The way consumers interact with influencers is changing – but what does that mean for business?
Greater regulation of advertising transparency on social media has caused us to be more aware than ever that influencers are selling to us, and being paid to do it. Consumers are also being bombarded with #ad content on their social media feeds, leading many to feel a sense of influencer fatigue.
At the same time, we’re now seeing a rejection of the polished, ‘aspirational’ content that has ruled the roost on social sites. This taste for a dose of real real life is shown by the rise of the ‘midfluencer’, associated predominantly with older women who intersperse beauty and fashion content with conversations about issues such as mental health or self-esteem.
Then there’s the explosion of TikTok in the past few years. With an algorithm based on ‘interest and content’ rather than people, the platform has enabled users without large platforms or specialist equipment to rapidly gain popularity and followers.
Brands are getting in on the action as well, starting to shift influencer and marketing spend to so-called ‘microinfluencers’ – individuals with smaller, but often more engaged, audiences who trust their recommendations. The trade-off for marketing teams seeking a more authentic experience is putting in the legwork to identify these microinfluencers and get them acting as brand advocates.
Unboxing the future
B2B businesses can take a lot from these new influencer trends too, especially when it comes to connecting with potential employees. In a world where people are increasingly sceptical of overt corporate selling and advertising, messages which feel organic are likely to break through. The microinfluencers in this context are existing members of staff, who can help inject energy and passion into corporate channels – giving prospective employees a taste of life in the company or industry. This content can be highly targeted to get in front of the audience businesses want to reach.
The important thing for this to succeed is making sure the corporate stamp isn’t too strong on videos and posts. Employees within businesses should instead be empowered to have fun and be creative – for example with ‘in action’ shots or day in the life videos which help bring their jobs to life. Paid-for content with influencers shouldn’t sound too different from the way those influencers usually speak or write – or brands risk tipping consumer attitudes away from trust and back to fatigue.
The current challenges for businesses to attract people and skills require us to tackle things a bit differently. People are increasingly worried about who and what to trust. To make sure businesses can cut through the noise, they need to be prepared to take off the corporate veneer – engaging new talent by showing them reality.
Flo Holt is a senior account executive at Camargue