Influencer marketing continues to thrive as brands look to align themselves with social media darlings who have cultivated the audiences that brands covet. A new study from SlickText has some wonderful insights not only into the type of content we want from influencers, but how those views change across different age groups.
Before we get into the study’s findings, what IS an influencer? An influencer is someone who can produce a change in behavior for other people, via the content they create. So in general terms, any content creator is also an influencer. The influencers who are the most coveted then, are the ones that can product the change in behavior that a brand desires.
Here’s some examples:
- If 7 Eleven wants to connect with millennials to help drive sales of a new flavor of Slurpee, then the brand might partner with popular streamers on Twitch
- If Ford wants to connect with married adults to promote its new SUV, it might partner with YouTube content creators who do video reviews of automobiles
- If the state of Missouri wanted to draw attention to its bicentennial celebrations happening this summer, the state might partner with travel bloggers to create images and videos of landmarks in Missouri for Instagram
With that overview of influencers in mind, let’s take a closer look at the study’s key findings:
Reviews from influencers are considered the most helpful and desired content
38% of respondents listed reviews as the content they preferred from influencers. Additionally, almost 35% of respondents said that unbiased product reviews is the content that makes influencers feel more authentic. This type of content also helps develop trust with the influencers’ audience. This is why you are seeing many influencers shift toward product reviews and unboxings as their main source of content. If the content is tightly focused on a particular product grouping, space or line, it can quickly establish the expertise of the influencer and help them develop a niche following that’s highly desired by brands.
Now, I mentioned that the study found that 38% of respondents listed reviews as the content they most preferred from influencers. Reviews are the most preferred form of content from influencers, and that held for all groups and genders except for Gen Z women. Females in this group prefer how-to content. Additionally, Gen Z women said that the best way for influencers to win their trust is to interact with them. This ties into what I’ve written here before about how streamers on Twitch use the platform to engage with their followers as individuals. This makes their ability to influence the behavior of a large group scale more effectively than it can on other social platforms.
Too much sponsored content erodes influencer trust.
All age groups agreed that too many sponsored posts made respondents less likely to trust the influencer. This creates a problem because for many influencers, sponsored content is their main or only source of income.
For influencers trying to walk that line when it comes to sponsored content and maintaining trust, it helps to be completely open with how sponsored content is required to help support you. I’ve noticed on Twitch that streamers are extremely upfront about their sponsored content, and why they need it and how it helps support them. I was watching one streamer and someone donated $100 as he was playing a game. The streamer thanked the person profusely for the donation, and then explained to his audience that he had taken his car to have a tire replaced earlier that day and that it was an expense he wasn’t counting on, and that donation would cover the expense. This level of transparency with your audience helps establish trust and I think it even makes the audience (at least on Twitch) more likely to donate more since it helps them understand how the streamer will use and need their donations.
As always, honestly and transparency leads to trust. In all areas of life. There’s many more interesting takeaways if you want to check out the study for yourself.