Christian Hitchen

Written by: Christian Hitchen

Christian Hitchen


The power of the Insta' influencer

  • March 2018
  • 6 minutes

When was the last time that you watched a TV advert?

Most of us don’t pay attention to adverts, we’re on our phones, making coffee or having a quick tidy. Even if we do sit through the latest Malteasers advert, I doubt you thought ‘I’m going to buy a bag of Maltesers?’

Does traditional advertising still have a place?

Companies still spend millions of pounds on generic advertising,TV, Radio and Posters have all seen declining engagement rates. Traditional advertising doesn’t show you who’s seen it, or if it was effective.

That’s not a problem if you’re a global brand like Coca Cola, who apportion substantial amounts of their marketing spend towards brand affirmation, and not solely to sales generation.

So how do brands with smaller budgets reach their target consumers?

Many companies are making the shift towards influencer marketing via social media channels. It’s not just big brands, the film industry, once a stalwart of traditional marketing, have moved into influencer marketing. With each new blockbuster, a live stream of the premiere is blasted across the web and social, with the ‘who’s who’ of social media being invited to cover the event. 

Who is the key target market for the Disney Pixar film? Kids, and their parents. Who currently holds the younger audience’s attention right now and can influence their decisions on purchases? The Instagram and YouTube stars.

I guarantee that every parent reading this has been asked for the latest Zoella body shop products, or Casey Neistat camera equipment. If not, then a One Direction or Justin Bieber hoody? That’s why companies are increasing their influencer marketing spend every year. 

What is influencer marketing and where do you find influencers?

The beauty of using Instagram influencers to promote your products, is that when they make a post or talk about you, you can see live results showing what people think and whether they’ve made a purchase.

Fitness companies such as My Protein have 1,000's of brand ambassadors who get paid to promote their products. As it stands, influencer marketing is undervalued and traditional marketing is still heavily overvalued.

Facebook is seeing people spend 50 million less hours on Facebook a day and 2.8 million people under 25 deleted their profiles last year. In light of this Instagram is Mark Zuckerberg’s shining star.

Snapchat is also seeing a decline in users for the first time following the latest update. Their 100-120 million active users a month pales into insignificance when compared to Instagram’s 600-800 million unique users per month. This demonstrates how powerful Instagram has become after introducing its own stories feature. 

How consumers have changed advertising

Consumers want everything under one roof. Data shows that leaving an app to go elsewhere is not something that users engage with. You need to understand your platform, and how people use it to get the most out of it. 

It’s difficult to strike the right balance between keeping the audience within one platform such as Instagram, and providing a lesser experience by not, leaving you at risk of losing thousands of followers when that social channel’s numbers decline or even worse. 

I still don’t know why more than 18,000 people follow me on Instagram, but it has taken two years of making mistakes and learning how the app works to get the formula right. It’s also a learning curve to know what to do with the audience when you have one. 

How should smaller brands use influencer marketing?

Small and medium sized businesses can also use influencer marketing techniques. The key is to work with small and medium sized influencers. Take Manchester for example. I have worked with several restaurants, coffee shops and bars to promote their products or locations on social media, in return for food, drinks or sometimes financial remuneration. 

Manchester doesn’t have many large influencer accounts, with the largest being the local news at 100,000 followers. However, there’s a large network of influencers in Manchester all with more than 10,000 followers. You can gain the same or bigger traction by working with a larger number of smaller influencers and their audience, as you would from working with one large account. 

An account of a similar size and nature to mine earns between £40 and £80 per post for the influencer. The larger the account audience and potential reach, the more it will cost the brand per marketing campaign.

Instagram influencer’s can be both large or small but they’re going to become even more important for brands looking to grow through marketing. 

Put it this way, Kylie Jenner sent out a tweet last month saying that she wasn’t a fan of the Snapchat software update, and that she was going to leave the app. This knocked off $1.8 billion from the company’s share price...

The question people always ask me is whether it’s too late for them to join? 

The answer is no. It’s never too late to start adapting to how you are marketing or trying to grow your business profile. It’s all about niche and sub niche, hard work, personality and self-awareness.

If you want to discuss any more useless facts and figures about social media, or you like pictures of Manchester, feel free to follow me on Instagram - @cjamesmcr

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