The famous summer of love came to an end last month, with 3.6 million of us tuning in to watch two contestants walk away with £50,000. Love it or hate it, the ITV2 show has had a powerful effect over the last two months, not only on audiences, but on brands too. Now, they are rushing to recruit these new stars into their influencer marketing strategies.
Sponsorship deals on the show this year were rife, with Missguided being the ultimate winner. The fashion brand’s sponsorship of the show sent searches soaring during air time, with some items of clothing being searched for thousands of times for several days after being shown on the program.
Thanks to this success, ’Love Island Fever’ has well and truly gripped the attention of brands across the world. Many contestants secured promotional deals for teeth whitening, ’skinny teas’ and club appearances, even before their time in the villa was up. Some of the most followed contestants are rumoured to be already earning well over £7,000 per Instagram post.
They are temporarily hot property and, in a bid to catch some of the heat, brands may feel obliged to jump on the bandwagon, engaging with the latest contestants for an obscene cost. Yet, this strategy is far from a one way ticket to a successful influencer marketing campaign.
Resisting Love Island Fever
Some of the Love Island ‘class of 2018’ now have Instagram followings of over 2.5 million, understandably an attractive proposition for brands. However a successful influencer campaign - one that drives action and return on marketer’s investment - relies on engagement, not reach. After all, the amount of eyes on a post are irrelevant if they don’t trust in the recommendation.
A survey by Edelman found that 49% of internet users worldwide said they trusted information from online personalities with a small following, while only 36% said the same of well-known online personalities. Celebrities, meanwhile, were the least trusted source of information, cited by 27%.
Contestant’s sudden notoriety does not equate to the level of authenticity and credibility that smaller micro-influencers have created over the years. While Love Island sponsored posts will be all over Instagram, as contestants rush to cash in, research suggests savvy audiences can recognise a brand partnership taken in haste. In this case, against the clock counting down their fifteen minutes of fame.
In contrast, influencers who have spent years building their following are less likely to agree to any opportunity that comes their way. They take the protection of their personal brand seriously, only partnering with brands that fit. On an upward trajectory, they also have the benefit of confidence that another opportunity will come back around. Partnerships as a result are more authentic and trusted by audiences. Love Island contestants meanwhile will be only too aware that their influence will wane as they leave the villa and prime time TV spot behind.
Smaller audiences should not be overlooked. Micro-influencers give brands access to followings with specialised interests so placements can result in much higher engagement. Brands should be carefully considering ambassadors based on the relevance the creator has for their audience, and not just their number of followers.
Prioritise authenticity and creativity
Another aspect brands ought to consider is the creativity of these posts. According to findings by Bazaarvoice, the repetitive nature of content and declining quality are now top customer concerns around influencer marketing. Love Island contestants are not expert content creators. Brands, aware of this fact, will often give very prescriptive briefs which result in a news feed full of near identical sponsored posts, each as unimaginative as the next.
This is another area where influencers have the edge. The quality of their content is what they are known for. Their dedicated followings are validation that it is engaging and popular, so when brands deliver a brief, they’re able to leave it open to their interpretation. Allowing the influencer to translate it into their own voice not only helps the post feel more authentic, but the result is often more exciting and creative than the brand could have imagined.
Brands hoping to engage with influencer audiences should look for longer term and more authentic solutions, rather than give in to the Love Island hype. Not only will budget go further - for the same price a celebrity post, you may be able to engage many micro-influencers across a longer stretch of time, resulting in a more sustained campaign - but the content will be of a higher quality, more creative and authentic. All things we know social media audiences demand in 2018.