Monday, 13 august 2018 | Redacción CEU
They have an exorbitant number of followers, know the recipe for success and are the new idols of the digital world. Their sector has been professionalized and their hiring is on the rise. Influencers are aware of their power and exploit it, they increasingly negotiate harder with brands and companies. It is not surprising, since their profitability seems to be confirmed. However, are all kinds of influencers equally effective? Is the number of followers an useful criterion for their hiring? What have marketers learned in recent years?
"Less is more". This is the new line that influencer marketing experts defend. Until recently, when brands or firms decided to use influencers in their marketing strategies, the decisive criterion which had guided their search was the number of followers that the personality in question had. In other words, the effectiveness of the influencer was measured in popularity terms. Over time and with the accumulated experience, this theory has been refuted by a considerable number of brands. They are aware of the fact that these figures do not necessarily translate into an engagement which is proportional to them or reflect their real capacity of influencing.
Naturalness, visibility and credibility are terms which are used frequently to define these personalities. However, not all influencers are equal, and these adjectives are more or less adequate according to the kind of influencer being considered. Before getting into detail, we consider that it is necessary to narrow down the different types of influencer according to their level of popularity:
When developing this classification of influencers, especially when we had to delimitate the figures, we took as inspiration the event Influencer Marketing: how to use it efficiently to reach your audience which took place a few months ago at the headquarters of CEU IAM Business School and which had as a guest the singular intervention of Francesc Pumarola, Head of Digital Go To Market of Hijos de Rivera SAU (Estrella Galicia, 1906, Cabreiroá). To be precise, it is necessary to clarify that when he talked about "potential influencers" in this conference, he referred to what we called "micro-influencers" in this article.
Although other analyses present a different categorization, they also agree on the same premise: when influencers have more followers, they generate less engagement. On the contrary, small influencers have more possibilities when it comes to reaching their target, that is, they have an extraordinary ability to influence. It is not surprising that these personalities, which were previously ignored, now come to occupy the center of attention of brands.
According to a report carried out by the Brandwatch consultancy, out of 72% of users that follow influencers, only 38% believe that these influencers are "trustworthy". Their naturalness has been during all this time their great ally when it comes to exerting their ability to influence, but, as time goes by, some of these personalities have lost that power. Their behavior is questioned. Macro-influencers and celebrities are those who most experience this lack of credibility; their speech is likely to be perceived by the users as forced. Brands must be able to find the most appropriate influencers, those who best adapt to their strategies and values and who manage to work with them more spontaneously. Only in this way will they be able to avoid this situation.
Influencers' ability to influence depends on the level of authenticity and honesty that users perceive in them to a large extent. These are precisely attributes that micro-influencers possess. The influencers with smaller audiences are characterized by their high degree of specialization in matters that their followers are interested in, this circumstance allows them to generate more engagement. In addition, they have a greater capacity to interact with their audience. The personalization of the message is, therefore, another competitive advantage.
The figures support the "less is more" argument. According to the data showed by The Startup, micro-influencers achieve 60% engagement, the campaigns in which they participate are 6.7% more profitable and effective, and they generate 22 times more conversations than the average consumer does. Other studies carried out by firms such as Tapinfluencience or Experticity also highlight their great potential when it comes to generating a return on investment or their ability to influence customers.
Micro-influencers have a small audience, but they also have a great potential. As their name indicates, the great charm of the influencers lies in their ability to influence and, in this case, the smallest can be the biggest.
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