Instagram has become a new travel guide, and influencers have become your new trip advisors. Not only do they help you choose your next dream destination and discover hidden gems of the place you are visiting, but they also advise you on how to travel, where to stay and what you can afford while traveling. By the end of this year, influencer marketing statistics say that the value of the influencer marketing industry will reach $6 billion, while experts say it could reach $15 billion by 2022! More and more brands are using influencers to get closer to their customers and users and to ensure the authenticity of their marketing messages. Also, more than 90% of companies believe that influencers are a valid form of marketing, even more successful than other methods.
“Instagramability” of a moment
It’s not just brands that seek their inspiration on social networks. More and more modern travelers, especially younger ones, are considering the “instagramability” of a certain place – i.e., whether it is beautiful and compelling enough to post on Instagram – as they select their next destination. This is where influencers can make a big difference, given that social networks are their “workplace” where they offer their personal experience as an advertisement. What influencers sell is emotion, which is something that potential customers will identify with and wish for – whether it is an “instagrammable” moment, a place or an unforgettable experience.
Beware of the fakes
However, not every collaboration with influencers ends well. If a brand chooses the wrong influencer for their campaign, the result can do more harm than good, both for the campaign itself and for the brand’s overall reputation. Admittedly, finding the perfect influencer that will help your brand and niche and deliver results is not an easy job. Identifying, evaluating, and agreeing on a campaign can take weeks, if not months. And this is just one of the reasons why it should not be a one-time agreement, but a longer and deeper collaboration with selected influencers. Positive and long-lasting partnerships will help you reach your target audience, build trust and credibility, and reach a wider audience.
If a brand and an influencer are not on the same wavelength, and the influencer fails to meet expectations of the campaign, then these problems can serve as a valuable lesson.
However, what about fake influencers – the ones that are followed by mostly fake accounts and bots and have no real impact on your audience? Remember, it is so important to thoroughly research influencers before employing them.
If they have a large number of followers, but the interaction is low, or the quality of the interaction is poor. If the influencer does not have a constant influx of new followers, but it occurs rather occasionally, you are very likely dealing with a fake influencer who you should treat with caution.
Action and reaction – Elle Darby case
It would be best if you were cautious with influencers who contact you for collaboration without offering anything in return. Something similar happened when a British Instagram model Elle Darby reached White Moose Café in Dublin, asking for free accommodation while offering a free promotion on her social media accounts. She did not mention any of her previous collaborations and their results, and she acted quite unprofessionally, which gave an impression of a spoiled brat who thinks she can get free accommodation just by being an influencer. The case became widely known when the owner of the hotel posted an angry public response to the influencer. It was followed by a public response from the influencer herself and attacks by other influencers, and finally the owner’s decision to ban all bloggers and influencers from coming to his hotel. It turns out that influencer marketing for this hotel worked because they got a free promotion, but it is not something we would recommend.
How to achieve successful collaboration for mutual satisfaction
We spoke with the local lifestyle blogger and Instagram influencer Ljupka Tanevska, and she gave us some great tips on how to choose the right person to collaborate.
· When selecting an influencer to work with, always ask for analytics. You want to know the average age of their followers and where they are from. That will surely be of great help to you because you will get an insight into how popular the influencer is in his/her microenvironment.
Never choose more than one influencer from the same microenvironment. For example, Croatia is a small country, so they probably have the same followers, and you do not want your ad popping up everywhere because it could have the opposite effect on your potential customers/buyers.
· Never collaborate with influencers who often promote the same kind of accommodation or the ones who always have sponsored ads on their profiles because people do not trust those influencers.
· Strive to find an influencer whose style best suits/matches your accommodation. If you are trying to promote a luxury hotel, it is best to find an influencer who lives like that and has followers who would be interested in staying at your hotel.
· Tell the influencer what your goal is and let them come up with the right content. That is how you get better and more personal.