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Turns out size doesn't matter
June 2, 2020
Over the past few years, influencer marketing has gone from relative obscurity to a major focal point for many brands, and with this, the appeal of influencers has grown and changed.
In the earliest days of influencer marketing, it was all about celebrity endorsement – basically, a race to see who could get the Kardashians to hold a new beauty product the fastest – which has left an industry hangover in relying on reach alone from influencers.
While I’ll give Scott Disick and Bootea the benefit of the doubt and say that his 2016 Instagram faux pas featuring an image of Disick and a jug of protein shake reached a lot of people, the caption, “Here you go, at 4pm est write the below. Caption: Keeping up with the summer workout routine with my morning @booteauk protein shake!” definitely did more harm to the brand than good despite the reach.
The fact of the matter is that pure reach will never be a strong enough indication of how products and brands resonate with an influencer’s audience – if the objective is to reach as many people as possible, you’re better off running an ad.
Instead, brands and agencies should be looking to influencers for what they uniquely offer – social proof. By definition, influencers are people of influence within their online communities, and, therefore, have the ability to speak to these communities in ways that brands alone never could. Often, the most beneficial influencers are the ones who offer brands a mouthpiece into their niche communities in order to ensure that messaging is heard by the most relevant audiences.
Brands that still focus their efforts on influencer’s raw audience scale alone might find it time to consider whether they are speaking to their intended audience or whether they are merely shouting into the void.
When athletic-wear giant Puma wanted to make meaningful waves in local running communities around the world, they took to influencer marketing – understanding that the strongest return on investment would come from those genuinely immersed in these communities. The brand partnered with active influencers from more than 80 countries worldwide who were all well-respected in their local running communities. Despite not having any reach-driving celebrities or macro-tier influencers, the campaign collaborators drove an engagement rate which was 24 percent higher than that of the brand’s channels and resulted in over 10,000 uses of the campaign’s unique hashtag.
Combined results including metrics such as engagements, engagement rate and sentiment analysis can provide a more holistic picture of how your brand or product is perceived by the target audience, therefore, allowing for a deeper understanding than purely how many people were reached.
To ensure overall campaign success, the key is finding a balance between those who can offer reach and those who can offer the most social proof within your target audience while setting KPIs and objectives that match each influencer’s role.
The days of one-size-fits-all (or one-metric-fits-all) influencer campaigns are drawing to an end, and brands need to adjust their approach or risk being left behind in a world of outdated metrics and meaningless reach.