Two stories from January well captured the varying sentiments towards influencers in 2022.
First was the much-publicised furore over comments made by Love Island contestant turned mega-influencer and creative director Molly-Mae Hague.
Hague’s argument on a podcast that “we all have the same 24 hours in a day” – intended as an inspirational message but widely slammed for being out of touch with reality and ignoring socioeconomic inequalities – generated countless angry think pieces and mocking social media comments. Many proclaimed they were done with influencers entirely,
But then you have an influencer like Francis Bourgeois, the trainspotter who rocketed to fame on TikTok and Instagram during the pandemic through his ultra-enthusiastic head-cam videos from railway stations. His unlikely reveal as a model for Gucci’s newest campaign, a collaboration with North Face, generated an outpouring of support, with comments cheering him for “getting that bag” (AKA earning money) and calling him “iconic”. Many said (perhaps with a touch of hyperbole) they’d never felt such joy.
The two content creators, producing social media posts that are worlds apart, demonstrate the hugely different responses influencers can generate.
Yet despite weathering a rough January, Hague’s career is far from over. Sure, she lost around 40,000 followers amid the ‘scandal’, but that leaves her with more than 6 million remaining. And while they are still getting a few nasty comments, her Instagram posts over the last week generated between 300,000 and 400,000 likes.
Meanwhile, Bourgeois’ case demonstrates the opportunity brands still have to surprise, delight and entertain audiences with the right kinds of partnerships.
A few loud voices may say they are done with influencers, but the influencer marketing machine is far from slowing down.
Recent stats affirm this. Influencer Marketing Hub states that brands plan to up their influencer budgets for 2022, and 79% of marketers see Instagram as key to their strategies. Statista lists the biggest platforms by users, in descending order, as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok (excluding chat-focused platforms).
A social media report found that 86.5% of influencers say TikTok has grown during the pandemic, and 87% say they get the most engagement on the app. Across all platforms, video is the most engaged-with content, but people want increasingly short videos – Millennials are watching for an average 12 seconds, Gen Z for just 8.
It adds that micro and nano-influencers will become increasingly relevant in 2022, with brands seeking long-term relationships with a diverse range of talent. Relatable, community-driven and niche-oriented micro-influencers were found to deliver the highest post engagement rates across Instagram (3.86%), YouTube (1.63%) and TikTok (17.96%).
The view from travel
This is good news for travel and tourism businesses and brands looking to get involved in or expand their influencer marketing.
Budgets may be tight this year as many will still be in recovery mode from the pandemic, but micro-influencers provide an excellent avenue, potentially providing value rates with great engagement.
Short, snappy videos lend themselves well to travel content, whether that’s for airline reviews (see: The Points Guy, Sam Chui), to experiences (with full-time adventurers like Eva Zu Beck and Louis Cole growing in popularity). And for hotels and destinations, the opportunities to show off interiors or stunning landscapes in a 10-second video are endless.
What should you be looking for?
If you’re thinking about partnering with an influencer, it all depends on what it is you have to promote and what outcome you’re looking for. Paying the (rumoured) £20,000 for a post on Molly-Mae Hague’s Instagram feed is a sure-fire way to get eyeballs, but may not deliver your aims on following increase or sales conversions.
At Digital Dialog, we look beyond follower size and engagement metrics to get a good match between the brand and the influencer, ensuring an alignment of core values. We understand recent best-practice standards which show that influencer campaigns need clear goals, relevant messaging, and crucially, content creators with the right style, personality and values.
As Emily Rule, head of planning at agency Wunderman Thompson UK, highlighted in a recent PR week article, “Without trust, there can be no influence … a return to understated authenticity, community-building and pronounced values-alignment will be paramount for effective influencer marketing in a sceptical post-pandemic world.”
The best way to get started – let’s have a chat.
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