In my neighborhood, every day of the week, at the same time, there is a young Latino who comes to practice his soccer moves on the forecourt of the church. I often stop to watch him, fascinated by his skill. The other day, I approach and ask him if he is part of a professional team. Without hesitation, he replied that it does not really interest him and that he prefers to continue to post his videos on YouTube and his photos on Instagram. I then told him that I would be interested in an interview with him to discuss his influence on social networks, and I ask him if he manages to live, how much he can do. He then raises his head and stops dribbling nervously with his ball, explaining that a clause in his contract forbids him to talk about his salary. Then he just gave me the name of his agency before leaving. As you can imagine, I never get back to him.
The new bubble of micro-influencers
Since 2015, influencer marketing has never stopped occupying the majority of social media forums, but all too often for the wrong reasons. Worried by marketers, who have been blinded by the popularity of new ¨stars¨ social networks, the term has lost its definition. The influence was quickly confused with popularity and publicity. It is at this point that influence has become a marketing tactic rather than a relationship of trust that needs to develop between a brand and consumers.
First, there were scandals of recommendations disguised as advertisements, then the factories of false subscribers and false news, which were exposed in the public square. Then, the Cambridge Analytica storm with Facebook, which completely undermined the trust of users. At the same time, surveys and scientific studies have followed one after the other, demonstrating, one after the other, that the popularity and popularity of the various social platforms are often biased, if not artificial and illusory. Markerly’s report revealed that micro-influencers with fewer than 1,000 subscribers generated a commitment rate of 8%, compared to 4% for accounts of 1,000 to 10,000 subscribers (niche influencers, and 2,4% subscribers). % for accounts of 10,000 to 100,000 subscribers (the new stars), to finally fall to 1.7% for accounts of more than 1 million subscribers (celebrities). sponsored.
As a result, brands and companies have begun to abandon the macro – influencers and stars of new platforms, and to turn more to micro – influencers and niche influencers, hoping to find new showcases for their products, while hoping to get around the new rules. As fast as it appeared, the phenomenon of micro-influencers turned out to be a new bubble. These new stars of social networks have seen an opportunity to take advantage of the manna. Influencer agencies and marketplaces have also appeared quickly, and it has become far – west again. Fortunately, the new rules introduced by the supervisory authorities are tightening the screw to the influence of the influencer, who are gradually losing the interest of the brands. Today, a micro – influencer who could charge $ 5,000 for a post on Instagram or Facebook at the start of the Eldorado, will often accept the $ 500 mandate.
More and more major brands seem to realize that they had once again embarked on a vicious circle and that they should instead put their efforts to regain consumer confidence. For users – consumers, the influence on social networks is directly related to the quality of the content broadcast. Today, connected consumers require a direct, honest and transparent relationship with brands. Also, when they pass the microphone to influencers, the quality of the relationship – customer must be at the heart of the message. The influence on social networks is not a question of popularity, but of trust, should we remember.
The four human dimensions of influence, according to Aristotle
The reach and amplification of an influencer’s network are just aspects of its impact, and to reach the full potential of influence, brands must be able to develop marketing strategies with them that will be focused on the context and needs of the organization. customer. They must work with influencers to regain the trust of connected consumers by restoring a fair and sustainable relationship.
In a video recently published on his website: Friday Feeling: Why Influencer Marketing Fails, According to Aristotle, Christopher S. Penn refers to the principle already enunciated by the Greek philosopher in 332 BC. J.C, explaining that influence rests on four inseparable fundamental aspects:
• Ethos (authority/credibility)
• Pathos (ability to arouse emotion)
• Logos (ability to rationalize)
• Kairos (context)
In his video, Christopher (Penn) argues, with good reason, that brands and companies make false roads by betting too much on the scope (ethos) and on the commitment raised (pathos), thus neglecting the logical flaps (logos). and contextual (kairos) which are crucial, however, with influence marketing. While the micro – influencers roam the same way, by not developing any real expertise (logos), and by contenting themselves with delivering the message of the brand, without really putting themselves in the context (kairos).
The influence on social networks ultimately rests on a symbiosis of these four components. Without real added value, which responds to the consumer context, the reach and social capital of influencers will have a short-lived and limited impact.
Only with quality, relevant and engaging content can influencers and brands meet the expectations of users-consumers. It’s a combination that too few companies manage to achieve with their influence marketing strategies because they still rely too much on visibility goals (read also: Confluence marketing in the consumer era actors)
What future does influence marketing offer us?
So what does the future of influence marketing mean for the next few years? This is the question I am asked most often. That’s why I chose to make it the main subject of my ¨keynote¨ presentation during the COM’en Or day, in Lille (France), last March.
I then went back to my predictions of 2017 on the 20 influence marketing trends to be monitored by 2020, grouping them into four major trends, including customer experience and convergence of content and marketing. of influence, so-called confluence marketing. Because, in my opinion, this is one of the major transformations that can be observed. Content and influence have become the Ying and Yang of digital marketing. The quality of the content, in response to the customer’s journey, becomes the brand’s new motus. Brands finally seem to realize that they must align with the customer relationship more than with their products or services.
Today, the content produced and disseminated by the new influencers of the exchange platforms generally manages to answer only one aspect of the customer’s needs (visibility). After the effect of ¨buzz¨ (still too often artificially created), the message falls into oblivion, and everything is to start again. In this sense, brands are increasingly tending to develop more long-term relationships with micro – influencers. Because, it is essential to find and identify the right kind of influencer that can truly align with the company’s vision, and convey the right message.
This is why several brands are tempted by the potential of artificial intelligence to develop virtual influencers that can meet their exact requirements, such as the models Shudu Gram (Fenty Beauty) and Miquela Sousa (Pravda) who are currently the ¨buzz ¨ on Instagram. However, these brands are exposed to serious legal problems if they violate the ethics of transparency, especially with the General Data Protection Registration (GDPR), which has been in force in more than 25 states of the European Union since May 25th. And, after the first day of application, Facebook and Google found themselves with 8.8 billion lawsuits on the back. The public relations managers and the management of the companies will from now on have to see it more closely and to intervene in all transparency.
In fact, it is not ultimately the new regulations that command it, but the consumers themselves, who have become the new influencers in the context of the new brand-customer relationship. At this level, the social and digital transformation of organizations must first take place from within, developing a corporate vision focused on the needs and expectations of the customer rather than on a sales and marketing approach. and services.
In this sense, relationships between influencers and brands must converge towards a common goal of reaching customers with the right message, at the right time, to meet their expectations. Together, they must complete the triangle of influence to reach the client and effectively answer his questions at each point of impact on his journey. The quality and relevance of the relationship that will develop then become as essential in the equation as the result itself. Without achieving this goal, the influencer-brand relationship can only have an ephemeral impact.
Over the next few years, new augmented and virtual reality technologies and rich content will place the user-consumer at the center of the experience, and the roles of influencers with brands and consumers will be redefined more equitably with transactional systems. chains of blocks. These are the big trends that are coming, and on which we will now have to focus for the next few years.