[Estimated reading time: 5 minutes]
There’s no question that more and more Luxury brands are going digital, realizing that mass-to-mass printed media isn’t the only communication method today. One increasingly common element of digital is ‘’influencer marketing’’ where brands pay influential bloggers to create compelling content which supports the brand.
For sure, there are still some brands which just can’t get their heads round the idea of paying bloggers but really, it’s not that different to a “publi-reportage” in printed media which are paid, and this resistance to pay is dying out fast.
The practice of partnering with content creators and social media personalities is one of the most cost-effective methods of reaching and growing your audience today. Traditional marketing is the brand talking, as the brand, to the consumer. Influencers, on the other hand, represent much more of a trusted source. A study found that 45% of people trust the content written in specialized blog. Influencers help break down the wall between brands and consumers. So, while you admittedly lose a little control over your brand’s messaging by working with bloggers, you are achieving a level of communication and trust with your consumer that you just don’t get with traditional communication practices.
The other massive advantage of influencer marketing is the reporting data that comes with it. New tools allow you to analyse conversations around your brand and your marketing strategy’s impact in a more clear and concise way than was ever possible before.
How to choose the perfect influencer for a luxury brand ?
If I told you that you had to cough up $230k for a post by Kendall Jenner, you might well be choking on your coffee and even if you did have the budget for that kind of spend, how could you possibly see strong enough results to justify it ?
Dont’ worry, the reality is that paying big celebrity names is not actually the most effective approach for influencer marketing. You will get a lot more bang for your buck when you focus on smaller or ‘power middle’ bloggers.
To many luxury marketers, this opinion might be contentious ! Afterall, luxury brands have been used to spending millions working with major ambassadors and celebrities, so why not adopt the same strategy with the new star bloggers ! Maybe they think they need this profile of blogger to preserve the hype and exclusivity associated with their brand ? WRONG ! The online rules are different. It’s true that the audience of this type of blog is big – but the reality is this type of audience is less engaged and trusting with the blogger than bloggers with smaller audiences because the relation is less personal.
Power middle bloggers provide qualitative blogs with followings between 10’000 and 50’000 monthly visits. They provide the highest quality content but within communities that are highly trusting, even for sponsored articles. These smaller blogs will not be compromised on the “exclusivity aspect” that luxury brands love so much and their audience will be more reactive and provide better results.
Power middle bloggers are gently dethroning celebrities and star bloggers; people are looking for fashion, travel, lifestyle blogs when it comes to get inspiration and be inspired, not celebrities!
Look for power middle influencers who are natural storytellers and sharers with targeted audience and much better engagement rates than major celebrities who are followed for their fame and not for a shared personal interest which is much more engaging. An audience that’s proven to tune-in is far more valuable than a larger audience that’s only half listening. While Taylor Swift may attract fans with a broad range of interests, people who follow an outdoor rock climber on Instagram all share one very clear, niche, marketable interest : rock climbing.
From a purely operational point of view, let’s also not forget that celebrity bloggers are overwhelmed with brands requests for sponsored post or product endorsements. It’s really much easier and cost effective to work with these smaller influencers.
The online rules are different from the past. Luxury brands should focus on the final target rather than the blog itself. A blog’s quality is defined by the size and engagement level of its audience, and not purely its visual.
If you look for smaller influencers with targeted audiences and strong engagement rates, you are much more likely to see a return.