These days, you can’t swing a quick scroll through Insty without bumping into an influencer who has more power to sell you a shirt than any advertiser ever could. Our social feeds are littered with carefully curated content that perfectly captures our wants and needs and, if our increasing time on social media is anything to go by, we can’t get enough.
The power of these content creators is undeniable: the influence of that food blogger? They’ve got you making quinoa salads. The power of that witty, ahead-of-the-curve, tech writer? They’ve got you lusting after that shiny, new piece of tech you’ve been dying to get your hands on.
That’s the power of influencers and that’s the power of online influence – something Lorraine Murphy, founder of The Remarkables Group, Australia’s first dedicated talent agency for influencers and bloggers, knows a lot about.
“Influence is the ability of a person, brand or organisation to affect the behaviour of an individual,” Lorraine points out. “In the digital world, this influence is created via content created and distributed online.”
And if you’re wondering just how much influence we’re talking about when we use the word, ‘influencer’, the answer is: a lot.
“We know that after a car campaign we did that eight readers immediately purchased a $35,000 car. We know that one influencer generated $300,000 of online sales for a fashion brand,” Lorraine explains. “Campaigns like these deliver great value for the brand clearly, but also for the influencers as it allows them to make a living from doing what they love. The audiences also win as they get great, relevant content for them.”
It’s the perfect, mutually profitable relationship.
But, as Lorraine points out, this isn’t just a matter of jumping on any brand-wagon and taking your readers for a ride. Online – as in life – people are attracted to people and things that feel and represent something real, which is why authenticity is Lorraine’s number one rule for garnering influence.
“People are magnetically attracted to someone who knows who they are and what they stand for, and don’t try to be something they’re not,” Lorraine tells us. “It is absolutely vital to get the right fit between the influencer and the brand from day dot – if that fit isn’t there, then the campaign isn’t going anywhere. Both of these campaigns I mentioned were perfect fits for both the brand and the influencer, which sets them up for exponential success.”
And while numbers are important, they’re only one piece of the influence pie.
“Stats are a key factor of course – however, it’s not all about the size of the audience,” Lorraine explains. “At The Remarkables Group, we look at not just the numbers an influencer is attracting but also how engaged that audience is. Are they commenting, liking, sharing? Is there a lengthy dwell time on a site?”
So the next time you worry about how many people you have in your network, don’t. Worry about the quality of content you create and how often (not how many) people are connecting with it.
Getting influence is one thing but how do you make sure you keep it? Here are Lorraine’s top tips on creating (and keeping) influence:
Avoid off-brand partnerships and always be authentic
“Letting your audience down – whether that’s by working with a brand that isn’t a good fit for you, misleading them or failing to deliver on something you promised,” Lorraine reveals. “I see the relationship between an influencer and their audience like a bank account – influencers who invest in that relationship over time have more trust capital, which enables them to partner with relevant brands and still retain their audience’s support.”
Create content that you love… and like-minded people will soon follow
“Find something you love to create content around – there’s no point in starting an online space just because you’ve found a niche that no-one else is focusing on yet,” Lorraine explains. “Starting and building an online audience is not an overnight process and you’ll need to draw on the passion you have for your content area to sustain you over the months it takes to build your audience.
Make sure it works for you
“Also, decide on a content schedule that works for you and that you can realistically maintain – even when other areas of your life get busy and you don’t have as much time as you’d like to devote to your channel. Audiences will develop an expectation around how often they hear from you, and will fall into a weekly rhythm of engaging with you online.”
Lorraine will be chatting about influence at Taking It to the Next Level: Expert Advice for Digital Influencers (May 28) and What Is Influence? Meet The Power Players In Social Media (May 30) and as part of the Vivid Sydney’s Vivid Ideas program. To see more inspiring events from the Light, Music and Ideas (27 May-18 June) and purchase tickets, visit Vivid Sydney.