Influencer marketing has blown up recently and with the recent change in ASA guidelines, we are starting to notice placements a lot more due to disclosure of PR items being compulsory now. Increasingly, influencers are asking for payment for collaborations and partnerships – especially those with larger followings. As we move further into 2019, how does this shift in influencer marketing impact how we approach working with bloggers and influencers? Firstly, it should be about creating a relationship and gifting a product that will genuinely help or add value to an influencer’s life with the hope that they will then share their experience with their audience. However, this may come at a cost… literally.
The Cost of Key Influencers
You have to think like this, blogs are babies. They have been cared for, many have changed in appearance as they have grown and most importantly – they made have formed relationships in the form of online followers. So much hard work and care goes into a blog so why should bloggers and influencers not be rewarded for building such audiences through unpaid dedication? If you are aiming for the Kim Kardashians of the social and blogger land, then be prepared to part ways with a large budget. It depends on your aim, are you just wanting to increase brand awareness or increase sales? Of course, the two go hand in hand, however micro influencers tend to have smaller but more engaged audiences who are more likely to purchase a product, whereas larger ones have a huge platform and plenty of reach for brand awareness. For a bit of fun, why not check out how much your ‘worth’? The Influencer Marketing hub has created a micro-influencer vs celebrity tool where you can estimate and compare accounts in terms of ROI and engagement rates. As I am nosey I tested this tool with my account and found, whilst I am not quite on the level as Kim K, I could still be earning between $21.99 – $36.65 for my posts!
The Big Backlash
Influencer marketing definitely is a tool that brands need to be using… with care. False placements can get you coverage of the wrong kind, so it is important that you continue to communicate with the influencer regarding their idea whether it’s an Instagram post or a blog post. Do keep in mind, creative direction is ultimately down to the influencers – it’s their platform and they know their audience best. However sometimes this does not work. Blogging and social media promotion is not seen as a ‘traditional’ form of marketing due to the newness of it, which became very evident when ‘Listeringate’ came around.
Successful blogger Scarlett London was promoting Listerine mouthwash through staging the product on her bedside table for an Instagram post. She was mercilessly mocked for ‘unrealistic’ representation of a ‘normal morning’ with the Listerine on her bedside table. Looking into it, there are gazillion questionably staged photos so what made this different – well, many could not believe this was a paid promotion by Listerine which was actually stated by the blogger. With pictures on social media almost becoming passive advertisements – it is something which needed to be looked into.
Due to the uproar around this and many other influencers being pulled up on advertisements – ASA had to review the guidelines. Now bloggers are required to label every post, where they have been given a gift from a company, clearly with ‘ad’ or ‘gifted’. Since this, there has been a noticeable increase in gifted products on my personal Instagram timeline – some of which you would never have guessed to be stealthy advertisements. What do you think – have the guidelines made sponsorships more obvious to the point that users may deter from buying a product or using a service? Follow my contributions to the blog to find out more about Digital PR or sign up to the ThoughtShift Guest List, our monthly email, to keep up-to-date on all our blog posts, guides and events.