Under the influence

Maeve Madden

The rise of the social media star has developed a new way for brands to connect with consumers, and now influencers have become an integral part of social media strategy.

However successful these socially savvy personalities are, it seems in Ireland, businesses have been slow in understanding their value. Perhaps this stems from the sheer volume of bloggers readily available or the common misconception that they ‘don’t bring a lot to the table’. Nonetheless, the power of the influencer should not be underestimated.

We have 10 helpful tips to make it easier to target an influencer and the ways they’ll build your brand awareness;

Rosemary Mac Cabe

1. Be Selective
There are thousands of bloggers in Ireland, so you need to filter your search by asking: Do their interests align with those of your brand? What do they talk about? Who are you aiming to reach? It’s helpful to meet face to face to really get a feel of who they are and what they represent. For example, no matter how many followers a travel blogger has, it wouldn’t ‘fit’ to partner with a fashion range unless they had previously blogged about fashion.  

2. Community and trust
The beauty of the blogger is that they have access to a community at their fingertips. What is most important, however, is ongoing conversation with this community. ‘Questions and answers’ and ‘review’ sections are the norm on blogs, therefore engagement is constant. They have gained a trust with their followers. This means that when these social media gurus publish a piece of sponsored content online, the message is considered largely their own.

3. Numbers do not a good blogger make
Don’t assume that follower figures constitute a successful influencer. Their volume of online traffic is important to determine their reach; however, that follower count can be bought or paid for.  Instead, focus on their engagement with their followers.
 

4. Expertise
Influencers make a career talking about what they love, be it travel, beauty, health, fitness or fashion. They are, in essence, experts in their respective fields. They can therefore build up the brand that aligns closely with their expertise, in the mind of their followers.
 

5. They are not celebrities
How they influence is different. While both strategies use well-known people to promote something, influencers and celebrity endorsements differ. Celebrities have more of a cult following where fans idolise them and want something because the celebrity has/uses it.  Bloggers are trusted in their respective fields, therefore their opinion and convictions on products drive a stronger sale.

Rosie Connolly

 6. Influencing the influencer
This advice is mainly for the small number of influencers at the top, who dominate social channels in Ireland. What’s in it for them? These bloggers have worked hard to develop their own brand so while considering what they bring to you, consider the value you bring to them.  Try creating a mutually beneficial relationship.
 

7. Organic content is gold
Sometimes, after a brand partnership with an influencer has ended, they continue to plug the brand because they liked it themselves.  So, make sure it’s the right fit!
 

8. By far the #easiest, #most #accessible #form #of #tracking #coverage
The advantage of social coverage is the ease in which it can be tracked. No need to scan coverage: it arrives to you with a simple hashtag! #winning
 

9. Ranking
Bloggers who consistently generate content are crucial in developing your brand ranking on search engines. SEO depends largely on how regular website activity is. The more regularly content is published on their channels, the better for your brand.
 

10. The bottom line
By building relationships with online influencers, you have a platform where you can target demographic groups that are specific to your brand. More importantly, you have someone who deepens the connection with your consumer. But don’t take our word for it, follow them yourself! Immerse yourself in blogger culture, and decide for yourself who would convince you to buy into a brand.