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Miguel Afonso Gonçalves
– Copywriter e Travel Blogger –

The designation may be recent enough, but the concept has been more than studied by experts in marketing and advertising. For decades, many brands have struggled to associate themselves with widely recognized faces.

More than just being “well-known faces”, they are individuals capable of exercising influence on the decision-making of a significant number of people. And this notion is transversal to various means of advertising – from the most traditional to the most innovative – starting with the timeless word of mouth among friends or family!

Miguel Afonso Gonçalves
– Copywriter e Travel Blogger –

The designation may be recent enough, but the concept has been more than studied by experts in marketing and advertising. For decades, many brands have struggled to associate themselves with widely recognized faces.

More than just being “well-known faces”, they are individuals capable of exercising influence on the decision-making of a significant number of people. And this notion is transversal to various means of advertising – from the most traditional to the most innovative – starting with the timeless word of mouth among friends or family!

However, a new phenomenon has emerged leveraged by social networks and its power among people: digital influencers.

Unlike those once featured in complex television advertisements or billboards on the “roadside”, digital influencers are characterized, from the outset, by the simple possibility of not being recognized celebrities a priori. Furthermore, they can have a power of influence only over a few hundred people. However, this alleged disadvantage does not deprive them of the ability to contribute positive results to the brands that bet on them.

In a digital universe increasingly full of influencers, what guarantees do brands have to choose the most appropriate ones? Which features suggest that a digital influencer is more appropriate for each campaign?

There are always some myths…

Before we understand which path, we must take to answer the question asked unequivocally, let us look at some myths commonly associated with this theme.

From an early age we have got used to hearing the expression “quantity is not synonymous with quality” and this could not be more appropriate for this scenario. One of the most common mistakes is to assume that investing in an influencer will only bring return if the number of followers is high enough. Now I ask you (those who read this article), how many times have you not said or thought, facing a celebrity endorsement scenario in any advertising format, that a particular public figure does not use the product they are advertising, but agrees to associate their image for a certain payment? What credibility do these influencers really have? And what real return will they bring in the face of such an initial investment?

See the image below, as a study conducted by eMarketer in 2017 found that nearly 80% of North American millennials  do not feel influenced by celebrities who advertise a product and they do not confer any credibility to the brand in question. (source).

A second myth still very present results from the idea of a mandatory association between the area of the influencer and the brand. In other words, to what extent can or should a brand in the healthy eating industry only resort to influencers whose notoriety is due to the lifestyle of sports, gym and diets? In a succinct way, of course they shouldn’t!  Doctors who are influencers in their spare time can also be valid options. In fact, not only do they reinforce an authentic and credible narrative, but also expand the spectrum of potential customers who contact the brand (assuming that both will have a different profile of followers).

The credibility and reputation of a brand or product is built mainly in a much larger space – let us remember, as we have already mentioned, how the word of mouth between friends is simply powerful enough for us to make decisions. In fact, I do not think there is a better example of anyone’s ability to be an influencer, than on the review platforms. Why do the reviews of complete strangers influence us so much? Why did we choose not to stay at the hotel where the user “LurdesDasViagens” had a bad experience and made a point of sharing it on TripAdvisor?

In conclusion, the reputation of a brand should not be based solely on influencers, say experts in brand action, as anyone has the power to contradict it

Now, how to establish, then, the best strategy to define which influencers should be associated to your brand?

(In) Compatibility: brand vs influencer

The starting point is like that of any human relationship: is there compatibility? And what path must be taken for this compatibility to exist? What should marketers seek to analyze in influencers?

Let us look at three crucial points now:

1. It is mandatory to know the brand very well: its DNA, its values, its image.

This first point seems logical and obvious, but you can only define a profile that fits the brand, knowing it very well and what it represents – including for your customers and target audience.

2. Analyze the profile of each influencer, according to the same characteristics – what values do they defend and transmit, which image have they built around themselves.

One of the most relevant points in effective communication of a brand is the creation of a coherent and consistent narrative. If the brand X “sells” a more radical lifestyle, having    ambassadors who are supporters of that same lifestyle helps keep the thread of the narrative.

And how do you analyze this profile of influencers? See your posts – everything counts, the visual part, the copy, the timing of publishing, the interaction with followers, among others.

What values do you stand for? Are they in line with your brand? Are the images of quality and not overly edited? Remember that nowadays, the public you are trying to contact prefers authenticity to the sale of impossible dreams!

According to a recent study (Mazzin), “90% of young people value transparent brands” (source). Are the descriptions well written? If you prefer, in sponsored publications, you can write the copy to which your brand will be associated! However, do not fall into the temptation of making it too “artificial”.

3. Nano-influencers, micro-influencers, macro-influencers?

It’s time to put the calculator into action (but don’t just focus on these numbers). Let’s get to some facts.

1

The total number of available nano-influencers is much higher than the number of macro-influencers. This niche is far from saturation and the probability of having the same influencer to advertise multiple brands simultaneously is smaller, giving more prominence to your brand.

2

Nano-influencers can fit into the spirit of your brand more easily without having to adapt the policy of content publishing tailored to each brand, contrary to the macro-influencers.

3

Nano-influencers tend to be able to influence a higher percentage of followers than micro-influencers and macro-influencers.

4

Your brand's notoriety will grow faster with macro-influencers, given the high number of followers.

5

Strategies with nano-influencers and micro-influencers require less initial investment, as well as being able to be translated into more advantageous ROI to your brand.

6

Nano-influencers can often have a deceptive engagement by participating in mutual support groups but without real power of influence. Review the comments. Are they always the same? Are they usually without content?

7

Macro-influencers are more often discredited when promoting a product or brand, because they do so more often.

With the data described above, we do not want to answer in favor of one or another. On the contrary, there are advantages and disadvantages for all scenarios. One must, however, remember to maintain an authentic, credible, coherent, and consistent narrative. It is, above all, these factors that your target audience pays more attention to.

When choosing an influencer(s), think about the brand profile. Think of the values you respect and defend.

Naturally, the ideal ambassador for your brand will appear as soon as you connect all the points described in this article and connect them with the DNA, the blood, “that runs in the veins” of your brand!