I was reading an article about Influencer Marketing this morning on the tube. The title being...."A Fool-Proof Guide to Influencer Marketing." The first point of the article was its downfall, please see below.
1. "Number of Followers: Obviously, the more followers an influencer has, the better."
This article was on a prominent website, that marketers and brand managers read daily.
Now, what's the problem? Is this an expert writing this article and is this what the experts believe? Do they realise Influencer Marketing has evolved from a sheer numbers game? Are brands just looking at the numbers of followers? If the influencer doesn't have millions of fans, does it mean they aren't an influencer?
I had lots of questions and the use of the word "obviously" really had me rattled! With that being the first point of the article, the author was no expert in my eyes.
Influencers DO NOT need millions of fans!
I've written about this subject extensively, I harp on about it every single day in meetings, in the office - people are probably sick of me saying it. Influencers DO NOT need millions of fans! To be an influencer, you have an audience that listens to and trusts you, you create engaging content that your audience likes, shares and talks about. Partnering brands with influencers is a difficult process, it's not easy. It's not about the person with the biggest following or the first person on Google, it's about the influencers with the audience, content and voice that is right for that brand or campaign.
I thought about the statement again and I wanted to just give a ridiculous statement of my own to give some perspective on the article. To win the Premier League, you need the most fans....whoever has the most fans is the best team right?
It's shocking to assume just because someone has millions of followers, they are ultimately better than influencers with smaller followings. Whilst writing this article I've looked at a couple of YouTube gamers. One has 2.5 million fans and he receives on average 120K engagements (likes, comments, views etc) per video. I then looked at a smaller channel of 390K subscribers, who has on average 250K engagements per video. The smaller channel engages over half of their audience, whereas the bigger channels engaging less than 10%.
Obviously...more followers = better.....right?
When you really delve into numbers, you often find that influencers with smaller followings, engage higher percentages of their audience. It might be just because their content is better, or it could be because they actually engage with their followers.
Influencer marketing has evolved from sheer numbers of followers, where brands only work with people with large followings. Brands want to understand the influencer, understand their audience, understand their content, understand the engagement, get to know them as people and rightfully so! It's not just a transactional process, it's about working with influencers on a long term basis and forming relationships based on results, not numbers of followers.