Once a PR campaign involved sending products and services to the media to try/trial and report on, but now, social media has enabled everyone to be their own personal publisher.
As a result influencer marketing has been born, where not only Instagrammers and bloggers with large followings were added to the mix, but now ‘ordinary’ people with influence in their own social circles are being targeted to promote, trial and essentially PR, different products and services and post about their experiences.
Influencer marketing is not entirely a new phenomenon, but something that PR agencies have been doing for years. The format, however, has now changed and the term ‘influencer marketing’ formalised.
Magazine and newspaper editors, whilst still vital, are no longer the sole focus of activity and the scope has broadened to allow the ‘average’ person on the street with an Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat account to be paid to post.
There are also different levels of influencers, and the general conclusion now is that Micro influencers are now a more attractive proposition to target than influencers with near-celebrity status and hundreds of thousands of followers.
Micro influencers have been shown to have greater engagement with their followers and are less expensive than those large-scale celebrity Instagrammers and bloggers who can now easily demand up to $30k+ for a series of integrated posts throughout their social media and online platforms. A micro influencer conversely may post the about the product or their experience for contra or $100. Meaning that by using more micro influencers you have the potential to reach more people, who are more actively engaged. This is however still dependent on your objectives and overall strategy.
So, is influencer marketing right for the property market?
At this stage, unlike the fashion, beauty and general consumer goods industries, property is still yet to get on the Influencer marketing bandwagon. Developers need to take into consideration their target audience and engage with influencers whose style and audience align. For example, a highly design-focused development could benefit from partnering with a design or luxury-focused Instagrammer for a series of posts which would work out to be a small percentage of their marketing budget say $250-$3000 but reach (if carefully selected) in some instances more people than a traditional print ad.
Developers should look at this investment in influencer marketing as generating brand awareness and as an additional touch point to reach potential purchasers, communicating what you stand for, such as quality, exceptional design and sustainability for example. It would be unwise to view influencer marketing as the sole way of generating sales, rather it should be seen as a valuable and cost-effective part of a wider sales and marketing strategy.
In short, when influencers are carefully selected, influencer marketing is currently a very cost-effective channel in which to promote a development, plus it’s highly visual. Your influencer marketing campaign could also involve engaging with the influencer in the offline environment, such as working with them to style a room in your display or fill the display suite wardrobe with the latest fashion or prepare healthy food for your display suite appointments. For this activity, an influencer with an established profile is recommended.
Not only does this create a unique point of difference for your launch which can be communicated through traditional and social media channels, the influencer can also create content for you in the form of visuals, video and .gifs which can be repurposed on your own social media or used in traditional PR activity.
It’s important to note that influencer marketing is not going away and the next generation of property purchasers are already highly engaged in this medium.
According to the Future Laboratory, a consultancy for trend forecasting, brand strategy and consumer insights, the next up and coming generation hate being sold to. People follow people because they want to see what they have experienced. This has driven a rise in the influencer market where Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat stars can have more reach and engagement with a youth audience than a typical brand campaign. Research also shows that young adults have increasingly little patience with long-form written communication and use highly visual formats to talk to each other.
This makes for a compelling case to use, or merely trial influencer marketing in your next property campaign.