Why not all influencers are created equal

By Florence Fahmy, Social Content Creator

Nov, 2023
Not all celebs are influencers, and not all influencers are celebs and there are pros and cons to both, writes our Social Content Creator, Florence Fahmy.

Until recently, celebrities were the only people we considered influencers. Movie stars, models and athletes were plastered all over our screens recommending their “gold-medal winning breakfast” or “red carpet-ready lipstick”. However, in recent years we have seen a shift from brands exclusively partnering with celebrities to collaborating with various levels of influencers, each with their own unique community, and substantial influence and impact.

In response, we’re seeing a shake-up of the way brands approach talent partnerships, with many more factors to consider when identifying the right talent.

The key is deciding what’s right for your brand before choosing your talent.  Here are five things we consider when identifying the right celebrity/influencer mix:

Is your talent going to build trust in your brand?

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, an annual global survey, 63% of consumers between 18 and 34 years old said that they “trust what influencers say about brands much more than what brands say about themselves in their advertising”. Benchmarking from our client campaign results reveals that the effectiveness of influencer recommendations increases after the third brand mention.

Influencers grow their communities based on trust. Their fans religiously follow their recommendations, experiences and advice. In some instances, followers feel like they know them and are a friend. A good influencer will share brands that they believe in, and are true to their personal brand.

On the other hand, while mega-celebrities Cristiano Ronaldo or Kylie Jenner (the world’s most-followed people) may be a household name and create widespread awareness, to some, they may seem disconnected from reality or just doing it for the endorsement fee.

What type of talent will work best for your campaign?

If your goal is to drive mass awareness, you’d be looking at larger personalities and celebrities. Attaching a celebrity to your brand can reshape brand perception or generate fame. Take Tiffany & Co. for example, which has been reinventing itself to appeal to a younger generation calling on young celebrities such as actor Anya Taylor-Joy, model Hailey Bieber and skier Eileen Gu as ambassadors.

However, numbers and status don’t always equal engagement or an increase in sales.

Influencers can be more adaptable or can go deeper with their partnership. You may consider an expert or specialist influencer who can have targeted and meaningful conversations specific to a category that can deliver your message in a more personalised and persuasive way driving intent and purchase.

Within the saturated worlds of beauty and fashion, TikTok influencer Alix Earle managed to carve out a distinct niche with her ‘get ready with me’ content. Her expertise in this niche allows her to speak passionately and authentically about the brands she partners with, thus having a strong influence on her dedicated audience

Are you targeting a specific niche or a broader audience?

Balancing size and impact is key. Some influencers maintain both a sizeable following and high engagement, while others hit smaller, highly engaged fan groups.

Marketers should look beyond simple demographics such as age and location to partner with talent that can effectively covey specific messages with their audience and align to the passions of the target audience, such as music, food, sports, outdoors and technology.

Take BWS, for example, they wanted to show young Aussies that BWS is the bottle shop for them.  The M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment team assembled a ‘BWS Squad’ of influencers, each handpicked to engage a specific segment of the audience. Considered casting ensured all talent were authentic, relatable and unique, but had a shared attitude to life..  We partnered with creators from various niche audiences varying from fashion, sport, comedy & lifestyle including Carmen Azzopardi (Zigs_Mom), Jeremy Franco, Aimee Massie, Onye Agbarakwe, Veronica B and Ebony Boadu and work with each of them to co-create content and experiences relevant to their audience.  By aligning with its target audience’s passions and lifestyles, BWS tapped into a highly engaged and relevant audience, reinforcing its reputation as the go-to bottle shop for young people.

Consider the content job at hand

Not all influencers are equal; some are content specialists and others might rely more on their personality. Assess if you can leverage their content creation and production skills to develop engaging and authentic social assets and evaluate how well the influencers can create authentic content specifically for the platforms you intend to use.

Go Pro, for example, partnered with Fabio Tischler (@iamfabreezy), a content creator and adventurist with 213k Instagram followers to capture his breathtaking travels using the GoPro camera. Fabio already captured content like this himself, so by giving him the Go Pro they not only knew he could successfully capture the content but that it would appear authentic and relatable, whilst showing the camera as accessible and functional. As Fabio already created similar content himself he could provide the brand what they needed. This doesn’t always work – when working with a high-profile athlete who is used to a script, a publicist and a production team, your content approach needs to shift to suit the talent.

How much can you afford to invest?

Lastly, the question always arises: How much do you pay an influencer? A celebrity is guaranteed to empty your pockets as they come with name recognition, prestige, a significant impact and likely a large team. On the other hand, influencer rates can vary greatly, and it’s often challenging to determine if their rates will equate to a positive ROI. It’s important to recognise that influencers are providing a service and several factors should be considered when determining their payment. These factors may include their expertise in creating content, their PR value, the strength of their community, or a combination of these elements. We find establishing long-term partnerships that balance fees with experiences and products garners the best results and strongest ROI.

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