Media Redefined: How influential are you, really?
by Martin MacGregor (@MartMacG) A bit like the gold rush of digital media in the early days, brands are rushing in but not asking enough questions of influencers. It’s time for a more-measured approach.
In the not-so-distant past, almost every media presentation used to end with a slide headed “word of mouth”. It was a quaint notion that part of the reach and impact of a campaign would come from “obvious” but totally unmeasurable consumer conversations. Fast forward to 2019, and now there isn’t a meeting where the word “influencer” doesn’t come up.
The digital age has allowed easy to use influencer platforms, measurability and costing structures to be developed and, suddenly, buying a message delivered by a person is as easy as buying a spot on radio or a promoted post on Facebook. Everyone is now truly a medium.
Yet, media planning in essence comes down to two key criteria:
- Does the media selected reach its target market?
- Does the medium add to the message to create impact?
The way influencers can now be measured means that it is very easy to establish reach. From nano to macro influencers, the numbers of followers and, with the more-sophisticated platforms, who they are can be identified to quickly show the potential reach. More interesting is establishing the value of the currency of the influencer. For this, it makes no difference the size of the audience but how credibly the brand message sits with that particular influencer.
If Kim Kardashian tells her millions of followers to buy a retirement annuity, it’s unlikely there will be very much brand uptake. However, if a mom with 100 followers from your kids’ school recommends a kids’ hairdresser, you and your friends will certainly take note.
Authenticity & relevance
There are two things at play here.
- The one is authenticity. When the language used is clearly trying to sell without really believing, it’s obvious. So many influencers and brands get this wrong, underestimating that their consumers will only buy if they really believe in what they are being told.
- The second is relevance. Matching an influencer to a brand message that their followers are interested in might seem obvious but real influencing will only happen if this is the case.
Authenticity and relevance are a much-better measure of the impact an influencer can have in a campaign. It’s time influencers stopped boasting about follower count and focused on being truly influential.
Martin MacGregor (@MartMacG) is managing director of Connect, an M&C Saatchi Company, with offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Martin has spent 18 years in the industry, and has previously worked at Ogilvy and was MD of MEC Nota Bene in Cape Town. He contributes the monthly “Media Redefined” column, in which he challenges norms in the media space, to MarkLives.com.