Last month, an article was published on AdWeek about the worth of influencers’ social posts. It focused largely on female celebrities, mentioning that the top six influencers currently are Selena Gomez, Rihanna, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, and Kendall and Kylie Jenner. These six women were deemed the top influencers by D’Marie Analytics, a social measurement company, which also found Gomez to be the most influential, with individual social posts worth up to $550,000 each. That’s right. One 140-character tweet or one Instagram selfie from Gomez could cost a brand a whopping $550,000.
Where did the $550,000 figure come from? Frank Spadafora, CEO of D’Marie Analytics describes the methodology: “This valuation is based on D’Marie’s algorithm which measures 56 metrics including followers, post frequency, engagement, quality of post, click-thru and potential to create sales conversions from her social content.”
Applying 56 metrics to the figure seems like sound reasoning. That’s a lot of data! But is it the right data?
We’re curious how much weight was placed on follower count. If it’s heavily weighted, then it makes sense that the six celebs would be considered top influencers. After all, someone with an extremely high follower count definitely has the reach to claim influence. However, a high follower count does not necessarily mean more engagement or more click thrus. In fact, the more trust and authenticity that is shown to an audience, the more potential there is for sales conversion. It could be argued that big name celebrities, whom regular people don’t always view with trust and authenticity, don’t necessarily increase the likelihood of sales conversions.
And are celebrity followers qualified leads? A 25-year-old fan of Selena Gomez is a very different potential sale than a 55-year-old married male. They shouldn’t hold the same weight as a potential buyer, so it seems like potential to create sales becomes a murky metric.
Defining the Value of An Influencer
In our platform, the top default influencers are the same celebrities that D’Marie Analytics found to be the most influential – big name actors, famous singers and reality celebrities with massive amounts of followers. However, we rarely consider those people the most influential for a client’s brand. Instead, we dive into keyword searches and segmented audiences to more narrowly define the brand influencers.
When defining influencers, reach is only one way of applying value to them. Relevance is another factor. Is the influencer discussing topics that pertain to your brand? You want influencers who already have authentic influence in a specific field. A security admin is going to be much more relevant than Selena Gomez for a cybersecurity company. Resonance is another factor to determining influencer value. How much of what the influencer is posting is resonating with his or her followers? Relevance and resonance are closely tied together, both more qualitative metrics than follower count, and they usually matter even more than reach when determining the value of an influencer.
Who is Uniquely Influential to Your Brand?
It’s inarguable that the six women mentioned in AdWeek have influence, but are they the most influential? It’s quite a stretch to apply that blanket statement across all brands. For a large consumer company with broad targeting and loads of Marketing money, like Pepsi or Target, Gomez and Beyonce may deliver some value. But what about specialized brands targeting more specific demographics? Or smaller brands with little marketing budget? Or regional brands? In those cases, celebrities with large follower counts are not the most influential.
Many brands, even large, global brands, are discovering that micro and mid-level influencers deliver as much if not more value than the celebrity macro-influencer. Many consumers’ buying habits are driven more by ‘real’ people- those micro and mid-level influencers- than celebrities who lead very different lives. The average person wants to hear recommendations and discover new products from people who they can relate to on a more personal level.
Take Nikon’s recent campaign featuring Kordale and Kaleb Lewis, for example. Instead of choosing a Kardashian or Beyonce or Bieber, the camera company decided to work with two dads who received increased online exposure after posting a photo to Instagram showing them combing their daughters’ hair and getting ready for their days. Utilizing these dads as influencers offered Nikon the ability for real people to talk about capturing moments from their family’s life on camera, much more powerful and relatable than a celeb influencer.
Another example of a brand succeeding through working with micro influencers is Christian Paul Watches. Rather than working with big name, global celebrities like other watch companies have done, such as Citizen with Eli Manning, Tag Heuer with Tom Brady, and Breitling with David Beckham and John Travolta, Christian Paul chose to collaborate with a mix of mid-level and micro Instagrammers. This approach enabled the brand to increase awareness and engagement with a number of diverse demographic groups online.
Find the Right Influencers for Effective Influencer Marketing
To discover the influencers who are ‘most influential’ to your brand, assess not only follower counts, but also the content coming from those influencers, the types of audiences they have, and how the audiences respond to the influencer content. You will find that some of the most influential people for your brand likely won’t be celebrities, but people you may not have ever heard of. Yet, those mid-level and micro influencers will be able to help your brand most effectively boost awareness, engagement, or sales. Through an effective influencer program, some of the authenticity and trust they’ve created with their followers can be transferred to your brand.