In 2019, the year that third-wave feminism took on new firepower in light of the #MeToo movement and induction of incredible women like Alexandra Ocasio Cortez into the US political system, the most loved influencer on the internet is a woman obsessed with housework.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, Mrs Hinch, aka Sophia Hinchliffe, is everywhere - she’s a viral Instagram sensation who gained hundreds of thousands of followers very quickly by sharing her cleaning tips. Hinchliffe shot into the public eye (gaining one million followers and becoming verified on Instagram in just three months) in the most sudden, extreme way (and whoever you are, that’s never an easy thing to handle or adjust to) but she’s taken it in her stride and continues to use her influence for good. Sophie’s content consists of encouraging people to clean away their blues or even just to gather the motivation to complete one small, but effective task that will bring with it that sense of achievement - the sort we all feel from changing our bedsheets or flipping those diffuser stick things in the loo. Even Mumsnet – the lion’s den of hard-to-please women – seems to love her, despite her apparent obsession with ‘Zoflora’ (whatever that is).
Whether you’re into cleaning hacks or not, Mrs Hinch is undeniably addictive, so it’s no surprise the nation has joined ‘the cleaning revolution that will shine your soul as much as your sink’. From an agency perspective, her rise to prominence has been immense to watch… there really isn’t a week that goes by when a client, prospect client – or even your mate in the pub – doesn’t ask about Mrs Hinch. She’s even started a whole new influencer vertical, with “cleanfluencers” popping up all over the gram such as @mybudgethome and @cleanmama. It’s official, the UK is Hinch-ing mad.
So, apart from her second-to-none cleaning hacks… what is it that makes Mrs Hinch the most wanted influencer on the internet? What exactly is it that led to her racking up a near three million following on Instagram, with a whopping 6.7% engagement rate? Most “influencers” with three million followers are traditional celebrities, who’ve forged their fame through traditions means, like being an actor, musician, footballer or whatever. This is a woman who became a household name by running a tight ship. For comparison's sake, at three million followers you would usually expect the engagement rate of an influencer to be around 0.5%, not a near 7%. If you need the maths, 500k followers usually equates to around 1% ER, 150k at 2% ER and 75k at 4% ER – you get the picture. Hinchliffe’s engagement rate should be dwindling with every new follower, but instead, it’s rising.
If the attraction of influencers lies in their ability to create a life you envy or aspire to, then Mrs Hinch is the most accessible version of that – she is quite possibly the ultimate, yet most relatable, example of an “influencer”. In many ways, Mrs Hinch is a fairy-tale story; she is a very normal woman who was anonymous two years ago, and now has three million followers and a significantly more “comfortable” life. Many would say she won life’s lottery, but in actuality, she’s just really good at being herself – and in turn, an influencer. She is completely authentic, honest and down to earth, she is the Cinderella who actually loved cleaning the house instead of chasing after princes, and loved it so much she decided to teach all her followers how they too can be the best versions of themselves. Instead of just falling into the princess role, she taught herself how to be one and then gave you the instructions of how to do it yourself. See where I’m going with this metaphor? She’s a bargain hunting, easy going, beautiful, kind, self-made star, famous for being a really good egg, easy to love, perfect to work with, and makes you feel like you can do better and be better. She’s the underdog that became the nation’s sweetheart.
The click-through and conversion rate on Mrs Hinch is like nothing we have seen before. Week-on-week, she is consistently the top performing influencer. Since her rise to prominence, she has grabbed fame by the horns and worked with numerous globally known brands, such as Very.co.uk and P&G, gone on to launch her own loungewear line (which sold out in less than an hour – with all proceeds going to charity) and released no less than two books called Hinch Yourself Happy, and Mrs Hinch: The Activity Journal – which made it onto Amazon’s bestseller list two months before it was actually released.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the establishment of Hinchliffe’s empire, is the invisibility of her face – for a while, anyway. On a platform where the algorithm favors beautiful faces, Hinchliffe defied all odds – and pretty much everything the industry would advise to grow your following – by rising to fame without showing her face, and predominantly posting on Stories, not grid. Stories notoriously give the viewer a more revealing insight into who you are, so Hinchliffe well and truly had her audience hooked on her own very unique brand of content. Again, without banging the drum too loudly, she was authentic from the start – and boy has it worked.
While many influencers (and who would blame them, they’ve earned the money so why not spend it?) would have bought a huge mansion by now and upgraded to a life their followers could only dream of instead of truly relate to, Mrs Hinch has tried her very best to keep her life as normal as possible. Her home was such a big investment and milestone, that instead of moving house she extended her home just to accommodate her new baby. She still shops in bargain basements, and will most likely continue to because that’s what her followers want from her; honesty.
She also understands her audience to the nth degree (something I’m sure many influencers would love to be able to claim), as well as understanding the influencer business. The majority of Hinchliffe’s commercial work operates through brand ambassadorships with (archetypally aligned) key partners on a long term basis.
According to her management team at Gleam Futures, Sophie agreed to do this type of work on the basis that it would maintain integratory and avoid over-saturation – things many newly established influencers wouldn’t usually have front of mind. Brands know just how much influence she as and therefore how many thousands of items she’ll be able to sell, and also that the price point of what she’s selling is pretty low, so people are likely to take a gamble (although not such a gamble because they do trust her) and buy something just because she recommends it, and is an ambassador for it. Just to prove how influential her recommendations are, one of our homeware clients, who we aligned to work with Mrs Hinch, sold 49 pairs of curtains (the end of the stock) after Mrs Hinch’s recommendation and the product became the second-highest viewed page on the entire site that day.
Hinchliffe is the perfect example of an influencer and a role model for us all. Her influence is widespread and addictive, too big to be contained in her own platform even, with Hinchliffe’s husband whose newly set-up Instagram account (@mrhinchhome, of course) earned him 346K in just 12 weeks. It’s no surprise that her fans are an extremely active, love-filled community that shares cleaning tips and appreciation for each other’s spotless homes; it’s easy to clean when you’ve got thousands cheering you on.
Mrs Hinch is knowledgeable, genuinely helpful, unique, authentic, true to herself, approachable and trustworthy. That magic combination is what makes her content such a valuable commodity, and all brands and influencers alike should strive to her level of transparency, honesty and well-thought-through alignment if they too want a slice of the similar success she’s earned.