Following the coronavirus pandemic, print-advertising and in-person traditional marketing methods are coming to an end. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) are even hotter on regulations regarding transparent advertising hashtags #Ad #Gift and #SPON, yet influencers have become the go to for consumers looking for excitement and escapism on social media, with 49% still opting to buy products based on their review or endorsement.
Current trends show a shift in the types of collaborations that brands are looking for, with many opting to work with influencers that focus on personalisation and interaction.
Amelia Neate, senior manager at Influencer Matchmaker, has warned that whilst popularity is a great method for launching a brand or product on mass, nothing quite competes with a personalised approach, with this tactic often receiving a better return on investment.
Is choosing popularity always the right choice?
Choosing an influencer due to popularity is a great way to reach potential consumers on mass, however how much of that popularity is genuine and authentic?
When deciding who to work with, popularity will play a huge part in the process. Popular influencers seem to have it all – a large following of loyal fans, a high-profile status with a well-known platform and access to thousands, and sometimes even millions of potential consumers.
And whilst seeing huge numbers in both likes and comments may seem appealing, they may not always be as they seem.
As we know, social media audits don’t always take place, meaning that fake followers and bots may just slip through the net.
Today, influencers are considered experts in their area, whether it’s fashion, food or gaming. And their followers quite simply follow, to learn, engage, support and connect.
“If an influencer is inundated with comments on a regular basis, it is hard to monitor those that support the post and campaign and those that are irrelevant. This is where it becomes difficult to track genuine levels of engagement.
“Of course, these incidents of fake followers are few and far between, but it is certainly something for brands to be aware of and look out for,” says Amelia.
The importance of personalisation
Personalisation is key, says Amelia. “In today’s world, many influencers have a niche and specific audience who are usually there for a reason and are expecting to see a certain type of content.
“And now, influencers are able to offer personalisation. Due to industry demands, many influencers no longer work alone, meaning that they now have the capacity to truly connect and respond to their followers regularly,” explains Amelia.
Consumers thrive from a human element, regardless of the brand or product and this can often be achieved by using influencers that regularly engage with their audience.
If influencers get their followers involved in their work and content, it makes them feel like much more than just a fan club and as though they have a real input. Whether that’s by directly asking followers what they’d like to see next or by hosting Q&A sessions across social media, they are just a few great ways to add a touch of personalisation. And influencers including Lydia Millen, Kate La Vie and Craig Phillips are fine examples of doing exactly that.
Book clubs also seem to be proving an extremely popular personalisation tactic. Many influencers have created their very own book clubs, hosting monthly discussions and many even have a members-only group to go with it. Georgia Toffolo, The Anna Edit and Beth Sandland are just a few well-known influencers that have homed in on this trend and are reaping the rewards in terms of loyalty and engagement.
Influencers that incorporate personalisation into their social media content and branded collaborations tend to have a higher engagement rate which is much more beneficial when looking at the results of a campaign.
An influencer’s audience has an already established interest in the content they are producing, making them a powerful tool when it comes to marketing.
Influencers such as Alex Bowen, Ashley James and Pete Wicks are all recognised on social media for their love of animals, especially their pets. And many of their followers choose to follow them for that very reason. Therefore, a collaboration with Adaptil and Ceva Animal Health was the perfect partnership for both the brand and the influencers, creating great results.
Campaigns such as this, make the posts feel much more genuine and authentic and less like a paid-for collaboration.
Popularity vs personalisation, who wins?
Deciding on popularity vs personalisation simply depends on the desired result, explains Amelia.
“People should still remain at the heart of advertising, whether it is in the form of influencer marketing or in a more traditional method. And personalisation is the best way to do that whilst still achieving great results,” says Amelia.
When opting for personalisation, brands will be able to reach their target audience much more effectively, as opposed to choosing popularity where your campaign could potentially fall onto deaf ears.
And as they often do, influencers are continuing to shape new trends within the industry, but personalisation is most definitely one that will be here to stay.