For about five years, a previously unknown new form of advertising is developing: the ever-evolving social media channels are turning many young people into personalities who use current trends and have built up a large and therefore influential range on certain topics.
With the range grows the interest of brands, with the help of these personalities advertising per se to make more authentic and also to position as such. So social media fashion icons suddenly became advertising platforms. But also the mum with two children, which shows how healthy life can work, is suddenly a semi-professional advertising platform.
Influencer marketing - this is a big gray area in the marketing landscape and has already made so many marketing decisions of well-known companies to despair. Why is that? Influencer marketing is developing as fast as the social media itself. In recent years, brands have emerged from networks such as Instagram alone. An example is the watch brand Daniel Wellington, which owes its fame exclusively to this form of marketing. Even platforms like ABOUT YOU knew the potential to work for themselves.
But how exactly do you use the opportunities and avoid the risks in the ocean of opportunities on social media? And what size and type of influencers are really effective?
Micro-influencers are different from classic influencers
A currently increasingly discussed topic are so-called micro-influencers. These differ from classic influencers in that they have far less reach and do not significantly professionalize or monetize their appearance.
Already from 1,000 followers with daily activity everyone can count themselves among the micro-influencers. There is no exact definition in terms of reach, so I take the estimate that we have estimated at our branding agency TPA Media in Munich from 1,000 to 15,000 followers.
If you look purely at the effectiveness and selling power of micro-influencers, they seem rightly a chance. They seem to reach the potential audiences through the social networks in an authentic way, because the reach alone has only a limited impact on the success of an application. The original idea in influencer marketing involves the authentic recommendation of products or services by a person who has already built a certain bond with their own target group and thus enjoys a special trust.
In the course of recent months and years, many great influencers and personalities have built this authenticity, however. Passion and hobby became business. Suddenly, influential Instagram fashion personalities such as Leonie Hanne recommend upcoming mobility apps, leaving them with questioning faces. At the same time, advertising fees are rising from month to month.
Even the fans know that this is advertising, whose advertised products have little real connection to the otherwise respected person.
Micro-influencers - so back to the roots!
In particular, micro-influencers score with authentic recommendations and close ties to their followers and community. So exactly what makes the Influencer Marketing at the core. Since many large channels have lost much of their trust and authenticity due to constant advertising placements, many brands and agencies are currently focusing their attention on the smaller channels.
Especially there, the closeness and closeness is particularly appreciated by the followers. Simple and direct questions are answered by message and do not disappear in a 99+ request sub folder as with most major channels, which, of course, can not represent proximity to their extent by their range.
These are the reasons why big brands such as L'Oréal, ABOUT YOU or Zalando already rely on a micro-influencer network in their campaigns, instead of overpaid influencers.
The following five factors determine the effectiveness and real impact of collaboration:
A community is the narrower follower base that interacts with and constantly consumes the content. There is a basis of trust for the influencer. The community identifies itself with the content, ideas and statements of the person. Here's the question: how big is the community within the followers? And do not forget, the range alone is only partially decisive.
The higher the identification, the higher the link between the influencer and the community. A binding is enhanced by, among other things, appearances, public meet & greets, frequent content or merch lines. An influencer who has a movement and constantly integrates his community interactively with the socials will be able to put more power on the road in a cooperation and also generate higher sales revenue for the company. An indicator of a close bond and a large community is, for example, a good number of extensive comments on posts on Instagram or YouTube. Another is the number of participants in a LIVE broadcast.
Credible recommendations are the strongest. The authenticity of an influencer is formed not only by his statements and deeds, but also by his overall appearance and how he is perceived. If the brand image does not always look perfect and even things are addressed unadorned, this increases the perceived authenticity. Authenticity can even be equated with credibility. The quantity of advertisements also plays a role here. Anyone who rarely, but specifically and effectively advertises the topic and brand image appropriately will also be much more successful in a campaign.
4. Perceived competence
The greater the range, the higher the perceived competence - at first glance. At a second glance, it depends on how good the person is in his subject matter and which results or knowledge are communicated. Sympathy also plays a corresponding role for competent perception.
5. Range & purchasing power
Finally, of course, it depends on the range. However, the followers as a number are initially only a number. Really relevant are the bond and the community that results from it. Add to this the purchasing power and age structure of the trailer. Anyone who has built a big following with his comedy channel will have significantly less relevant audiences who benefit the company than a channel that specializes in a particular topic.
The prices of influential social media personalities have risen disproportionately due to market demand and ignorance.
Smaller range, but closer customer loyalty
For example, personalities such as Leonie Hanne or Caro Daur sometimes receive 15,000 euros for a post with a story. The proportionality is no longer given for many brands. Conversely, with a micro-influencer campaign with the same budget, a comparable reach can be bought - albeit with significantly less customer loyalty. And that's an asset that micro influencers have over the big social media stars.
In addition, "full-time business influencers" are often still measured by conditionally relevant parameters such as reach. Thus, for the benefit of one's own advertising value, it would be a good idea to help out with fake followers or artificially pushed engagements.
However, the development is becoming interesting, while much is currently being discussed about the abolition of visible likes. Likewise, the last Instagram update in July 2019 has demonstrably severely limited the exposure to images. It is also interesting to note that the likes of many "full-time influencers", despite a short decline, have remained constant.
This may be considered at the points mentioned with a critical eye. In the end, influence and proximity to the community will be the key. Small channels score here by exactly this proximity. At the same time, of course, there is a lack of appropriate experience, which is often outweighed by the commitment.
My conclusion is: Back to the roots! Brands should continue to focus more on Micro influencers who, through their close ties, authenticity and proximity to the community, live up to the original idea of influencer marketing. Because large channels seem to be constantly decreasing in influence, as they can no longer guarantee the "real" proximity to their community. Since followers in today's times are more and more enlightened with regard to advertising co-operations, the authenticity of a recommendation will suffer and also lose confidence if the followers can no longer count on the expected content.
In the end, probably the right mix and a well-chosen combination of both will decide to successfully place a campaign.