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With influencer marketing, why settle for anything less than the best?

When utilising influencer marketing, identifying the right influencer for your brand is crucial, and when done wrong, potentially destructive. For many, the method is gut instinct. But, with emotional analytics and social data, choosing someone who resonates best with your customers just became a whole lot easier and more effective.

Controversial yet popular

Influencer marketing is probably the most controversial and yet the most popular method of marketing right now. It has been the talk of 2018, especially when Unilever’s CMO, Keith Weed, stepped forward to call out its problems and inconsistencies. And yet, despite all the issues and controversy, brands are still rushing to use influencers to connect with their audiences. In fact, influencer marketing is projected to be worth $10 billion by 2020. So, is it an irreversibly flawed practice that is doing more damage than good? Or can it be harnessed to the benefit of the brand, the influencer and the consumer?

That all depends on how you go about it.

Good, better, best

You might be about to launch a big campaign and in need of that one perfect influencer who can be the face of it. You scroll through a list of possible candidates that you personally think might fit with the brand and see one you like. Instantly, you make the decision. It’s gut instinct. It might work, and it might not. In short, as a method, it’s good, but not great.

You then decide to do a little bit more research instead. So, you utilise an influencer database that provides brands with statistics on reach, engagement, demographics and the interests of each potential choice of influencer. This provides a whole lot more information on who the influencer is and what you might be able to get by using them. But again, there’s no guarantee that they will resonate with your customers. It’s better but there’s still room for improvement.

You have a re-think and decide you want this campaign to be as successful as possible. So, you step it up a notch and engage a platform that uses dynamic data to help identify influencers who resonate with your actual customers and target market. These influencers are shown to be truly embedded in your industry, to genuinely resonate with your customers, and to fit your brand accurately, as well as bring overlap to meet your strategy. With the platform, you can track an influencer’s impact on your brand, on your customers, and even link this back to your sales, to see the end ROI. In short, it’s the best option.

But why go through the effort? Why is it so important for an influencer to correctly resonate with a brand’s audience?

The age of the influencer

No one can correctly say for sure how effective influencer marketing really is, but it’s certainly recognised, when done correctly, that it can produce major results for a brand. There is research to suggest that 60% of people will consult a blog, vlog or social media post on a product before considering a purchase.

In our social media dominated age, consumers are looking to the recommendations of personalities with many followers. These influencers can impact lifestyle choices for hundreds, thousands or even millions of people. They have the power to alter the image of a brand, sometimes with a single photo or post, and make people aware of a company that was previously unknown.

But the central concept is that people are more comfortable listening to other people, rather than to a faceless brand. And for that to work, these influencers need to fit the style and presence of the brand, talking to the audience in a way that resonates with the culture and tone of the company. Customers can read genuine engagement so getting this wrong will simply alienate the audience.

Getting it right

The well-known example of this was Pepsi’s failed attempt to partner with Kendall Jenner. However, an example closer to home that Starcount identified was the decision to make Katy Perry the face of Pop Chips. Starcount’s emotional analysis platform, The Observatory, found that just 17.99% of Pop Chips fans were fans of Katy Perry, a figure that shows she has no real relation to the brand. However, The Observatory identified that Paloma Faith was 50 times more relevant to the Pop Chip audience, while food blogger Deliciously Ella was not only relevant but also reflected the passions of Pop Chips fans.

The key here is that by understanding the passions and motivations of a brand’s audience, you can use these to accurately develop your influencer strategy. Using Starcount’s database of 125,000 influencers, you can view overlaps with the passions of your customers, allowing them to show you which influencer would resonate best with them.

Rise of the micro-influencer

A second factor that the above example illustrates is the debate over influencers versus micro-influencers. Some of the major influencers are extremely expensive (as much as £750,000 per post), but because of their vast reach, they lose authenticity and brand resonance. A micro-influencer may have a smaller reach, but their more direct focus on a particular subject is interpreted as more authentic because of it and they are much cheaper to use. The result is that you are likely to get far more bang for far less buck.

Time and time again, we have witnessed influencer strategies crash and burn because companies are using methods that are simply outdated to develop them. In a world where data is the new oil, why settle for anything less than the best.

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