#CuratedChat Recap: The Evolving Landscape of Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a hot topic at the moment. As brands look to extend their reach and drive sales, the debate between types of influencers to use, the content they post, and the unregulated nature of influencer marketing have sparked much debate among the digital marketing community. The first of our #CuratedChat series looked to settle some scores and find some fresh insights into the use of influencer marketing from both perspectives, and best practice in doing so. We also wanted to hear what influencers had to say about their own content, working with brands, and their take on a good relationship with PRs. Interested in seeing what they had to say? Take a look into the insights we uncovered.

Q1: Is sponsored influencer content ruining brand trust? How do you ensure your influencer marketing is authentic?

If you are an influencer that works with a lot of brands, tune in! Here are some responses from the chat:

As Erika says, research into the brand and deciding whether they will fit seamlessly into the blog content is important. It not only will serve the brand better, but will differentiate the blog as an authentic source to its readers and future potential collaborators.

As Craig from Field Sports Photo discusses, research from the side of the brand is important to ensure the post will fit into the blog’s content and simultaneously reach the target audience. It is the responsibility of the brand to determine the influencer’s integrity by checking who they work with, if they work with competitors, and whether they have an authentic following.

Q2: Do you feel like influencer marketing should be regulated to a higher standard? Why?

This question looks into the concept of influencer marketing as a form of advertising, which unsurprisingly was a running theme among the responses.

Talie Delemere from Daily Talie gave a fantastic answer by discussing influencer marketing being more prominently used as advertising, and the need for regulations that come along with it. This ties into the mandate to clearly label sponsored content and maintain a transparent approach to make sure readers are fully aware of what they are reading or watching. One of the things that attracts brands to work with influencers is the real reflection they give out. The authority, expertise, and trustworthiness seen with regards to influencers is what makes them such an attractive advertising asset. They are real people sending a message to an engaged audience. However, with the rise of those abusing the system, it is important to regulate it, at least to some extent.

Q3: How do you know if an influencer is right for your brand/campaign?

From the perspective of a brand, the answer can be quite subjective as Reena from Fashion Daydreams points out:

She goes on to discuss how most brands solely determine influencer compatibility based on reach, which can often be frauded, rather than a focus on content, style, and outlook. Finding an influencer by using a human eye can have a strong impact. An influencer that speaks in a similar style to the brand and has a personality can have a much stronger impact than reach. She definitely has an interesting opinion that has a strong case and point.

Q4: Quality or quantity: How important are blogger statistics when it comes to choosing who is right for your brand?

There was a widespread preference towards quality in the answers and discussions around this question. Here are a couple of replies:

Talie addresses the case of brand awareness and reach, which is important to many clients. She nicely touches upon the dependence on what that brand is trying to achieve as a driving factor between quality or quantity. However, the overarching response tended to lean towards quality as the more important of the two. Erika points out engagement with followers and regular posting as important factors rather than numbers. A number of responses agreed with her view as, arguably, the pull of influencer marketing is the human element of it and the levels of real engagement that they attain.

Q5: How important are micro-influencers in today’s marketing scene?

The benefits of micro-influencers seem to have swayed the market, as the importance of micro-influencers was undoubtedly supported. Check out the responses here:

Amy, Curated’s head of digital PR, discusses the weight micro-influencers carry in terms of engagement and trustworthiness. The trust element they hold with their audiences result in a higher chance of investment and resonated brand awareness.

Reena addresses the misguided use of reach over authenticity, as brands and agencies still often prefer numbers to the idea of authenticity or trust. The use of micro-influencers is slowly gaining steam but there are still loads of companies that are yet to catch on. This goes back into the debate of quality vs. quantity. With quality being the preferable choice among our respondents, and quantity often preferred by brands, it can be tough to balance the two.

Q6: What are some PR do’s and don’ts when working with an influencer? How do you establish a good working relationship with influencers?

We got a good look at both an influencer’s and PR person’s perspective on this one. Let’s start with the PRs:

Jessie gave us a PR perspective as she discussed the importance of establishing a good relationship with influencers rather than just using them for coverage. She also mentions the idea of working together being mutually beneficial for both the PR and the influencer. By using each other’s insights they can provide more meaningful and valuable content, and both come out of it on top.

Along the same line, the influencers involved all agreed that having an interest shown in developing an actual working relationship rather than an unpersonalised copy and paste approach was far more effective. Trusting influencers with briefs and understanding their content style are necessary when trying to build relationships.

Thank you to all of those who participated in our first #CuratedChat! If you would like to join in with our next one, we will be discussing the world of video marketing on November 29th, 2017 from 4pm-5pm.

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