Influencers in Instagram: not how many, but wherefrom

It is beyond argument that the future of marketing and PR is in social media: 88% of young guys aged 13 to 16 surf the Internet on a daily basis using smartphones, and 70% of them spend most of their time in social networks. In addition, more than half of young people (57%) spend on the Internet at least 3 hours a day [1]! It was expected that by the end of 2017, 75% of industry professionals would use influencers in their campaigns [2], and in 2018 another 39% should increase the budgets for this communication channel [3]. Let us wait for actual data, whether these predictions were true, but we already have to admit that the "word-of-mouth" which in its modern version is called influencer marketing, is here for the long haul. Since the dawn of time, the "word-of-mouth" was able to move mountains, or, at least, cities. For example, in 1635 Holland was engulfed by tulip fever: everyone considered it their duty to possess tulips, which, due to the excitement among the "opinion leaders", became a symbol of high status, wealth and power. Profiteering based on rumours has led to the fact that bulbs of tulips were sold for the record $40,000 in modern equivalent. However, already in 1637 public opinion sharply became negative and the price of tulips fell by 20 times, plunging the country into a deep financial crisis. As a result, Holland has for decades been experiencing difficulties in paying for the services of soldiers defending its interests in the colonies, which eventually led to the loss of New Amsterdam, a beautiful city on the east coast of America, which we now call New York [4]. One can’t help but admire with an incredible effect that opinion leaders can make. This communication channel has not lost its relevance over the years - quite the opposite, especially nowadays, when Facebook cracks down, forcing brands to pay for advertising to reach their audience, and the coveted audience hides the advertisements, marking them as irrelevant; when people are attacked by advertising, being subject to an average of 10,000 promotional messages per day [5]. However, working with influencers is like to aim at the eye of an animal, so as not to spoil its skin while being blindfolded: the goal is ambitious, but incompatible in life. The major difficulty is to choose the "right weapon", that is, the right leader of opinion. The key mistake is to limit to two factors of selection: the maximum number of followers in Instagram and geolocation. Why does it refer to Instagram? Because it is used daily by 54% of young people aged 9 to 16 years, and, for example, Facebook – by 24% [6]. For instance, if we are guided by these two factors, it turns out that three Latvians have the greatest number of followers in Instagram: 1. Kristaps Porzingis – 1.6 million followers 2. Stas Davydov – 444 thousands followers 3. Nastya Swan – 337 thousands followers On the other hand, after analyzing their audience using the Livedune.ru service, it turns out that Kristaps has 12% of the audience in Latvia, while Nastya and Stas have only 2% each. Thus, if our target audience is Latvians, then 1.6 million followers turn into 192,000, 444,000 followers - into 8900, and 337,000 followers - into 6740. To be fair, it should be said that Kristaps in any case maintains leadership positions, still being a Latvian with the largest number of Instagram followers in Latvia, while Stas is on the 96th place in the top of the most popular persons among Latvians, and Nastya is just the 121st. Of course, there are many other factors that need to be considered when planning a campaign involving influencers, such as:
  • The subject matter close to the influencer chosen - even the most popular person may not be the leader of opinion on a particular issue. As ambassadors of the brand, it is better to choose professionals in the chosen industry, for example, popular make-up artists to promote cosmetics.
  • Influencer’s audience demographics
  • Engagement rate
  • Number of bots and mass followers among the influencer’s subscribers
The work with influencers, as history shows, has a huge potential. For example, since 2001, Procter & Gamble have been actively using product seeding among teenagers' opinion leaders. The sales results were so good that the current opinion leader base of Procter & Gamble in the US consists of 250,000 teenagers. Moreover, in 2005 the company also organized a mommy division called "Tremor Moms", which consists of 500,000 people. According to the company, despite the fact that neither Facebook nor Instagram were presented at that time, the product seeding increased profits by 30% [7]. You have a little left to do. Just work correctly with this channel, which, undoubtedly, has enormous potential. [1] Ločmele, K. (2018). Bērnu un pusaudžu (9-16 gadi) medijpratības pētījuma rezultāti. [2] Stoeckle, T (2017). The Difference Between Earned Influence and Paid Promotion http://www.instituteforpr.org/difference-earned-influence-paid-promotion/ [3] Comcowich, W. (2017). Survey: How to measure influencer marketing’s value in 2018 https://www.ragan.com/Main/Articles/b8c531a8-5913-438a-8c49-d3d5031b2e47.aspx [4] Dash, M. (1999) Tulipomania: the story of the world’s most coveted flower and the extraordinary passions it aroused. New York, NY: Crown Publishers. [5] Saxon, J. (2017) Why Your Customers’ Attention is the Scarcest Resource in 2017. https://www.ama.org/partners/content/Pages/why-customers-attention-scarcest-resources-2017.aspx [6] Ločmele, K. (2018). Bērnu un pusaudžu (9-16 gadi) medijpratības pētījuma rezultāti. [7] Wells, M. (2004) Kid Nabbing. https://www.forbes.com/forbes/2004/0202/084.html#7d89d6eb492a
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