This month the government introduced a blanket ban of influencer marketing following public outcry when it was revealed that $600,000 of tax payer’s money had been invested into this channel. Nationally the industry response to the decision has consistently echoed the same sentiment, stressing the poor tactics around the influencers selected for the campaign under public scrutiny – from flat tummy tea advocates to perfectly polished and often Photoshopped posts, the perception was many of the influencers selected to represent this incredibly inclusive consumer message didn’t appear relatable or authentic.
Establishing a selection criteria to the influencer marketing process
But is a complete influencer black out across all activity the right move to respond to this controversy? With every marketing channel, there should be due diligence and education applied to all tactics invested in to ensure the right outcome. Some social media strategies have a higher ROI than others, some TV buy recommendations will drive a stronger impact and indeed not all influencer marketing strategies are equal. A blanket ban is a lazy way to wash your hands of all accountability at the detriment of what often is a highly performing and impactful channel (when done correctly). An example of influencer marketing done right can be seen in the Victorian Government #ThisGirlCan movement aimed at everyday women and empowerment through exercise. The power of this campaign was grounded in poignant storytelling and the selection criteria was anchored by the powerful real narratives of authentic people who truly mobilise and speak to female capability.
Often we talk about ‘credibility’ and ‘authenticity’ which can feel like fluffy, subjective statements in the influencer marketing world. This position can derive from bespoke criteria which under Magnum & Co’s influencer marketing offering Magnetic looks at purposeful attributes that attaches tangible rationale behind our influencers, for example:
Credibility – does this individual have the accreditation or certifications needed to speak to this specialism? Are they a certified financial planner / nutritionist / neuroscientist? If not, they’re not safe to be out in the market with their message offering their perspective.
Authenticity – does this individual truly have a narrative that resonates with the core theme of this campaign, is their personal account timely and did it affect their course of life in a significant way? If we layered a PR component within our tactics is the influencer able to articulate our message via their own personal account with true integrity? A media audit will highlight any red flags surrounding controversial activity that they’ve been part of and you can decide whether it’s worth pursuing the relationship or not.
Beyond these somewhat subjective criteria we also have the ability to pair our qualitative data with numbers. An audit of not only the influencers suitability, but the audience that follows them allows us to anchor our recommendations in undisputable fact. Let’s take Tash Oakley for example, a target who due to her profile and category may likely have been an initial target for the #GirlsMakeYourMove campaign because of her affinity to health and fitness. Looking specifically at her Audience Insights via Facebook we can see the following regarding her follower’s demographics:
Note the location of her followership and how only up to 2,500 are based in Australia out of an audience pool of 70,000. Looking at the relevance of her audience size in Australia alone, her influence would make a smaller perceived impact in driving an uplift in brand awareness for a national campaign in Australia if we were exploring a Facebook first strategy. Such examples of auditing talent is the optimal way to look at how we select influencers.
The government ban is a prime example of the need to have further regulation in the evolving influencer industry and the importance of true advocacy when it comes to the traits of the people you’re collaborating with. The perception of leveraging real people can come at a risk if the process isn’t right, but the impact that influencers harness when it comes to driving consumers to act can attain unlimited potential.
Magnetic is a 6-step model that provides an end-to-end solution for all elements of influencer marketing. You can find out more about this service here.
By Magnum & Co’s Head of Influencer Marketing, Simone Bevan.