Under the influence: Harnessing the power of bloggers
18 January 2017 - Emillie Hawes
2016 saw a rise in many of us turning to our laptops, tablets and phones to access the likes of YouTube and watch what our favourite vloggers are up to. According to YouTube, overall, and even on mobile alone, the channel reaches 'more 18–34 and 18–49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.' So as the trend of turning to these virtual stars grows, we look at the importance of these figureheads in a business context.
There has been a clear shift in how certain generations seek out information from their peers. This is exactly why YouTube is the second biggest search engine. Whether it’s make-up tutorials, reviews of the best city breaks in Europe, the latest beauty product to get your hands on, or if you’re simply seeking advice on personal matters, you can guarantee that a blogger or vlogger somewhere in the digital sphere is talking about it.
As a result, brands have started to understand the benefits of these ‘public figures’ in the digital realm. Brands have begun utilising the platforms these figures exist on to enhance their own digital experiences, as well as to increase the pace at which they can reach an audience at scale. There are many ways that this can help a business to reach new heights and audiences, and to really make use of what influencers can do for them in the long run.
Things to consider when working with influencers...
Is the blogger on-brand?
Before you delve into the world of influencers, make sure you’re headed in the right direction for your brand, and try to aim high. It’s quite common to find that beauty and fashion bloggers have the biggest influence on their audiences, which means they can also be the most in demand when trying to get them to speak about your products to their audiences. Always ensure that you’re targeting bloggers and vloggers who align with brands similar to your brand, and that their beliefs tie in with your brand’s ethos – otherwise you may be left disappointed after many attempts of failed contact.
Discovering new audiences
From the moment you collaborate with a blogger or vlogger, everything you are as a brand is revealed to a new wave of audiences that may have never seen or heard of you before – and first impressions are very important. It’s best to excite and entice this new audience, and give them a real reason to investigate your brand further. You could potentially be gaining a lot of new traffic to your website from this, so it’s crucial to play your trump card at this point.
This is especially relevant to the beauty industry, as beauty buffs are always eager to know about the latest tips, tricks and products that are being released into the market. The lure of the exclusive details of a new product could lead to a collaboration with a high-end blogger, as well as bring in a large audience who also want the exclusive scoop.
Tried and tested
For an audience that is seeking honest, personal experiences of, for example, upmarket products being used, the natural place to turn to is YouTube. This platform is especially good for finding beauty tips and information; many beauty bloggers have naturally evolved to using video as it’s easier to show products being used. This creates a really good, accessible way of gaining information about expensive products that you may want a second opinion on before you break the bank. With well-known beauty bloggers such as Pixiwoo, Zoella, Tanya Burr, etc. often getting first dibs on great products, their loyal audience often ends up buying the products that they use. This is why these particular figureheads are being contacted to review them in the first place.
In September, L'Oreal Paris announced their new 'Beauty Squad' comprised of 5 of the UKs most influential fashion and beauty YouTubers. Whilst L’Oreal Paris clearly want to build their own channels, their main focus has been on leveraging the blogger's individual audiences on YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and their websites.
James Ainsworth, Head of Content at The Real Adventure Unlimited, shares his thoughts on the tipping point of influencer marketing:
'This year it will be interesting to see how much bigger the influencer bubble gets, or if market saturation sees that bubble burst. If everybody used to have a book in them, everybody certainly has a blog or two that they could at least get off the ground. The trick is to sustain it and tread that fine line of building genuine audience engagement, relevancy and bang-on content without sacrificing content integrity when brands come a-callin’. If every successful blog becomes a vehicle for ‘advertising’, then audience fatigue, consumer cynicism and a lack of regulation will see that its downfall is as quick as its ascent.'
As the length of time that we spend on our mobile devices rapidly increases and the need for discovery online advances, will blogger/vlogger partnerships be the place you turn to for widening your digital scope?