Guest Post: Under the influence

Guest Post: Under the influence

Charles Duncombe, Holidays Please marketing director examines the powers of “influencers”

Charles Duncombe, Holidays Please marketing director examines the powers of “influencers”

In the good old days if you wanted to hire an influencer, it was usually for a stag do, to make the groom cluck like a chicken or eat an onion thinking it’s an apple.

These days “influencers” come in the form of social media personalities with subscribers who are apparently interested in hearing what that person had for breakfast …… complete with full HD close up and commentary.

You could dismiss this as a passing fad but with many influencers boasting thousands or even millions of followers might you be missing out on an innovative new way to reach a whole new audience?

Influencing the numbers…

The sheer number of followers that some social media stars have makes it hard to argue that they have no influence. For example Kylie Jenner (of Kardashian fame for the uninitiated) has 139 million followers on Instagram alone. And a large number of these fans show incredible loyalty and dedication. They have after all bought her beauty products by the bucket load which propelled her to becoming the world’s youngest billionaire, at just 21 years of age.

Indeed you can say that sometimes the influence goes too far. In the days following the Warriors VS. Raptors basketball game, Nicole Curran was basically driven off social media by the abuse from Beyonce’s followers who saw her apparently ignoring Beyonce when leaning over to ask Jay-Z if he wanted lime in his tonic water!

Buying influence…

Would you like Kylie Jenner to post about your product to her fans? No problem. You just need to part with a cool £750,000 per post.

However you can of course dip your toe in the water on a much smaller scale. Media agencies say that people reach “Influencer” status when they are above 10,000 followers on a particular social media network. Starting prices for a post to these sort of networks are generally around the £100 mark. And brands are paying this. TechJury say that the influencer marketing industry could be worth as much as £8bn by 2020.

Does the maths stack up?

So, let’s say you pay £100 for a facebook post by an influencer who has 10,000 followers. If the post is just an organic post (ie you don’t pay Facebook to boost it) then in years gone by you could expect around 16% of people to see the post (Source Oglivy).  But the same research has showed that today this figure could be as low as 2% because Facebook has cut back on the exposure that organic posts get. So out of 10,000 followers there could be as few as 200 people who actually see the post. Ie 50p per view. This may become more cost effective with bigger influencers as the same maths on Kylie Jenner’s Instagram account works out at 27p per view.

Is it worth it?

Well the answer is likely to depend on the quality of the post and its attractiveness to their followers. If it’s engaging and, say, 10% of people click on it then you would effectively be paying £2.70-£5 a click. In some industries people are willing to pay this on pay per click advertising and so the maths could stack up for them.

If these click prices still seem a bit rich then you also need to take into account the secondary traffic that the activity can generate. For example if other influencers re-post/ re-tweet the original post then your audience reach can grow for free. Also, if consumers tag their friends in the post and share it, then again the reach increases far beyond the influencer’s original subscribers. And if your post is particularly interesting/novel then you could hit the jackpot and a news outlet could pick up on it and your media coverage could sky rocket.

Also, the third party endorsement/halo effect of the influencer can bring a higher degree of engagement from their followers than if customers had just seen your advert posted elsewhere. This means you might get more sales/engagement from the clicks generated.

So your results may depend much more on the quality of your creative and offering rather than the number of followers that the influencer has. Depending on your creative your £100 could be the best or the worst £100 marketing spend you have ever placed!

So maybe it’s not a case of asking how much influence an influencer has but seeing whether you can you tap into your own influencer skills to make that chicken cluck?