The use of influencers for product promotion and marketing has become huge in the last few years. Companies have now realised the power of the influencer and the effect they have on sales and bookings. The travel and tourism sector has also begun to work with influencers as an innovative approach to marketing. But what are ‘influencers’ and how can they help with destination promotion?
What are influencers?
Influencers, otherwise known as Content Creators, creatives or KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders), are typically defined as someone responsible for the contribution and creation of information to traditional and digital media. They usually have one interest that they will then create content about, to be viewed by the general public.
Influencers come in many forms, typically Bloggers, Vloggers and writers. The majority will use multiple social media platforms and websites (Blogs), to promote their content and engage with their audience (followers). Their content can range from written articles, images, videos and social media posts. Influencers typically have a larger following than the average person. Their audience will usually have similar interests and will look to them for tips and advice while engaging with their content.
Why should I work with Influencers?
Social media has a big impact on how people travel. Because of content people have seen on social media, they have either made bookings or even cancelled and changed their holiday plans. Influencers are a huge part of social media and what leads these decisions.
Influencers also provide valuable content (photos, videos and articles) that you can also use for your own promotion. They also offer great PR, have a wide reach across multiple active audiences and are considered a trusted source of information. BlogHer did an extensive study and found that 81% of the online population trusts advice they get from bloggers. That same study showed that 61% of consumers have also made a purchase based on a recommendation from a blogger.
Should I only work with mega influencers with millions of followers?
Honestly, no. ‘Mega’ influencers have a greater reach but also come with a greater price tag. They can also be very particular about what brands they work with. However, if you have a big budget and want a large reach, then working with ‘mega’ influencers might be right for you. Otherwise, mid-level influencers offer great opportunities for promotion. The Real-Time Report found that mid-level influencers have a smaller but more loyal audience and drive 16 times more engagement than paid media and “mega influencers”. Making them a perfect choice if you want to save money and reach a more engaged audience.
How will they work with me / my company?
Usually, the company does most of the work in reaching out. It’s important to do your research, make sure you find an influencer that fits in with your brand’s values and whose content is similar to your sector. For example, if you are a luxury hotel, look for luxury travel bloggers.
Next, you will either contact them directly or go through an agency. You will then have to agree on terms. Make sure to be clear about your expectations but also be open to negotiation. You might want to see the content before it goes live, to make sure it is in line with your branding. You will also need to provide the influencer with any hashtags and handles to use. It is always worth keeping track of the results, to see if you should work with the influencer again.
If you are working with an oversees influencer, it may be worth using a 3rd party to help with contact and negotiations. Language barriers and cultural differences can easily cause difficulties in the process. Has To Be China specialises in linking Chinese destination brands with influencers and vice versa. If you are interested in working with a UK or China-based influencer, please contact us here.