4 Dos and Don’ts in Influencer Marketing

Alex Sword


The Financial Services Forum

Today’s Forum event brought together a panel of experts on influencers to answer the question – is influencer marketing a fad or a fundamental part of the marketing mix? The answer was a resounding endorsement of influencer marketing, but how can brands get it right? Here are some takeaways from the discussion.


DO…allow influencers to express themselves in the campaign

Mark Smith, Head of Media Relations at the Pensions & Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), shared some results from the recent “Pay Your Pension Some Attention” campaign with grime artist Big Zuu.

Mark explained that the clip, where Big Zuu raps about spending more time thinking about pensions, was not about telling people to put more into their pensions but simply to think about the basics.

The PLSA gave Big Zuu broad creative control over the project, with the artist apparently writing and recording the track in a single night.

As Mark commented, a group of industry professionals would never have thought of lines referencing being in detention at school.

“Consumers are cynical and can smell when a brand directs it from the top,” Mark said. “It had to be authentic.”

The clip has now reached 5 million people across all channels, with 19% of surveyed people showing awareness of the campaign and of those 91% taking some action.


DON’T…work with someone with a big following just for the sake of it

Iona Bain, personal finance and founder of the Young Money blog, is an influencer in her own right. She notes that some companies see influencer marketing as a “silver bullet”, but results can often be disappointing.

She used the example of one investing app which worked with a pop artist with millions of followers (16.1 million on Instagram). Despite being seen by millions of people, the partnership attracted only seven people to actually click the link.

She adds that this is a particular minefield during more challenging economic times. In her own capacity as an influencer, Iona notes that she will often turn down work which is just asking her to endorse a product, as this can muddy the waters in terms of her journalism.


DO…find people with dedicated followings

However, Iona suggests that “micro influencers” with smaller but more dedicated followings can offer a better road to success.

She also adds that companies should look for influencers with particular expertise in a sector, citing Martin Lewis as somebody who has built a true reputation for knowing about finance – unlike Rita Ora.

For example, Iona herself recently appeared in a video with footballer Adebayo Akinfenwa for Experian which encouraged young people to get “financially fit”. This was a good example of these principles, combining a footballer with broad reach and a reputation for talking about finance with a journalist with both expertise and credibility in the sector.


DO…look at employers as potential influencers

Zoe Miranda, Head of Social at Teamspirit, encouraged brands to think more broadly about their definition of influencer.

The term tends to conjure up images of Love Island, but as Zoe pointed out, the concept of influencing people to do things has existed for all of history.

She brought up employees as one often overlooked influencer group which can deliver authentic and effective results.

“[You can] supercharge and inspire the workforce to talk about your expertise.”

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