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Leveraging Genuinfluencers to Advertise High-Value Products and Services

Blog iConnect Our online journal

When did social media platforms become so boring? Many users have reported that their posts from friends have been replaced by paid posts.

Social media influencers – a class of online ‘celebrities’ who promote products/services to their followers, have taken over multiple social media platforms. The surplus of paid posts is, in many ways, ruining the significance of influencer marketing.

The Decreasing Popularity of Instagram

Instagram has always been the chief platform for social media influencers. But, the platform’s popularity may be dwindling.

  • According to a recent survey released by Ofcom, in 2020, the amount of time 18-24-year-olds in the UK spent on Instagram decreased by over 15 minutes (from 2019).
  • In the same survey, over 67% (two-thirds) of 12-15-year-olds in the UK said that they know influencers say positive things about products/brands because they’re paid to do so.

The Saturation Rate Issue 

  • Saturation Rate (SR) refers to the ratio between a social media influencer’s total number of posts and the number of paid posts. Influencers with a 50% or higher saturation rate post more sponsored content than ‘organic’ content.
  • A recent report published in Forbes suggests that as the SR of a social media influencer increases, there’s an inversely proportional decrease in follower engagements. Too many ads from social media personalities are turn-offs for their followers.

Why Should Brands Care? 

The general consensus is that paid posts on social media platforms are annoying. Despite that, influencers from specific industries – real estate, fashion, and personal care products, in particular, continue reaching out to large groups of people.

  • Every year, the number of social media ad impressions increases by 20%. But, in 2020, the average “Click Through Rate” for ads on social media posts (globally) was down by 30%.
  • Brands that look at overall impressions and not specific engagement rates suffer a lot. According to a 2020 study, 14% of all the money Canadian and US marketers spent on Instagram influencers, were wasted on bot accounts or fake followers.

What Can Brands Do?

If you’re a small company owner with a limited marketing budget, you’ll probably think twice before investing in influencer marketing. But the top brands won’t. Recent reports suggest that influencer marketing spend will grow by 33.6% in 2021 to reach a whopping sum of $3.69 billion.

Brands can’t completely ignore influencer marketing as a promotional tool. They should find the right influencers that suit the demands of social media users. Metrics like frequency of posts or the number of followers is not as important to modern-day consumers.

What do Users Want from Brands on Social Media Platforms?

Modern-day social media users aren’t impressed by sweeping claims from brands – they’re more attracted to brands with strong ethical values.

  • In a 2016 Deloitte survey, 90% of millennials listed ethics, trust, integrity, and honesty as key metrics for judging businesses. In that five-year period between 2016 and 2021, the number of millennials who think businesses are “forces for good” has dropped by 29%.
  • Another recent study discovered that that 86% of US consumers think transparency from brands is more crucial than ever beforeModern-day consumers have options, and they’re not afraid to exercise them if their values don’t align with the brands’.
  • 81% of the US consumers who were surveyed said that brands have a responsibility to be transparent on social media. Only 15% of the US consumers who were surveyed said they believe brands are “transparent” on social media platforms.

If brands can partner with influencers who are publicly perceived as ethical, they can improve their brand image. This type of influencer marketing is called “genuinfluencing.”

What is “Genuinfluencing,” and How Can It Help Brands? 

Unlike a typical social media influencer, a ‘genuinfluencer’ (a portmanteau for ‘genuine influencers’) is not interested in promoting products. These online personalities are more interested in sharing important information with their followers.

Genuinfluencers are often experts in particular topics. They use their platforms not to earn more engagement but to impart education. This sub-category of influencers became popular during the lockdowns when people were tired of watching rich celebrities spread fake messages of positivity.

The trend of ‘worshiping’ influencers or celebs is dying. Modern-day social media users respond more to online personalities who have ‘normal connections’ with their followers. These influencers don’t promote products – they join cultural conversations. Here are some examples –

  • In Finland, 1,500 influencers were hired by the government to spread COVID-19-related information with their followers.
  • The UK government also paid influencers to post about healthcare-related information.
  • In the US, the White House teamed up with TikTok influencers to promote pro-vaccine messages.

Modern-day social media users log on to learn. They prefer engaging with genuinfluencers because these personalities provide advice on important topics.

How Can Brands Leverage Genuinfluencers? 

The right ‘genuinfluencer’ can be a huge asset for any brand. Brands seeking “genuinfluence” should go beyond simple promotional posts and curate marketing ideas centered around larger social causes. How to implement a strong “genuinfluencing” strategy?

  • Find genuinfluencers whose ethics, morals, and goals regarding specific social causes align with your brand.
  • Pick genuinfluencers with follower groups who are likely to be interested in your brand-related cause.
  • Create strong branding messages. Make them cause-focused.

Partnering with genuinfluencers heightens the public awareness of both the brand and the cause that’s being promoted. A genuinfluencer can directly enhance sponsor sales and brand value.

They can also boost customer loyalty by distinguishing the company’s public image from the competition. Millennials are always drawn to efforts around charitable causes. Brands that want to target this age group must consider partnering with genuinfluencers.

 

Citations: Forbes | Ofcom | Statista | Deloitte | Emarketer