You’ve worked with agencies from over time and heard the term “influencer marketing” dropped in a meeting or presentation (and thought – “huh?”). Perhaps you’ve come across stories about them in the media. Either way, it’s perfectly understandable to be asking, what is an influencer anyway and why are agencies like Circul8 so often talking about them?
So what is an influencer?
An influencer is an established social media user who in most cases will have a large following of other users who will fall within your target demographic. Engaging an influencer is to leverage their popularity in their sharing your brand or product, and to leverage on the trust of a peer review.
Are they effective?
“Peer-reviewed” is no longer an idea that’s exclusive to academia – it’s now a part of the consumer every day. Today, as consumers, we give ratings to those who quite literally drive the “gig” economy (ride-sharing, room sharing, and food delivery dominate) and receive ratings in-kind. As apps have changed over time, we have changed with them. We now place a higher value than ever on how others rate their experience with a brand.
Consumers trust ratings and reviews shared online more than traditional forms of advertising. This is especially true with younger audiences for whom digital advertising comes as second nature. We have come to trust what we say to each other beyond what a brand says about itself – this is where influencers come in.
What are the outcomes?
Like an endorsement, an influencer can be paid (or offered product) to share their positive thoughts or information about a brand. Unlike the traditional celebrity endorsement, however, the key offering of an influencer is their authenticity. The influencer is not a celebrity as such – while Beyonce may have millions of followers, influencers may only have thousands. Influencers are seen as down-to-earth members of a community whose enthusiasm for a product or service is sincere and aligned with their values. Authenticity is the unique selling point of the influencer.
For younger demographics (ages 36 and under), the incentives for engaging influencers can be profound. To make the most of a paid engagement you’ll want your target demographic to be invested in social media: they use Instagram and Facebook throughout the day and are likely to engage friends and family while active. This style of brand advocacy makes influencer marketing a close relative to “seed” marketing, or word-of-mouth marketing as it is commonly known.
How do they work?
There are many ways influencers can help businesses endorse their brand and they do not have to be as simple as putting a face to a product. Over the last decade, Circul8 has specialised in combining great ideas with tactical execution and people power. Our projects for Tourism Fiji and Japan National Tourism (JNTO) which both took influencer marketing to a new level, are great examples.
Tourism Fiji – #fijinow
In 2016 Fiji was tragically hit by the biggest storm in the country’s history, Cyclone Winston. In the weeks that followed, an influx of negative media coverage showed the worst of the damage and the impacts on Fiji’s tourism were immediately devastating. Given tourism is the country’s biggest foreign exchange earner this came as a second wave of devastation. To tackle this problem our client Tourism Fiji approached us to help restore visitor arrivals to their original numbers as quickly as possible.
To make an immediate impact, Circul8 recruited a small group of influencers – Instagrammers with a collective global following of over 1.3 million – with the brief to launch the #Fijinow hashtag. To demonstrate that the Fiji was still open for business, this was the most authentic way to show that not all of Fiji had been affected by the storm.
Along with the spread of the influencers’ Instagram followings, Circul8 implemented our bespoke product Aggreg8 to the Tourism Fiji website which aggregates all posts tagged with the #FijiNow hashtag. The two activities combined had outstanding results: the hashtag has continued to gain traction long past the duration of this campaign, clocking up over 39,000 posts becoming a valuable stand alone marketing asset for Fiji.
- The #FijiNow campaign restored consumer confidence in Fiji as a holiday destination
- Fiji visitor arrivals achieved record levels in 2016 with a 5% increase.
- Peak visitor arrivals were achieved as early as July, just 4 months after Winston
- Video content received over 627,000 views
- 1.16 million engagements on social media
- 25 million campaign impressions
- Tourism Fiji social channels grew by 19,330
- 39,000+ uses of the #FijiNow hashtag
- Circul8 also won a Communicator Award of Distinction for Marketing Effectiveness – Content Marketing for this campaign.
Japan National Tourism (JNTO)
In January 2017, Circul8 launched a Content Marketing Campaign for JNTO aimed at increasing destination awareness and inbound visitors from Australia to regional Japan. The campaign featured strong emotive content and a strategic approach to drive traffic to the website and increase engagement on social media.
To give these areas coverage, we sent influencers to Hokkaido, Kyushu, Setouchi and Tohoku, and built a bespoke website named Unseen Japan, where an interactive map of Japan displayed influencer content. By clicking on each content piece, it led back to the Instagram post / channel it came from.
Users were invited to create their Unseen Japan bucket list by adding ‘Add to #myunseenjapan’ on our influencers campaign posts. This engagement also entered them into a competition to win 2 return flights to Japan with our campaign partner Japan Airlines (JAL).
- Campaign impressions: 17,696,551
- Unique visitors to the site: 70,740
- Increase Instagram fans: 116% (+20,850)
- Increase in Facebook fans: 17.5% (+16,500)
- 9,100 entries generating 28,632 comments
- Average session duration on the website increased by 26.6%.. People spent on average 6 minutes looking through the content
Is influencer marketing right for my brand?
Over and above the short-term results, influencer marketing is most effective in its building of relationships between brand and consumer. In considering influencer marketing as an option, it’s important to get your agency to propose an effective strategy for your brand’s objectives and do the necessary due diligence on the chosen influencers.
Looking to discuss influencer marketing as an option? Get in touch with us.