Industry Insights

Industry Insights / June 2018

In the age of #ad – is the role of influencers in marketing strategies dead?

It seemed an easy win at first. A subtle yet beautifully direct way of promoting a product or service to a highly engaged audience. Sure, it’s not your own audience, but it’s made up of exactly the sorts of people you’ve been targeting from afar on a daily basis for years. One trustworthy influencer surely = fantastic conversions and ROI. Time to hit the pub.

Except, it’s not all that simple. Especially since the ASA have cracked the whip and any adverts, such as recommended products by influencers, for example, are now often labelled as paid partnerships or at the very least, #ad. And that’s not to mention the difficulty in tracking conversions back to the influencer themselves in order to prove the exercise was worth it in the first place. Was it actually their post? Or was it the direct mail you laboured over for months, stumbled upon weeks later and brushed free of dust by a curious consumer?

I suppose our stance on the whole thing is mixed. Like all things marketing, it’s never a guaranteed way of gaining fantastic traction with a particular audience, but it’s absolutely worth a try. Just so long as you keep these golden rules front of mind whilst developing an influencer strategy:

  1. More isn’t always more

Whilst the temptation will be there to opt for the mega-star with millions of followers, you’re much more likely to have a successful campaign if you choose to align with relevant micro-influencers. Their following may be in the tens of thousands as opposed to the hundreds of, but it will be a much more targeted and engaged audience who believe and trust that the people they choose to follow wouldn’t align themselves with a brand simply for the big bucks. You’ll also save a big part of your budget, which might mean you can have multiple influencers with multiple posts planned, as opposed to just one of the Kim K variety.

  1. Define success before you launch

As I’ve already touched upon, tracing back conversions can be notoriously difficult with influencers, so it’s essential you set up a strategy and metrics plan way in advance. Be sure to establish what you would consider a successful post. Are you simply looking for brand awareness and engagement? Or are you looking for direct sales? If the former, this is a pretty simple exercise, but the latter will require much more thought and planning – especially around the post content and establishing any opportunities to link to your social page or booking/sales platform. Set yourself targets so that whatever happens, you have a clear way to define and present the success of your influencer campaign.

  1. Know your niche

It sounds obvious, but deep investigation into your ‘niche’ is essential. Just because you’re a vegan food product supplier, doesn’t mean that the health and wellness guru you’ve been chatting to has an audience that’s remotely interested in what you sell. Look into what motivates your ideal audience into sharing or engaging with content. Who are the people that most often post about your area of expertise? Where have your competitors been successful? Write a list of insights you feel can inform your strategy and get digging.

There you have it. Just three simple steps to aid success as you dip your toe into the often-overwhelming waters of the influencer world.

By Hannah Underwood, Account Director @ Studio Black Tomato

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