Influencer marketing for small businesses

Love Island Contestants Fake Followers: Avoiding the ‘Influencer’ trap

Big gossip in from Instagram influencer marketing service Takumi. The Instagram following of the current contingent of Love Island contestants is mainly fake – from 50% to 65% fake accounts. Hardly a surprise to many!

But it does show that you need to be very careful when dealing with ‘Influencers’. Those tens of thousands of followers might seem like an easy win, but can you get benefit from working with influencers, bloggers, vloggers and the assorted self-elected social media darlings?

Beware The Numbers Game

As with your businesses own social media accounts, it’s not the number of followers or likers that matters, it’s the levels of engagement. If someone has 30,000 followers on Instagram, but only gets 10 likes per picture, their followers are fake. However, if they are getting hundreds, or even thousands of likes – and more importantly people are making good conversation in the comments – then there is more likely to be a benefit.

What’s in it for you?

We’ve had plenty of ‘Influencers’ direct message clients looking for freebies in exchange for a positive review, share in a story or other perceived ‘benefit’. Most of the time we don’t even respond. Not for some deep seated issue against influencers, but because they haven’t bothered to do their homework.

Someone with a 100k following on social media who has an engaged following of teenagers watching their make up tutorials will probably be a great ambassador for a mascara company. However, those 100k people are not the demographic of the independent fine dining restaurant I work with. They aren’t going to see a story posted for 24 hours and think “let’s go to Leicester” – in fact a large percentage of that 100k isn’t going to be UK based at all. Look at the numbers and think logically about what the influencer is offering. Is it worth your time?

Keeping your authenticity

Being ‘discovered’ to have fake followers is as damaging to influencers’ reputations as it is to your own business. Furthermore, if what is being offered to you is a positive ‘review’ regardless of the experience they have, then what’s the point. There’s no authenticity, they aren’t going to talk in detail about your offer or care about your key points of delivery. You’ll get something superficial and without value to your desired audience of potential customer.

Instead find a local blogger with a potentially small but engaged audience who writes for your target audience. Give them the freebie and earn a considered, intelligent piece of writing in return. One that reaches people who might actually consider using your services.

Blogs vs Social Media

Importantly, bloggers with their own domains are in control of their content. Someone may have thousands of followers on Facebook or Instagram – but ultimately it is the platform that controls the content. Plus social media influencers rarely provide backlinks to your website, certainly not ones that will last for any amount of time.

Check out their work and look for people who write a decent volume of good quality prose. Look for spelling errors or vague reviews without detail and if you see them, walk away. The higher quality bloggers have a more loyal readership and actually do influence people’s spending choices. They can also potentially offer a quality backlink to your website which will help with your SEO – if you have chosen the right blog to work with!

Also, you can build longer term relationships with local, quality influencers. Run competitions, plan events, look at joint campaigns. This adds more value to your customers’ experience and shows the authenticity of your motives as well as the influencers. Make reviews and relationships more than just a freebie again.

I still don’t know where to begin

Thirst Media can help with wading through the mire of Influencer marketing. With over a decade of experience within the blogger community, as well as serious expertise in the marketing sector we are proud poacher turned gamekeeper.

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