With over one billion active users on Instagram per month, that’s a whole lot of potential eyes on your SME’s product or service. But where to start? How do you build a following? Just two questions everyone asks themselves when they open their accounts. To shed some light on the answers, on your behalf, we spoke to three Irish influencers who are well versed in online marketing to gain some insights into the world of social media. You’re welcome😀
The world of social media can be an extremely daunting place. Social platforms such as Instagram are saturated with profiles labelled ‘Insta models’ and ‘Insta celebrities.
However, amongst the highly criticised cohort is a sub-group of genuine creatives and business people namely influencers, that may be allies for you in achieving your business goals.
Why social media?🤔
Social media usage is one of the most popular online activities. In 2019, an estimated 2.95 billion people were consuming posts worldwide, a number projected to increase to almost 3.43 billion in 2023.
Facebook attracts over 2.5 billion monthly active users, placing it in first place for the world’s most popular social networking site.
However, Instagram, (a site also owned by Facebook🙄) driven by photos, graphics and witty captions, entertains over one billion monthly active users and remains the most utilised site for Influencers to thrive on and businesses to market in.
With the introduction of an Instagram ‘Business Profile’ option in 2016, exposing your SME to millions of eyes became an achievable reality.
Why use influencers for your SME?
Influencers have the capacity to shape their followers buying decisions. Those that follow influencer profiles do so due to relatable interests, trust and admiration for their influencer.
So, when Instagrammer ‘Kate’ posts that she enjoys a new specific makeup, devoted followers tend to seek out the product mentioned by Kate.
We decided to speak with three native micro-influencers to understand more about what they do, how they do it, if they’d recommend it and if it works?
Clóda Scanlon- AKA OrangeObviously
Clóda Scanlon, better known as Orange Obviously, is a self-proclaimed travel, fashion and lifestyle enthusiast.
With 12.3k followers on her primary influencing channel Instagram, she began her social media journey just over five years ago.
Clóda is a Tipperary native growing up in the parish that is the home of current Munster club senior hurling champions Borrisoleigh.
The Orange Obviously Instagrammer admits success in the blogging game often comes down to the “luck of the draw”.
Some influencers go viral overnight and others, like herself, spend years attending events, maintaining consistency and working with brands to gradually grow a following.
“Theres some people six months in, they’re got 40-50 K (followers) , and it just happens for them.”
But don’t expect instant success.
Behind every sizable following lies a lot of work.
‘I’ve been consistent. I have gone to networking events. And yeah, I’ve worked a lot of different brands over my five and a half years. It’s just something that I never lost sight of.”
Rachel Cantwell Irish/Italian Blogger- Sincerely RachelEve
Rachel Cantwell is a 22-year-old Irish native from Wexford town. Currently living in Tuscany in Italy (for her sins😉), Rachel decided to utilise her natural flair for fashion and all-round style as well as her scenic and cultural location in the picturesque Italian countryside to launch a colourful blog Sincerely RachelEve.
Having only begun her influencing journey in February, the 22-year-old also holds down a day job as a teacher and believes starting a blog requires a lot of courage.
When asked what it took the Wexford woman to take the first step towards becoming an influencer she said:
“I guess, just trying to stand out a little bit trying to stop being a sheep and kind of following what the majority of people are doing. I had a think and decided, look, I’m going to do this. The same with the blog. I’m going to start the blog, and I think I did it for myself. It requires a lot of confidence which I don’t have. I am working on that. It takes coming out of your comfort zone and to do what makes you happy rather than trying to please other people.”
Reece Creed AKA ‘The Real Reece Creed’
Reece Creed or also known as The Real Reece Creed is the Limerick man spreading his positivity and style across the internet.
Establishing his career on Youtube then moving onto Snapchat, the influencer has slowly but surely altered his position on the web into the world of Instagram.
The Instagrammer admitted being a male in a particularly female-dominated industry was difficult, however, he did believe it was an inclusive space that embraces diversity.
“Trying to establish a voice and establish a brand. That’s something that your followers want to see and create content that you want them to love, you know, also just being a male in the industry, it is very hard. It is a very female-dominated industry. But I feel like there’s a place for everyone in this industry, and it’s just about being yourself and being creative.”
Fired up to kickstart your business postings on Insta?
Here’s some suggestions to get you started!
Why your SME should consider influencers (according to the influencers.)
So, we’ve already provided you with the facts and numbers as to why your business should be considering influencer marketing.
So, let’s hear from the influencers themselves!
“I think in 2020 a business would be a little bit silly to overlook the power and effect that bloggers or influencers have in this day and age. They’re a fantastic way to get your product out to your niche market, your target market. And, you know, with minimum research, you can find people within your area, your county, the whole country even, if that is who you were targeting with your specific audience, you can absolutely get your word out there, and it’s definitely a great route to go down.
