There’s a change coming in the Influencer Marketing sphere. The space has become so oversaturated, it’s becoming near-impossible for brands to tell the real influencers from the people who just want to make a quick few quid out of doing very little, or just want free stuff.
They say that money is the root to the evilest ways…
Let’s not tarnish everyone with the same brush, as there are some influencers out there who do a great job for the brands they promote, as they genuinely care and have a passion for the products.
However, there are some influencers who are becoming greedy, and posting for any old brand. The practice of Influencer Marketing was once about engaging with an individual who represented the brand well, who liked and even used the brand and its products, and who had a rapport and influence on the brand’s target audience, in order to generate sales.
Now, for some influencers, it’s more about how much they can get paid, rather than whether they like the brand or product being offered, and whether the brand reflects their values as an individual.
As a result of this, customers are beginning to lose faith in the influencer, and in turn, the brands and products which are being promoted. This ultimately results in a loss of potential revenue for the brand, and a lack of return on investment for their marketing efforts.
A question of trust.
Now the question is, who holds more influence: Instagram influencers who are paid to pretend to like the product, or customers who have experienced the complete buyer cycle and who become loyal advocates of the brand through repeat custom? Who would you trust more?
It shouldn’t take too much thinking about really should it? In fact, there is no thinking about it, particularly for millennial consumers, with 68% of them asking a friend’s advice on a purchase before making it. They’re asking their friends advice. They’re not seeing which ‘Instagram famous’ stranger is being paid to promote it. Furthermore, in his blog titled ‘5 Ecommerce Techniques for Connecting with Millennial Shoppers’, marketing extraordinaire Neil Patel says “93% of millennials have made a purchase based on a recommendation from friends and family, and 89% of millennials trust these recommendations more than they do the claims of the brand itself.”
This again is summed up by Danny Clutterbuck, experienced marketer and CEO of the Buck Group, who has launched several successful brands including Circulr.
A modern brand puts the customer first, not it’s instagram. A community of loyal fans is much more powerful than 1000s of followers that don’t buy or represent the brand with pride.
There’s a big change happening.
A positive one.
— Danny Buck* (@DClutt) October 29, 2018
Now Clutterbuck is taking it one step further, and acting on the statistics which show how influential customers are on future purchases. With the Circulr brand, he has recently launched ‘Circsquad’, a customer loyalty-come-affiliate scheme which sees actual customers of the brand get paid to promote the products on their social media channels, rather than that money being spent on influencers who the audience aren’t as likely to trust. This should prove extremely successful, if you combine the former statistics about millennials trusting recommendations from friends and family, with the research which shows that millennials are 247% more likely to be influenced by blogs or social networking sites.
Should I stop influencer marketing?
If Influencer Marketing is part of your current strategy, this blog may have raised one or two questions, for example “if people don’t trust them, should I stop influencer marketing?”. Well, the decision around this comes down to a number of factors.
Firstly, are the influencers you’re working with genuinely interested in your brand? Have they ever bought something from you? Do they like your current range of products? It’s important that you have complete buy-in from the influencer if they are to successfully promote your brand.
Secondly, does the influencer share your brand values? This can be quite a difficult question to answer, as a person’s values aren’t always apparent at face value. Spend some time researching them, going through previous social media posts, even reading interviews with them, to see whether they’re really the kind of person you want to associate with your brand. Ethics and brand values are highly important to the modern day consumer, and so it’s important that those who represent your brand, from your employees to the influencers you work with reflect your company values to your customer base.
Thirdly, analyse whether it is generating return on investment. As you are probably aware, everything we do here at The Source is about driving ROI for our clients, and so it’s extremely important to look at whether your current influencer marketing efforts are generating a positive return on investment. If not, then change how you approach it. It could be that you’re working with the wrong influencers, and that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not interested in your products. They could tick all the boxes about being engaged with the brand and mirroring your values, but if their followers are 80% bot accounts, or they have a poor engagement rate with their posts, they’re probably not right for you! Instead, concentrate your efforts on those who tick all the boxes and meet specific minimum metrics.
If you change your approach and you still don’t see an ROI, then Influencer Marketing may not be right for you at this moment in time. If you’re not sure on which channel to focus on, then talk to us and we’ll help steer you in the right direction.