. In 2020, consumers have grown ruthlessly aware of how and when brands are trying to push products in an inauthentic way, and have begun to build an immunity to these messages – something that didnt happen at the dawn of mass media and advertising.
The age of influence
With this in mind, within the world of social media, brands must take a considered approach to marketing and break out of the cycle of merely promoting products and hoping for the best. Key to this is the recognition of one of the most effective marketing tools of modern times: the influencer. As social media personalities who can raise the profile of a brand, publicise their goods and create a conversation around products, influencers are slowly becoming inseparable from a fully-fledged social media marketing strategy, with this burgeoning industry worth an estimated £7.6 billion.
The proliferation of social media has brought brands and consumers closer together than ever before, and its from this newfound intimacy that the age of the influencer has flourished. In terms of subsets of influencer, there are two: macro-influencers and micro-influencers.
Macro-influencers and micro-influencers
Macro-influencers, otherwise known as celebrities, often use their presence on social media to run several sponsored marketing campaigns in collusion with carefully-selected brands. Micro-influencers are often self-made individuals who have become brands in their own right by growing a loyal army of followers who see them as someone like a friend, or someone to aspire to.
So as a brand, which category of influencer is it most advisable to employ and what sort of factors should you take into account when selecting from such a wide range of online brand representatives?
- Macro or micro?: Itll be no surprise to learn that the more famous faces that comprise the macro-influencer bracket of the influencer command a high price tag. Here, customer research and insights will be required to identify the people who may share similar ideals to your brand and who will resonate (and ultimately, influence) your target audience. If your budget allows, this is the sort of personality you could target for a sustained campaign or formal partnership type activity.
If big-budget spending is not realistic, you can tap into micro-influencers – these will have smaller follower numbers (in the low thousands) but who tend to be very highly engaged and interactive with this loyal community. When you land on the right individual, youll also be able to tap into a loyal and trusting audience, giving the promotion of your product an authenticity that may have been lost under the power of a celebrity endorsement.
- Platform: Social medias many platforms are chock full of influencers. As a brand, its best to choose which channel is best reflective of the type of product or service you offer. For instance, aesthetics and beauty brands, in their focus on the visual, would be best advised to choose Instagram or YouTube. This will allow you to make use of an influencer who specialises in top-quality visual or video content and the creation of posts that really drive home your focus on helping your consumers assume eye-catching looks.
- Philosophy: As consumers are highly attuned to spurious content, its important to select an individual who would be a believable follower of your brand. If you dont abide by this rule, consumers will be quick to pick on this contradiction and this will both hurt the authenticity of your campaign and damage the reputation of your brand.
- Success: You need to be careful to design a campaign that allows you to measure your success. Whether the intention of employing the services of an influencer is to raise brand awareness, increase engagement or convert more leads, make sure you have something in place to help you weigh up the effectiveness of your influencer-based content. This can be something as simple as including direct links in your post, or offering a promotional code for some of your products.
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