“I’d say to any business who’s starting to make use of your free tools. Social media is completely free. You’re living in an age where your budget is so low that you don’t have to pay for advertising. You don’t have to get into newspapers and TV and radio. If you don’t have that AD spend, you can use social media, it’s totally free.
“It’s your palette to paint. You can put your stamp on it. You can reach out to people. You can interact with your customers for free. You can follow people who would be your customers, you can engage, comment with them, message with them, show them your service. You can provide flash sales and discounts. That’s a great way to use utilise both your page and maybe bloggers that you work with. And to help you share news of a discount or sale that you might be running or a flash discount code that you might do for one weekend or one day and get in some extra sales. “
The Real Reece Creed:
“We have seen so many businesses converting to online through COVID.
‘One thing I would say is to stay engaging with your target markets. Definitely consider influencer marketing.
‘Influencers are what I watch as a 22-year-old. I love seeing what everyone is wearing, what everyone is doing.
‘I think, especially in business accounts. You need to create engaging content for them.
‘So, getting influencers to use your products or to use your service. And then posting videos like that onto your own page would really help.
‘I feel like getting consistent branding, making really cool graphics, putting attention to detail into your content will really help your following grow. And that is kind of it for businesses.”
Sincerely Rachel Eve:
So how does the business/influencer partnership work?
“For bloggers and influencers, you would be working with a brand, or a small business. And the idea is that you’re working to benefit whoever you’re working with, whether it’s selling their products or whether it is a promotion for them, every single brand is different, and they want something different from you.’ says Rachel.
“You receive an income depending on, let’s say, if you have a contract, or maybe they give you an email and give you the guidelines, you have to promote this many times, or you have to make this many new sales. That kind of thing.”
Like anything when looking to involve influencer marketing in your business plans, you do need to make sure you’re choosing your influencer wisely.🤔
Step one is to identify your target audience and match up an influencer that fits that profile.
Step two, determine whether that profile is worth investing in?
Step three... how much do you need to invest?
Unfortunately, only you can answer the question of who fits your businesses profile.
But, that’s not the hard part.
This takes some old school research and investigation.
Step two, determining whether your chosen influencer is worth investing in does, however, come with a bit of help.
Influencer Marketing Hub has created a free tool that will allow a business to input their perspective influencer and find out how that profile ranks in terms of engagement rate and following.
The Audit Tool & Fake Follower Check will give you quick results on the profiles fake following percentage and average engagement rater per post.
Ensuring you’re not investing in a profile full of robot followers!
Next, you need to decide on a budget.
As every business differs in budget and goals – payments and agreements tend to vary.
However, a good rule of thumb to follow is one cent per one follower or €100 per 10k following.
This is a good starting point for most businesses to use when approaching influencers, as, like anything, there isn’t a one fit fits all approach.
How has Covid effected influencers?
With many businesses placed under pressure due to the constraints of Covid-19, the one avenue that provided economic income to influencers was threatened.
The closing of shops and restaurants meant that not only could influencers no longer review goods and services; businesses were reluctant to provide free merchandise to sponsor Instagrammers.
In addition to the economic pause, the pressure to set an example and to be respectful of other situations framed the response of influencer Clóda Scanlon.
“I always feel like I never want to offend anyone, or I never want to make anyone feel like they have to go out and buy a product because I got it.
‘So, at the beginning (of Covid) , I was very much thinking, I couldn’t share anything, because people would be like, Oh my God, she’s insensitive, why is she talking about a topic or some makeup when people are losing their jobs?”
Wexican turned Italian influencer Rachel admitted sponsorships were scarce during quarantine, “small businesses, brands, things like that, they don’t have the freedom to sponsor” she added, “it has been difficult to find different people that want to work with you because we’re all stuck in the same situation. Whether it’s financially, mentally or physically, quarantine and COVID-19 has been a massive strain on everybody.”
However, the Real Reece Creed was able to see the Covid situation in a different light.
The Limerick native saw the larger number of people staying home during quarantine as an opportunity to engage with more viewers that weren’t spending as much time online before March 12th.
“I think Covid-19 was probably amazing for the influencing world. It meant that people were at home, and people were watching our content. And normally, when I post stories, I had a smaller engagement. I felt like people weren’t engaging as much because they were living their lives, being busy going out doing everything that we normally do. So, it was crazy to see bigger numbers and bigger people coming to my page during isolation and quarantine. I did think it was really good, but it also came with the pressures of trying to post, trying to keep people entertained. But I think it was just a really good time for the blogging industry.”
So, there you have it.
The world is changing, and it’s moving at a pace none of us can keep up with.
But if there is one thing, we can count on it’s that the world of social media is here to stay, and it’s only going to become more prevalent with every day that passes.
So, what is your business doing to capitalise on these digital trends?
Are you really taking advantage of the hundreds of free and influential marketing tools the internet has to offer?
Have you invested in influencer marketing?
These are the questions worth asking ourselves right now.
If you’ve already started your journey good onya👍 but are you following a strategy similar to the way instagrammers work?
Have a check here and the best of luck!