The social media influencer is evolving. But how useful are they as a marketing channel? A recent survey has ideas.
Social media influencers are evolving and so are their attitudes. New research* commissioned by PR Week this month points to a sector that is becoming more professional. But at the same time, influencers are eager to maintain authenticity and not alienate their audiences with inappropriate or blatant sponsorship.
The findings show bloggers are increasingly aware of their influence. They say they should be paid for it when brands use them as a marketing channel. They are also aware of the potential problems this may cause. 87% said that sponsorship disclosure is important for every brand collaboration. The survey found that bloggers find the whole issue of payment is their biggest challenge. About 12% say that their influencer activities are their biggest source of income. Far more, 34%, call it a hobby and a large number fall in between.
When it comes to platforms, the big players remain most popular. 94% use Twitter, 89% use Facebook, 79% use Instagram. But a new app, Bloglovin’ has shot up the league table in the last year – now used by 50% of top influencers, more than YouTube. The app is designed for people to publish and promote blogs.
For many influencers what they do is a very personal representation of who they are. They put their reputation on the line when they recommend brands. Many said they are looking for long-term partnerships that are relevant to them and their followers. They told the survey they still feel like the “poor relation” of traditional journalists but they expect things to change.
What does the influencer write about?
Most are lifestyle, eg Joe Wicks, Em Sheldon. Fashion and beauty feature highly eg Hayley Carr, Lisa Eldridge, Craig Landale. Parenting is the new growth area eg Jo Middleton.
*Nearly 600 influencers were interviewed