On Monday 5th November, a few of us went to an influencer marketing seminar at the London College of Fashion, hosted by Ian Shepherd from The Social Store. The main aim of the workshop was to discuss what influencer marketing is and what the pitfalls of it are. Ian spoke in great detail about where influencer marketing is at and where it is going in the future – it was a great talk which we feel very privileged to have attended!
Here are the key points we took from the seminar:
Guidelines of influencer marketing
The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) have strict guidelines and rules for when influencers create sponsored content. This is why we see #AD so frequently nowadays, and also why many videos clearly mark as sponsored. However, there aren’t common rules depending on what country you are in, so some influencers might get penalised or have issues with the ASA, as there is confusion amongst what they can and can’t do.
The ASA are starting to crack down on creators that make unethical sponsored videos that appear to be more in the form of adverts. Creators should still be entertaining their users without being too ‘in your face’.
Picking the right influencer for you
When choosing an influencer for your campaign, don’t look at just the follower count. People can buy followers. Look at the reach and engagement of each post. Sometimes it is better to use an influencer who has 10k followers in a niche rather than an influencer with 750k followers that makes general lifestyle content.
To find your perfect influencers, you can search through Instagram or YouTube, but sometimes, it isn’t that easy. To help yourself, you can use an influencer-marketing platform. Examples of these are InfluencerDB or Peg. These platforms take a very careful selection process in order to ensure that the best influencer is used for your campaign. This will allow you to find influencers who are better suited to your brand and you’ll end up with content like Dan Mace who collaborated with Story Blocks.
Brands will also need to do in-depth research on every influencer as some may have purchased likes and followers which means you’d be paying someone to promote your brand to bots. You can work out if someone has fake followers using services such as Socialblade. You can also work out if someone has bought followers if they have a huge spike in analytics and then nothing much else to show for it.
Once you secure an influencer for your campaign, it’s important to give them the freedom to create content based on their style. Forced content doesn’t work with audiences, as they will be used to the influencers natural content. Your influencer will know their audience the best; trust them. A great example of this is Casey Neistat’s “Make it Count” Nike campaign.
When they work well, collaborations with big influencers can give your brand a new life! But, sometimes the influencer, no matter how big they are, cannot help your brand, as they don’t match your target market. An example of this was when A$AP Rocky collaborated with Guess Jeans. His collection mainly consisted of striped t-shirts with the Guess branding on the front. The collection sold out quickly and Guess started to make more and more striped t-shirts, which have become increasingly popular over recent years. However, when he more recently collaborated with Under Armour, the collaboration never really took off as many articles and news about the collaboration felt forced as Under Amour’s target audience is very different to who would look up to ASAP Rocky.
Revolve (fashion brand) hold parties and invite loads of influencers that relate to their category of fashion. Revolve do not put requirements on what these influencers can and can’t do. This means that some will vlog the experience, some will do an Instagram live, or some influencers will create appealing content for the likes of Instagram. This helps to spread awareness about the brand, putting them in a good light.
When it comes to pricing, influencers don’t just have a going rate. On average, you can expect to pay £1,000+ per 100,000 followers.
Tracking the success of a campaign
Tracking the success of a campaign can be done in a few ways. If a discount if being promoted, then each influencer can have their own code for viewers to use. You can then see how many purchases are made with that discount code to see if the campaign was successful.
Of course, you can also use your trusty analytics tools to see if there was a spike in traffic/conversions around the time of your influencer marketing campaign.
What’s next for YouTube?
The YouTube algorithm is far less predictable than Google’s. However, it is a known fact that influencers with large followings are far more likely to get found than those with smaller numbers. The uncertainty of Youtube’s algorithm is a problem for many creators, as it can be tough to determine the success of your content until it is live. When creating content, focus on creating the best material for you and your audience rather than trying to hop on whatever is trending that week. It’s important to keep a natural persona; the rest will follow.
So, there you have it – our main takeaways from the excellent influencer marketing event we attended at the beginning of the week. We’d highly recommend going to these events to boost your knowledge and meet amazing like-minded people.