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Expand your audience with a marketing strategy that reaches across traditional advertising
If you haven’t considered the true influence that Instagram, Snapchat or YouTube could be having on your business, it may be time for a rethink. No longer just the home of Kardashians and Zoellas out to milk the masses, social media platforms have become some of the biggest ‘small’ billboards for brands, with power houses such as Cartier and Tag Heuer using influencers to engage with new audiences, particularly millennials. Rather than seen as purely for pushing fashion or celebrity, influencers are the new ad revenue stream for luxury brands and millennials the new target – a 2017 study by consultants Bain indicated that they already make up 30 per cent of luxury consumers.
Instagram is a community of 800m people posting and liking one another’s photos, and 75 per cent of Instagram’s users said they had been inspired by a post to take actions such as visiting a website or buying something online, according to a 2015 survey quoted by the Financial Times. An expert and trailblazer in this field is Oliver Billon. In 2009, he founded Ykone, an influencer marketing consultancy, when he was 24. With Chanel, L’Oreal and Dior all on board as early clients, Billon has created experiences for influencers to showcase products on their feeds and boost their engagement. As social media has matured, so has it’s audience and now a wealthier customer is a regular user and well within reach.
It’s not all about mass likes and follows however. Mr Billon explained at a breakfast at The Clubhouse last year the importance of focusing on ‘achieving high engagement rates (above 5 per cent) in likes, comments and shares’ and added that often micro-influencers (those with fewer than 50,000 followers) offer higher levels of engagement. ‘It’s peer-to-peer marketing. Influencers may not be our friends, however they are constantly present when we look at our social media feed.’
Trust and transparency are key attributes of a successful influencer who generates positive engagement. Declaring when something is an ad or sponsored post is becoming common good practise and happily accept by influencers and consumers alike. This openess maintains intimacy in the relationship, resulting in many of us feeling we really ‘know’ the influencers we follow. Therefore, the natural next step is to meet the Instagrammers and bloggers who ping into our lives on a daily basis. Sheerluxe, one of the UK’s leading online fashion and lifestyle publishers, has a 360-degree digital presence on various platforms including YouTube and Instagram, via podcasts, daily email newsletters and strong engagement on their website. Founder Georgie Coleridge Cole personally picks and champions influencers who she believes her readers will love. Such is the success of Sheerluxe that they have created an annual fashion event at The Clubhouse where their readers can meet their favourite influencers in the flesh, who attend the day and present talks and seminars.
In this new world where influencers have such power, there’s one word of caution: overkill is a risk so it’s important for companies to keep a balance and connect through a variety of channels, old and new. Combining a strong social media campaign with traditional advertising where the brand can remind its audience if its core value and identity is the holy grail.
This article was originally featured in The Informer. To read the full magazine, please click here.