Updated: Apr 2, 2018
A UK-based social media blogger, Elle Darby was billed €5,289,000 by a Dublin hotel for the publicity she gained after an “embarrassing” incident. The social media influencer found herself in the middle of the media backlash when Paul Stenson, the owner of the White Moose Hotel publicly refused her offer to collaborate in exchange for a free five-night stay at the hotel. Read more about the incident.
Such incidents have cast some doubt on the blogging industry, which has lead some marketers to question the effectiveness of influencer marketing.
True influence drives action, not just awareness. Around 40% of Twitter users said that they have made a purchase as a result of a Tweet from a social influencer (from Twitter). In 2017, there were more than 14.5 million brand sponsored Instagram posts and brands spent a total of $1.07 billion on influencer marketing. And this figure is expected to double by 2019 (from mediakix).
Although influencer marketing is still relevant to a marketing strategy, And as a business owner, you should do your homework before engaging a blogger or social influencer.
1. Reliability. Do a background check on the social influencers that you have shortlisted. Ensure that they do not have negative publicity. Remember that their personal branding affects your brand. Find a blogger that communicates well and shows up for events. Often popular bloggers overbook their calendars and do not show up for events.
2. Integrity. Check their social media accounts, some influencers buy followers. These followers are often fake accounts and will not value-add to your marketing campaign. Look out for potential red flags such as excessive business accounts, users without profile pictures, few posts and no followers.
3. Content. Is the blog content relevant to your brand? Is the blogger a good write? Do sponsored posts highlight products and services in a natural way or sounds like a desperate sales pitch?
4. The numbers. Look at a social influencer's entire digital footprint, from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube channel and blog site. Play in the social influencer's strength, instead of writing a blog, you can feature it on their YouTube channel.
5. Engagement. Sometimes, its not about the numbers. Some bloggers are gifted at creating compelling articles that get their readers to click-through or comment. Bloggers who focus on niche topics are great for targeted campaigns and are usually more engaged with their audience.
6. Demographics. If you are organizing an event or providing services in a specific area, look for social influencers who have greater clout in your target area. They may have fewer followers than major national bloggers but their readers closely match your target audience.
7. Pricing. Hiring a social influencer can be expensive. A famous blogger can command the same rate as celebrities. For more affordable options, look for bloggers who are flexible with pricing; a combination of fees, sponsorship and exposure.
Influencer marketing is an effective form of social media marketing for all businesses to adopt in their marketing strategy. When you select the perfect social influencer as your brand advocate you can accelerate your brand awareness and drive sales.
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