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What we learnt at... Bad Influence: The Influencer Marketing Event

Danielle Harrod, Senior PR Executive

The author

Danielle Harrod

Senior PR Executive

Sam Preece, PR & Earned Media Junior Account Executive

The author

Sam Preece

PR & Earned Media Junior Account Executive

In the early hours of Friday 7th March, we headed down to London to attend Hachi Digital’s Bad Influence. With an exciting panel of speakers, we were eager to learn from industry experts, as well as influencers themselves, about how the influencer world has and will continue to evolve.

First up on the stage, a group of influencer agency founders and Benefit’s very own Head of Influencer Marketing discuss new trends, how the industry has changed since it’s birth and the difficulties they face.

For the second round, influencers themselves share their experiences and break down exactly what they need from PR’s and agencies when it comes to working together.  

We left feeling excited about the way we can work with influencers in the future while reflecting how our strategies need to adapt to suit these industry changes.

Love them or hate them - regulations are here to stay

The question on everyone’s lips at the event was “are new regulations a help or a hindrance to our overall objective?” According to the panels, the answer in short is, they are a good thing. Panellist Mark Dandy, co-founder of Bee Influence, mentioned that only a third of influencers are thought to be aware of the regulations. However, the influencers in attendance, Zac (The Zac and Jay show), Sabrina Stocker (The Apprentice), Shalisha Kay (model and fashion blogger) and Miriam Roman (travel content creator), think that the regulations are highly welcome among the influencer community.

They feel as though these changes increase the transparency between themselves and their audience. They are also hoping that it will mean their consumers feel less social pressure to splash out on expensive products because they can see that these items have been gifted.

However, for those agency/brand side, the latest regulations insisting influencers label their posts as #AD or #Gifted create frustration that the same pressure isn’t placed on other media outlets such as magazines, films and news sites using product placement to promote brands. They gave the example of a  travel journalist receiving a free trip, should they not declare this in their review? According to the regulations, no, but an influencer must.

The future of influencer strategy will continue to evolve

Macro influencers are a thing of the past as agencies start working more and more with micro and nano influencers. Nano influencers, described as the average person with around 1,000 followers, are set to be the next big thing in terms of the talent brands should be working with. These smaller influencers are considered more approachable, much more authentic and quite frankly, cheaper. Macro influencers are starting to charge higher rates and have representation that agencies prefer to bypass.

The biggest change raised by the agency/brand panel is that while influencer work has been considered mainly organic activity, it won’t be long until it becomes strictly a paid space, meaning posts will need to be boosted as the norm. While this might seem scary, there’s no need to panic. This shift allows us to target who we are reaching within the influencer’s audience. For example, if your brand has purely a UK audience, you’ll be able to target this audience specifically, cutting out those not relevant. It will also be easier for you to measure conversion rates, and therefore prove ROI to clients. Finally.

Instagram vs. reality: Less perfect lifestyle, more reality please

Both panels were keen to get across that 2019 is the beginning of the reality trend in influencer content. Brands want a much more authentic content experience for the consumers they are trying to reach, and influencers are beginning to see the benefit of sharing relatable content when it comes to retaining an engaged audience.

Additionally, many on the panel expressed the desire to use their platforms for good, and therefore are looking for brands to come to them with fresh ideas to help them achieve this. It was great to see influencers so aware of the impact they have on their audience and the change they can bring.

At Jaywing PR, we always look for ways influencer marketing can strengthen our client’s campaigns and overall marketing objectives. To find out more about how we can help with your influencer strategy, get in touch – we’d love to help.