The power of influencers

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By work experience student Ebony Abblitt

With the rise of social media, it is no surprise there are people turning to these social platforms as a form of income or to launch a career in the media industry.

July 2017 social media statistics reveal there are 17 million Australians using Facebook, with 12 million using the platform on a daily basis. One in two Australians use YouTube, and one in five Australians use Instagram.

With data like this, it is clear the use of social media is heavily integrated into everyday life for the average Australian.

The term ‘influencer’ has many definitions, however in the online world it refers to individuals who have a following on social media and are able to affect a consumer’s purchasing decision in some way.

If there’s a category you can think of, you can all but guarantee there’s an influencer in that area – from technology to fitness, food, travel and beauty – and everything in between.

Various platforms are used – predominantly YouTube, Facebook and Instagram – and these platforms are often interconnected, for example a YouTube video will also likely be promoted on an influencer’s Facebook page and Instagram account.

There is some debate regarding the following a person requires to be an ‘influencer’ – the term ‘micro-influencer’ is also used to describe people with smaller followers (usually under 50,000) that do also allow for a market of influence upon their following.

Using influencers to promote a product is an increasing market and depending on the influencer/s that you are working with, it can often correlate in a stronger, more affordable and highly targeted response.

Whilst there is still limited literature regarding return on investment, it has been reported companies receive $13.50 in earned media value (publicity, sharing and endorsement) for every $1.40 spent in influencer marketing.

This does not necessarily mean you need to spend money paying influencers for sponsored posts on their accounts. The gifting of products or experiences can sometimes be enough to gain recognition, mentions or a review across their channels.

However this is not always guaranteed, and is more commonly seen with ‘micro-influencers’ who are trying to grow their following.

So what’s the value in engaging influencers in marketing?

You can engage directly with individuals who have a following dedicated specifically to their interests, and you can be sure your advertising funds are going directly into the market you’re trying to reach.

With other forms of advertising, from print to generic Facebook advertisements, you can aim towards a target market but you really have no idea where your money is going. With an influencer you know your content will go directly to interested parties.

Take the launch of Macq01 as an example, in which 20 of Australia’s top travel writers and influencers were invited to their launch. This enabled the Federal Group to guarantee that their hotel would be reviewed by an interested, engaged and very specific audience to spread the word about their newest offering – and it has been in the media ever since.

Whilst social media itself, as well as the idea of an ‘influencer’ may be relatively new, this is not a fleeting concept, and if you’re looking towards a fresh way of advertising your brand or business, it might just be worth your time to engage with influencers to change and grow your audience.

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