It’s time to get serious about influencers

It’s time to get serious about influencers

2017 has started at quite a pace with a flurry of pitches from both brands and Government clients. There’s been a real new year energy in terms of reviewing and building capability – with much of that energy pointed at Influencer Marketing.

L’Oréal has announced greater investment in digital generally and social influencer more specifically. A commitment underscored by their selection of Scandinavian social influencer business, Talify, as one of their first start-up investments.

L’Oréal is not the only brand taking influencers seriously, a recent study of Marketing Directors claims that in 2017 75% of UK Brands will be using influencers to get their message heard. Increasingly agencies are building partnerships and alliances with the spectrum of start-ups that can offer specialisms in this area, from influencer identification to content development and analytics.

This is not new. In one way or another, people with influence have leveraged it for their own gain by working with brands for years. In fact, my Grandma was one of the 1960s regular housewives extolling the virtues of Stork cooking fat. But the proliferation, the application and certainly the cost escalated at pace last year. To talk about social influencers now as one group is to ignore the nuanced role they have in a marketing strategy.

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It’s an area in which we as marketers and agencies are learning on our feet what works best. Traackr, one of the leading influencer marketing platforms (and there are many), has even launched a course designed to help practitioners build a coherent strategy which delivers results. It’s a welcome sign that those leading the charge intend to focus on building strategic rigour into the discipline.

The debate on the use of influencer marketing will continue to be prevalent in the industry this year, particularly in the following three areas:

How do brands get really clever about who they work with?

This is a multi-dimensional decision. Back in 2014 when influencer exploded, the focus was wholly on scale. Brands raced to work with social celebrities that had amassed huge followings and the model was really a media buy. The influencer was the media and the brand message was attached to them with zero subtlety.

The landscape, and our navigation of it, is much more sophisticated today.

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