I could almost guarantee that if you opened Instagram right now and scroll, you likely can’t go more than a few seconds without seeing someone you follow promoting a brand. Whether it’s: a celebrity who’s brought out a new line, a wannabe celebrity promoting slimming tea, or that random girl that was in one of your classes at college who’s somehow managed to get herself a few freebee’s and now has her page set to business as a ‘personal blogger’. We can all relate to seeing this sort of advertisement, but is this the year we phase out influencers?
The downwards slope
For the big brands, partnerships with celebrity influencers have become an indispensable part of their marketing strategy, and as a result, thousands of influencers have come out with bigger pockets and much higher status. Recently, however, we’re seeing signs that indicate that influencers can’t influence anymore. In fact, studies have found that only around 3% of consumers are influenced by celebrity influencers to purchase specific products and that the world may be done with traditional, top-down influencer marketing. If you’re paying all that money for someone to represent your brand and theirs no ROI, have you thought this through properly? Has the time for this sort of marketing passed? So, what’s driving this change? At the heart of this pattern is a huge shift in the way consumers interact with brands; Now, the age of the passive audience is over. Instead, customers are actively engaging with each other (and brands), looking for authentic, more emotive, meaningful engagement, and forming their own communities based on shared interests.
Why are people getting tired of influencers?
Platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook all offer a similarly worded promise for users of all ages around the world - a welcoming place for self-expression, meaningful engagement, and a sense of community. But it turns out that over the last few years, we’ve seen social media as become a dumping ground for sponsored posts and advertising. Social media users are quick to call influencers and brands out when they sense a lack of authenticity in their posts.
Here are a few reasons that play a part in the change:
Greater demand for authentic engagement - the growing demand for authentic and meaningful engagement is the most significant as we grow sick of all the generic, ‘cookie-cutter’ posts. Celebrities posing with teeth-whitening kits, boutique clothing, and diet plans are all on there way out, we can all sigh in relief.
Fake influencers with fake followers, engagement, and likes
Influencers now have a major financial incentive to boost their numbers, and this has given rise to issues with bots, paid followers, and other shortcuts. Some major brands have been found with up to 70% of there followers to be fake!
Cliché and repetitive influencer content
With a rise in demand for more authentic engagement, user fatigue with stereotypical influencer content is also driving people away. As we want new and exciting content, we grow bored of the classics: If it isn’t someone selling a yoga mat with a sunrise beach backdrop and perfected yoga pose, it’s someone with a tastefully-framed shot of avocado (or green mush that really isn’t as great as we all hype up)
Too much reliance on the big players
People are turning away from online influencers because of the over-reliance on the big names out there. After all, Kim Kardashian can’t sell everything.
“Instead of trying to reach everyone,” says Seth (blogger and all-round media wizard) “we should seek to reach the smallest viable audience and delight them so thoughtfully and fully that they tell others.”
How to play your cards right
If it is that the world is fed up with traditional influencer marketing, what does this mean for brands on social? How should you engage with your audience, and get your products in front of the right customers? Here are our suggestions…
THINK SMALLER - don’t go hunting for the biggest names in the business. Do your research, find a more micro-influencer and match their values to your brand. Smaller influencers have much more loyal followers and a higher ability to convey their opinions and views to listen too. ALWAYS BE
OUTSIDE THE BOX - Norms are boring, predictable and uncreative. No one remembers the boring adverts on tv, but the ones that kick up a roaring fuss across Twitter in the Bake Off ad breaks are the ones you bring up at work the next day. Be picky, this is your brand, you need the best representation to be the face of your work.
UNDERSTAND YOUR TRIBE - know your audience, who they like, what values of yours they admire the most about you and your brand. That’s where you’ll find the best people to promote your brand,
DON’T FOLLOW TRENDS, SET THEM - Be different to avocado on toast, be the chocolate cheese of the industry. Turn heads, be trending on twitter, be a someone’s talking point.