Business

Should Irish marketers be looking for new ways to interact with influencers?

The recent boxing match between KSI and Logan Paul drew an audience of 2.5 million live viewers and more than 19 million subsequent views, making it the biggest internet event in history. Picture by Associated Press 
Eileen Curry

WITH 2.3 million people in Ireland on social media, influencer marketing has never been more important. New rules have been introduced to help guide social media giants based in Ireland to ensure they have processes that are ‘robust’ when it comes to influencers and users who interact with their content.

So, what do Irish marketers need to know and where should they be spending their budgets?

There’s little doubt influencer marketing is hot right now, with YouTube stars fast becoming the most famous faces on the planet. The recent boxing match between KSI and Logan Paul drew an audience of 2.5 million live viewers and more than 19m subsequent views, making it the biggest internet event in history.

Influencer marketing is great for targeting a younger demographic which is why so many brands jump into it with their wallets open. If a brand is losing influence among consumers, the opportunity to reach out via a trusted or ‘authentic’ influencer can be highly successful.

Sponsored posts have worked well in an era when the hard sell is not cutting through for brands. Influencers offer face-to-face interactions with a consumer, a new kind of celebrity endorsement that, in the best cases, also offers a measurable ROI.

However, not all cases are best case scenarios, and as the price of sponsored photos rockets, the landscape too has changed. Sponsored content has become an integral part of the rhetoric, style and overall milieu of the most popular social media platforms, making clarity around what is and isn’t sponsored ever more important for all those involved.

Working with the Competition and Markets Authority, the Advertising Standards Agency issued its first Influencer’s Guide last year, making it illegal for brands or individuals to post sponsored content without disclosing it.

While current regulation doesn’t cover all issues surrounding influencer marketing, it does help assure businesses and us marketers that we are not entering a wild west of fake followers, phony engagement, ever-changing algorithms and ‘spon cons’.

The ‘spon con’ is notable because it can be difficult for brands to spot: unscrupulous influencers presenting non-sponsored content as sponsored because they want a positive brand association that might tempt other businesses to work with them.

Yet despite the risks, the price of a sponsored photo has risen dramatically, because, when done right, with a carefully chosen partner, it can still justify its outlay.

Of course, influencer marketing is not just about big-budget YouTube videos and Instagram posts. Nano-influencers with fewer than 1,000 followers offer affordable, closely targeted opportunities that may benefit small and medium sized businesses. It’s clear influencer online marketing will remain a key channel for us all and only a click away.

The key message here is, to plan your influencer marketing carefully, be honest, open and transparent and the potential return can be significant for your brand.

:: Eileen Curry is chair of CIM Ireland

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