The power of the influencer

Naomi Busuttil
By Naomi BusuttilPR and Social Media Manager
5 minutes to read

Brands working with influencers is nothing new. And whether you’re aware of it or not, you’d struggle to scroll through your newsfeed without coming across a carefully considered ‘influencer’ post.

Given Kylie Jenner’s recent takedown of Snapchat, it’s worth bearing in mind that influencers can have as much of a negative effect on a brand as they can a good one. Especially, if you don’t get your strategy right!

Following a redesign of the messaging app, Jenner tweeted: “sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad”. This impacted the brand significantly, with its share price dropping overnight.

We’ve had a look at some of the best and worst examples of the power of the influencer and the lessons which can be learned from each of them.

The good

Setting the trend

Online fashion leviathan, ASOS has taken a unique approach to its influencer marketing. Its ASOS Insiders scheme has recruited a stylish group from all around the world to showcase its products on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. Each influencer has their own handle (@ASOS_Insertnamehere) and feature on the ‘discover’ section of the ASOS homepage.

It’s a fantastic example of the benefits of long term engagement and slowly but surely building up a following. It’s also incredibly transparent. Every follower knows what to expect and can immediately shop the look as the product code is always in the caption.

Larger than life

We never thought we’d consider Brian Blessed an influencer, but it’s 2018, and this is now where we are.

The actor-cum-adventurer helped Lidl sell 17 million mince pies over the festive period in 2017 by being the face of an AR game, Emojinal Christmas. Users just had to open the camera within the Facebook app and they could choose a Brussel sprout, turkey, Christmas pudding or mince pie filter. There was also a game in which players had to quickly recreate the expression of an emoji.

But where does Brian Blessed feature in this I hear you bellow? He helped launch the filters and game, dressed as Santa in a promotional video. He even used his own beard. All this combined with smart media targeting resulted in 13,110 hours of dwell time and 4.4 million engagements with the campaign.

The bad

A Boo Tea-fully bad post

It wouldn’t be a blog about influencers if we didn’t mention the Kardashians. Or at least some of the fringe Kardashians. Scott Disick (or Lord Disick/Kourtney’s ex as he’s otherwise known) made a howler of a mistake that left social media managers around the country reaching for a bottle.

He copied and pasted the email from the marketing team for the product he was endorsing (Boo Tea to be exact) directly on to his Instagram caption. ‘Here you go, at 4pm est, write the below. Caption:’ It just goes to show that you can do everything right but the power is still in their hands.

This particularly boohoo was quickly deleted but has been memorialised in a Tweet with 43k retweets and 86k likes. So maybe it wasn’t a total flop after all?

A Fyre-y mess

Now many of us know that the content we post on Instagram isn’t always reflective of our real lives. The patrons of Fyre Festival found this out the hard way.

2017 saw the likes of Kendall Jenner, Nick Bateman and Bella Hadid suddenly Tweeting and posting about an amazing festival set on a private island with yacht parties, sun and a stellar line up. But unfortunately this wasn’t the reality.

Festival revellers arrived at the island (after paying hundreds of dollars for a ticket) to find no basic facilities and no festival. Unbelievably, the organisers had spent most of their money on influencer marketing and couldn’t afford to invest in the fest.

Once mood started to sour, the influencers jumped ship and glamorous excitement on social media soon turned to fury. Influencers completely disassociated themselves from the event with many releasing statements saying they were led to believe it was genuine.

While this was nothing but a hot mess, it did show just how much power influencers have over our spending habits and issues a stark warning for both marketers (invest in your product first) and consumers (don’t believe everything you see on Instagram).

 

Have you used influencers as part of your marketing strategy and how did it turn out? Tell us in the comments.

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Articles by Naomi Busuttil