Influencer marketing has been growing in, well, influence, over the last couple of years. No longer are we satisfied with traditional advertising techniques, and no longer are they having the desired impact we marketers want. Our audience would much rather hear from ‘people like me’ – those online companions to whom they are so loyal. Recently, these influencers have been popping up on our TV screens, starring in acting roles that were once reserved for plain old actors. So, who are these influencers, how do they work, and how can you use them to benefit your production?
Oxford Dictionary defines an influencer as, ‘a person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media.’ They are often found on more specialised platforms such as YouTube and Instagram as a lot of their content is focused on aesthetics. Some of the very best UK influencers – such as Zoella and Marzia Bisognin – have between 5 – 11 million followers on Instagram alone.
So, it’s no surprise that TV producers have started using this to their advantage. With built-in audiences and promotional opportunities from the influencers themselves, it creates a buzz that recent traditional marketing has lost.
The typical demographic of influencers tends to be around 18-25 years of age, so this is an ideal way for you to engage this audience, especially if your show isn’t directed at this age group. Having an influencer on side helps you hype up events for your production such as premieres and screenings, encourages fans to engage during TX, and gives you a good platform for creating BTS and EPK content.
Now, these influencers didn’t become famous because of their top notch acting abilities, so you do need to be aware of this when hiring them to star in your production. One of the ways producers have worked around this is giving them a voice role in an animated series or film. A minor voice part still gives them a reason to shout about it on their Social Media platforms and will encourage their fans to watch simply for their small feature.
It’s important we look at Social Media trends however, as although influencers have had a strong support system up until now, recent Social Media surveys suggest that consumers are becoming more and more sceptical of celebrity and mega-influencers – paid advertising is becoming blatantly obvious and genuine reviews are proving hard to come by online. If you’re wanting to use influencers in your production, be transparent about your partnership. Make the most of the Instagram ‘branded content’ option which will allow your collaborators to disclose your partnership in a discreet and professional way.
In summary we believe using influencers in your production is a great way to unlock that younger, harder to reach audience and is a definitely something worth looking into. Especially if you’re an indie looking at producing your first series, having an influencer with a large following on side will boost your online presence dramatically. But, be prepared to have both macro and micro-influencer strategies – peer review is proving to have just as much strength as that of influencers. Encourage employee advocacy as well as collaborating with outside support.