Avoiding Perfection: Navigating Influencer Marketing
The celebrated La Redoute rug, prints by Lorraine Sorlet (check her out, she's great) and a jumpsuit that's suitable for anything from weddings to the office. This is a just a very small selection of the products I've been inspired to buy as a result of influencer marketing. And I'm not alone. Research by affilinet shows that, in 2017 alone, over half of young adults made online purchases as a direct result of influencer marketing.
The Stats on Influencer Marketing
Studies show that influencer marketing is one of the most successful ways to market products to social media users aged between 18-30. Apparently UK millenials are five times more likely to buy something once it has been promoted to them via an online influencer.
It was estimated that in 2017 the average amount a millennial spent that year as a direct result of influencer marketing came in at £285. Clothing, beauty products, video games, home furnishings and kitchen equipment were the most common items bought due to influencer promotion.
But it's not only millenials that are subject to these influences. New research by Toluna, on behalf of communication company Golin, has uncovered that one in five Brits aged 21-60 actually welcome product recommendations from influencers, with one in four going on to buy an item as a direct result.
We did our own research on the topic back in 2017 and discovered that 12% of respondents to our survey actively use blogs to work out what they should be buying. 3% of our respondents went on to say that they would consider an item recommended to them by a blogger they follow.
The allure is understandable. Not only are the products reviewed honestly but we can actually see what they look like in the flesh. In addition, the desire to have a life that is curated as perfectly as the life in an Instagram account is a strong one. It leads us to make purchases in the hope our lives can look similar to what we see portrayed online.
Why Influencer Marketing Can Be Tricky
However, it's misguided to think that successful influencer marketing can be achieved easily. The major benefits of working with an influencer is that it can help to make your company and products look more credible and trustworthy as a result. The reason for this is because any influencer worth their salt will have spent a long time building up their audience by promoting high-quality products that they genuinely believe are worth the hype.
The most trusted, transparent influencers will review your products honestly, and their followers tend to be able to see if they're authentic or not, based on their history of providing reliable reviews. Many influencers may even turn down your products if they're told to leave a positive review that they don't feel it deserves.
In fact, because of their trustworthiness, influencers are three-times more likely to engage consumers than celebrities, who often have larger followings but havent built up a trusted opinion based on a history of reviewing. Just as we had always thought; consumers value relatability, real expertise and most importantly, something genuine.
But it also turns out that what influencer audiences do not want is perfection. In fact, part of the reason that these influencers are so successful is down to how ‘real' they are. Nobody wants to see the heavily-edited and flawless lifestyle so often associated with the celeb. Instead, what we all want to see is something achievable and real, an art that the instagram influencer has refined and perfected.
Our Head of Brand Marketing, Fiona White, says
‘Influencer marketing plays a crucial role in our campaigns to increase brand awareness for our clients products and services. It has developed massively even since just five years ago, when paying a blogger for a sponsored post on their website was considered innovative digital marketing.
Now, brands and their chosen influencers prefer to collaborate on bespoke posts - whether for their websites or social channels - and come up with something that will really engage the influencers audience. Consumers want authenticity; thats the whole reason they choose to follow their handpicked selection of influencers in the first place. They are inspired by people who they can identify with and whose taste is more attainable than that of traditional celebrities. It is important that influencer marketing campaigns reflect this and appear natural and genuine - whether the influencer has been paid or not.'
Using Instagram for Influencer Marketing
There are a variety of different social media platforms that can be used for influencer marketing, with Instagram one of the most popular. It allows users to delve deep into the lives of their favourite Instagram influencers, saving images they like and easily shopping for the content they want to have.
Whats more, it's one of the most successful social media platforms for engagement, with an average 3.21% engagement rate in comparison to 1.5% across all other social networks. As an influencer marketing platform, Instagram is difficult to match.
At I-COM, we've worked with a range of influencers in the past. We've built relationships with the likes of Victoria Magrath (In The Frow), Megan Ellaby, Jeska Hearne (Lobster & Swan), Fleur Bell (Fleur de Force) and local micro-influencers, creating collaborations with brands such as Christy, Brand Attic and SockShop. One of our campaigns had a total combined reach of almost 4 million people. If you're interested in seeing if working with influencers could be a suitable approach for your brand, then get in touch.