As part of Nine’s series of panels regarding all things content and data, the Big Ideas Store, Powered Studios GM Anna Quinn was joined by creator and business owner Roxy Jacenko to discuss how creators and influencers are involved in modern day business and how critical they are to the process.
The two were also joined on the panel by Sharyn Smith, the founder of Social Soup and chair of AIMCO, and Jessica Parry, the head of branded content at Nine.
Right off the bat, the aim of the session was angled towards identifying how influencers relate to brands, and how a sophisticated brand can use influencers to their advantage. It has become clear that social media users now use influencers as a recommendation for shopping and purchases, and that should play into how brands interact with influencers as a potential source of sales.
Shopping isn’t the only thing the public gets tips on from their influencers, however. Smith cracked out the statistic that one in three 18-21 year olds follows a ‘finluencer’ – an influencer whose focus is in finance – for tips and tricks in the industry. “There’s obviously a big impact out there, and we want to keep financial markets safe,” she said.
This idea is a key turning point at present – influencers need to be kept accountable for their actions, in the same way that any market is regulated. This idea is incredibly important to consumers, who rate credibility and accountability highly amongst the influencers and creators that they follow. A smaller following can be more important than a larger one if the content is relatable and honest.
The discussion also turned to quality of content, and how a brand can use it as a benchmark for which influencers to work with. As a general rule, the panelists agreed that it is in the best interests of companies to prioritise influencers who post high-quality content but on an infrequent schedule than those who make lower quality posts but churn them out constantly. Consumers are more interested in ‘hyper-organic’ content – real women with no makeup, mums juggling multiple babies, people delving into serious difficulties they’ve faced – than more magazine style content that comes out at a massive pace and isn’t vetted nearly as thoroughly.
Finally, an important point was made that different platforms breed different cultures and audiences. People who follow influencers on TikTok tend to be more interested in quick snappy pieces of information, while those who are still using YouTube are more fascinated with in-depth studies and broader fields of view. That said, there is definitely still room for everyone in the influencer market – “I think that’s the great thing about the influencer space, there genuinely is room for everyone and an audience for everyone,” added Quinn.
So, if you’re someone looking to grow an audience as an influencer or a brand looking to reach out, what are the key takeaways? No longer do we live in a world where a million followers guarantees success, and you can’t buy your way into this market anymore. From both a brand and consumer perspective, the greatest factors that decide which influencers are best are credibility, realism and quality, and it’s better to be someone working with a niche audience than having twenty unrelated brand deals a week.
And with that, I’m off to start my life as an Australian breakfast cereal reviewer on Instagram. I’ll let you guys know when I make my first million.
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