BUILD A PARTNERSHIP
While the US market for influencer marketing is increasingly becoming performance-based, the Nordic countries lag behind in terms of measuring the benefits of their collaborations, Zeth Edwardsen points out. In Scandinavia, many companies build their influencer collaborations on trust, believing the influencer to be the expert.
“It may therefore be useful to also nurture long-term collaborations, establishing a relationship with the individual influencers to ensure greater involvement. This will also allow you to add requirements, such as stipulating that an influencer must stay several times a year at your hotel and refrain from mentioning specific competitors within the same period (…)
“Brands must wake up and make demands, such as on which hashtags to use and for content choice, etc. If an influencer is also a photographer, make sure you have access and the rights to the images so that you can use them yourself in your marketing. Always think in terms of what you want to get from this collaboration,” Edwardsen says.
With the boom in the use of influencers they will also start to encounter content requirements in other ways, says Kirsten Østergaard Poulsen, founder of Firstmove, a Danish company that studies emerging consumer trends.
It will increasingly become necessary for influencers to offer documentation for their reach in line with that offered by newspaper publishers in terms of circulation and readership, she says.
“First movers are retreating from digital channels. They install online ad blockers and seek information and objective news. They are becoming critical of the surge in influencers, and very few follow classic bloggers. Instead they follow, for example, a journalist who has something at heart,” Poulsen concludes, adding:
“Consumer behaviour is embracing sustainability and immaterial values, and this will generate shockwaves since influencers are largely contrary to such values. A blogger or influencer must provide information and content that support this development – generating likes for a smart dress or pair of sunglasses isn’t enough.”
An Oslo boutique hotel and part of Nordic Hotels & Resorts, The Thief is one of many hotels in Scandinavia that receives daily inquiries from bloggers and influencers from all over the world. The requests are for free stays in return for exposure on social media.
The hotel has introduced clear guidelines, says press officer for The Thief, Siri Løining. She has had to respond to inquiries from influencers since 2013, and the requests have kept increasing year after year. However, most are declined. Instead, the hotel offers influencers a special media rate, and according to Siri Løining, this provides more objective reviews.
“Generally, we don’t exchange free hotel stays for publicity on social media. We focus on developing good stories within our key interest areas, such as art, design and music. We work closely with journalists visiting Oslo and suggest that they experience a different side of the city.
“Since we have many British guests, having an article in The Telegraph has greater value to us than if an influencer were to post something about us online in exchange for a free weekend stay. We believe in credible reviews and not paid-for exposure,” she says.
But if this is to generate an effect it requires that you are spot-on with defining your target audience, Løining emphasises. “It’s easy to be tempted into looking at the number of followers rather than whom they are reaching. It is extremely important that the influencers we choose for, say, Instagram collaborations represent our target audience.
In Scandinavia, there are only a few influencers who represent the volume of followers that through a collaboration would allow us to reach our target group. That’s why we often end up choosing to partner with influencers outside Scandinavia.
We have a very clear perception of who our major customer group is: where they come from, what age group they represent and what interests they have, which also makes it easier for us to choose the right collaborators. Before we enter into partnership, we need to know what to expect in terms of return on investment. We shouldn’t just be guessing. We need to be sure that the followers of these influencers share our target audience,” she says, adding:
“Of course, we can experiment and try to reach new audiences, but I think it will take time, and much depends also on the price. I also think that micro-influencers often have greater effect than those with many followers, since we know that micro-influencers most often speak directly to their target audiences.”