Years ago, long before the emergence of social networks, people who, due to their characteristics or personal or professional profile, could influence public opinion were known in marketing jargon as “opinion leaders”. Today, in a society marked by social networks and the rapid evolution of trends, opinion leaders have undergone a metamorphosis and are popularly known as influencers.
In fact, the essence remains the same, regardless of how we describe or call the people who can influence the opinions of others. Opinions that used to reach comparatively smaller circles, today number in the hundreds of thousands or even millions. And what was once almost a natural gift is now a profession. As in all fields, there are exceptional, serious and reliable professionals, while there are others who live on appearance, abuse and lack the values of a good professional.
In Sergat, as a communications and public relations agency specializing in aviation, tourism, hospitality and lifestyle, we are in contact with influencers on an ongoing basis. Due to the portfolio of world-class clients that we have the privilege to represent in Spain, we receive a large number of requests for collaboration from influencers. And, in parallel, we proactively survey all types of influencers – Instagrammers, youtubers, bloggers, among others – to verify the possibilities of collaboration in support of our clients' brands.
Aspects to take into account when working with influencers
The economic aspect: we all know that today there are influencers who charge or earn almost as much as a soccer player, depending on their status and presence. Charging for their opinion, for transmitting their experience with the brand – for example, through a post, several stories, a video or by attending an event- is commonplace.
You have to think that there are more and more influencers who, even if they don't have millions of followers, have managed to turn publicity on social networks into a full-time job. For this reason, unlike what happens with journalists, whose salary is provided by the media they work for, influencers spend their time getting to know a destination, a service, a hotel, which is why paid collaborations are increasingly part of the agreements.
Having said that, some of our clients – however large or economically powerful they may be – have a policy of not paying influencers and instead favoring barters, precisely because their brands are strong and aspirational even for influencers.
The affinity aspect: what do brands value most in a partnership with influencers? Without going any further, authenticity, credibility, enthusiasm and, above all, a brand match. In other words, a natural fit between the influencer and the brand. In addition to quality content, they are looking for people whose values and lifestyle are aligned with the brand's positioning.
The qualitative aspect: it goes without saying that the number of followers is not everything in the world of social networks. You can have millions of followers and, on the other hand, a very low engagement with the audience or that this audience is not the one we are interested in reaching. Engagement is one of the most important factors to take into account when embarking on a collaboration, as well as whether the audience is aligned to the personality of the brand. Currently, with tools such as by example Social Blade, you can immediately obtain a complete x-ray of the different profiles and learn more about the degree of interaction with the public.
It is also necessary to analyze the type of content they generate, which brands they have worked with in the past and how they have transmitted their experiences or opinions. The quality level of an influencer who publishes a simple image with a mention of the brand in the copy will not be the same as that of another influencer, for example, who has developed a more creative copy, more thought out, to start a conversation with his followers around the brand.
A positive element of collaborations with influencers is that they are easily measurable. We can find out how many people have seen their stories, what reach the posts have had, how many views a video has had, how many likes, comments and shares a publication has had… the engagement! Once a collaboration has ended, it is advisable to ask the influencer for a summary of the impacts generated. In this way, it will be possible to determine whether the ROI has been as expected and to decide if in the future you want to use this profile again.