Are bogus influencers undermining brand confidence and confusing the state of play? According to Emma Austen, the founder PR agency Emerge, they are.
In a recent PR Week opinion piece, Emma says that brands are often drawn into the science of probability – if someone has two million followers, that will impact the bottom line of influencer marketing. But increasingly PRs and marketers are having to wake up to the fact that an influencer having a large following on social media does not automatically mean that a blogger has real influence.
Emma Austen said: ”It is the responsibility of PR professionals to be vigilant in determining which influencers have legitimate, relevant followers, and which have tried to buy their way into the club.”
With countless apps and sites that allow people to easily buy followers at the click of a button, it is becoming increasingly easy for bloggers to make false claims about how influential they are. Due to a lack of sophisticated influencer tools, it is difficult to get an accurate assessment of how influential a blogger is and their engagement levels, which often results in brands basing their spending decisions on false information and disappointing results.
Nik Speller, the founder of influencer marketing consultancy; N.K.B. and contributor to men’s lifestyle blog Buckets and Spades, said PRs need to change their focus when it comes influencer marketing.
He said: “This industry is changing so fast, but I think there are a few trends bubbling up that will grow this year. Firstly, I’ve noticed a few brands pay more interest in content, than in follower numbers. These brands have seen that working with the mega-influencers doesn’t always yield results, as they aren’t always the best fit. Working with smaller, creative influencers, with a specific and highly relevant audience, can be far more effective.”
So, when it comes to blogger outreach, how do you identify who are the real influencers?
Here at Vuelio, we offer access to our influencer rating tool, not just for bloggers, but also for specific journalists and different publications. Our rating considers a broad range of data points – including content frequency, engagement, social presence and following, to determine overall influence. By having our unique influencer ratings at your fingertips, you will be able to make a better assessment of whether a blogger has legitimate influence. This will enable you to connect with the right bloggers for your campaigns and stop wasting time and resources on bloggers who do not really influence your target audience.
But before you reach out, make sure you have a strong pitch. Results from our 2016 Bloggers Survey showed that fifty per cent of bloggers receive seven plus emails per week, but seventy per cent of pitches get little attention from bloggers as a result. For best results make sure you are transparent about compensation, take the time to understand their blog, and personalise your approach by using the name of the blogger.
Despite the rise of bogus influencers, there are genuine ones. With the right approach and the right tools, these bloggers can bring you a significant return on your investment.