If brands want to get in front of the right audiences, it’s not just about targeting the media anymore. The past few years have seen an explosion in the number of influencers – people with a highly-engaged community and/or following on social media.
In the past, influencers might have had a single channel, usually blogging or creating videos as a hobby in their bedrooms. Now they could be on multiple channels – YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram and more. Just look at fashion icons Zoella or Tanya Burr, who’ve expanded from vlogging into everything from books to big-budget partnership deals, turning content creation into full-time careers.
These influencers provide a valuable channel for brands to talk directly to consumers. They provide a channel free from the editorial policies and bureaucracies that the public believe journalists face.
However, with 60% of millennials apparently using ad blocking software, influencers have a greater role than ever because they allow advertisers to target their audience in a native way. Brands need to realise that huge digital display budgets may no longer deliver the ROI they’ve become accustomed to, as the majority of their audience will no longer even see the ads.
Most brands have experimented with blogger influence/outreach over the past few years, but not necessarily with the right level of attention. But influencers are far more important now, especially for brands to get in front of their relevant audiences, and these individuals are no longer knocking on brands’ doors begging for samples to review.
The market has become far more competitive and influencers are now a lot more selective over who they decide to work with. With established followings in place and review requests coming in by the thousands, the power to pick and choose now lies with influencers rather than with brands.
Fleur de Force, for example, partners with brands directly. In fact, they’re brands and channels in their own right – and need to be treated as such.
So if brands want to stay relevant and visible, their digital media budgets should cover influencers’ channels in the same way as PPC, display and paid social. These individuals are both content creators and distribution channels that brands can collaborate with to gain cut-through with their target audiences. It’s not just about product placement, but creating long-term relationships.
And, of course, be aware of the rapidly-growing platforms with established influencers who are huge youth celebrities in their own right – the likes of Jerome Jarre, Chris Carmichael, Shaun McBride and Dasha Battelle. It’s not just YouTube where you find the influential individuals any more.