We live in a world that is connected by digital systems and devices – from social media to increased smart phone use. The space has changed significantly over the last 15 years and brands have adapted to changing consumer needs. The way brands communicate with existing and potential customers has also shifted.

There have been various reports that have referenced the amount of time individuals spend on their phones on a daily basis, globally it averages out between 2 to 3 hours a day. If you find these stats hard to comprehend, just turn on the screen time monitor on your iPhone and you will be surprised just how quickly the time racks up while you are scrolling through your favourite app (check out the Buffer state of social media report for more references). The bottom of the line is that we are more connected than ever before, therefore you wouldn’t be wrong to assume that social media influencers could play a big role in your brand strategy. However, we need to unpack this further to understand the value of an influencer better.

How do you define an influencer? Broadly speaking an influencer is a person with the ability to influence consumers of a product/service/offer by promoting or recommending the items on their social media handles. It is key to understand what you are partnering with an influencer to achieve and if they are the best way to help you achieve your objectives. Through using an influencer, you are utilising them to reach their audience on social media.

Another question to ask, is how do you track the success an influencer has for or on a brand? There are multiple influencer platforms on the world wide web. The trick is to find one that allows you to track the elements that you need to, this will be gauged by what you are aiming to achieve through partnering with an influencer. If are looking to sell a product/service/offer, you could track this through an affiliate tracker. Being clear on how you will monitor the success of the partnership can guide the type of influencer you select.

Declining engagement rates is also a point that marketers need to keep on their radar. Don’t get dragged into thinking that this means that partnerships with an influencer is something that you should no longer consider, you need to look a bit deep to understand the changing engagement rates on social media. The algorithms (rules created to determine what appears on your newsfeed first) used by the social media platforms are updated regularly and because they own the users of the platform (the influencer themselves does not own their following) they can make you pay to reach more people in your target audience. Clever influencers will have adapted and will stay up to date with these changes.

So, the big question… as a marketer should you be more concerned about quantity or quality? The quality of the influencer’s followers is key to the success of the partnership. We need to ask more questions of who, what, and why to plan for beneficial partnerships with influencers.

There are also regulatory elements that brands should be aware of before they engage with potential influencers, this article details them well. I won’t go into detail, but thought that it was relevant to highlight that brands need to fully understand this space before just diving in because the use of influencers has become popular.

Considering everything discussed above, I do believe that the right influencer can have a significant positive effect for a brand. So, just as I strongly emphasise the importance of a brand using data to understand the audience that they are communicating to, you shouldn’t just select an influencer based on the number of social media followers that they have. This a view that Carel and I share, so test it we rejuvenated his profile on the webfluential platform, check it out here.

If you would like to chat more about these views on social media influencers and how to build value for your brand, feel free to drop me an email joshua@cnandco.com.

For more CN&CO stories to help you grow your business & lead your best life, follow us on @cnandco