The Power of Influencer Marketing
The latest event in the Perspectives series – organised and hosted by Kaleidoscope and Hilary Berg Consulting – focused on the power of Influencer Marketing and how targeting people who influence can create not only a wider reach to customers, but also a more trusted, meaningful and effective connection to brands.
The discussion was led by Andy Thompson, Head of Social Communication at Iceland Foods, who delivered an engaging and insightful presentation about Iceland’s award-winning approach to social media and in particular influencer marketing, and how it has been instrumental in their journey to shift their brand perception and tone of voice, as well as driving increases in sales. He also touched on their wider approach to social engagement and how employees can be a valuable, and often untapped, resource for increasing social advocacy.
A lively roundtable debate then followed in which attendees explored in greater detail some of Iceland’s approach, drawing on Andy’s experience running a progressive social programme at scale, and looking at some of the challenges that social activity can bring within an organisation.
Although the evening covered several topics and insights, some key points emerged from our discussion:
- Have a personality and be real
“Sometimes companies forget the social bit in social media.”
A large amount of Iceland’s success has been because they have communicated with a personality that people can relate to. This is displayed not only on their own feeds, but also in the way they support their influencers by not over editing/sanitising their supported content. By building a consistent and engaging personality across your channels, and by embracing genuine emotion in your content, you can create a deeper and more meaningful connections with your audience.
- The challenge of corporate buy-in
“It’s often about taking calculated risks”
Although the world is more connected and socially active than ever, getting buy-in from PR and marketing teams in larger businesses can be a challenge. This may be driven by the fear of the unknown, the discomfort of relinquishing control, or simply the clashing of personalities within different departments. To move things forward you either need to move key people forward and gain buy-in from senior representatives, or confidently push the boundaries be ready for the come-back and prove the effectiveness of approach.
Iceland’s sponsorship of the Iceland national football team in the Euros 2016 is a great example of senior buy-in to a fairly radical idea by the social media team. The results were outstanding, alongside huge positive sentiment.
- The issue of money
"Guess how much they would have charged for one article… £100k!”
Social content doesn’t have to be expensive – the above example achieved good results and involved no paid promotion – however, large scale campaigns like Iceland’s #PowerOfFrozen need to be invested in at scale. While a single supported tweet/article with a high-profile influencer may seem expensive, we saw that by using roughly only half the budget of a traditional TV campaign you can create a social campaign that can achieve staggering figures – 73million reach.
- The potential of colleagues
“The biggest sales force in any business are your own employees”
An organisation’s employees can be an untapped resource for social advocacy. Iceland employ 23k+ people and the potential for each one of them to be a vocal advocate of the brand online is huge. Iceland have recognised this and are looking at ways to engage their staff, but it goes beyond engagement. For employees to be true advocates they have to believe in the company they work for, feel passionate about the brand they represent, and this leads full circle back into the approach of employee culture and engagement.