Time Out revealed a new study into the influence economy during a panel at Advertising Week Europe
Time Out revealed a new study into the influence economy during a panel at Advertising Week Europe
A view from St. John Betteridge

Four ways to reach your best brand advocates: introducing the makers

Are your advocates simply raising awareness of your brand, or are they actually helping you to convert awareness in to action? That depends on whether...

At Advertising Week Europe, our chief executive Noel Penzer revealed a new study into the influence economy, looking at how brands can make their audiences not only think and feel, but also do.

In our findings we unearthed a forgotten type of influencer that we believe is being neglected by brands in most influencer marketing campaigns.

So do you want to convert awareness into action? Here are my four ways to win by attracting the type of influencers who will become your strongest brand advocates, sharing your messages with those who not only trust but also act on their opinion.

Have an opinion

Influencers are interested in disputing or agreeing with a brand voice, they want to voice an opinion and they’ll take the time to form a well-considered one.

Time-poor consumers rely on influencers to absorb media and sift through the rubbish to find the golden nugget that they will hold on to and share with their friends and followers.

To ensure that a brand message gets through it must be meaty, substantial and opinionated so the influencer can gain a dialogue with that brand.

They want to debate, argue, agree and contest, to be part of a cultural debate about what is good and what isn’t. Provoking an influencer is the best way to grab their attention.

Look beyond the follower count

In the digital age, consumers have to cope with a barrage of information on a daily basis. To deal with this we use trusted filters; whether that’s brands, magazines and channels or individuals.

Individual influencers are often the best filters, because they look like us and like the same things as us. They’re more likely to filter out everything we don’t want to hear, and bring things to our attention that we’re genuinely interested in.

But is there any point in generating awareness if it doesn’t ultimately result in action? That’s why choosing quality influencers, not just high reaching ones, is key.

Follower count alone doesn’t guarantee effective influence. Having an army of influencers who have a narrow reach but very deep quality of influence are more likely to convert awareness to sales than a small number of advocates with millions of followers who might be ignored.

Brand influencer campaigns need to combine both reach and quality of influence, and that means that not all influencers should be treated the same.

Get to know makers

The people commonly turned to for considered opinion are not usually the noisiest or the loudest. They’re usually the quiet ones, the people who you know have carefully considered the topic you are asking about. We call these people makers.

We all know them – the tech nerd friend who knows their Apple from their Acer, your sister who’s seen every West End hit in its opening week, the mate who goes to Secret Garden Party and Festival No.6 every year. They’re experts in subjects they’re passionate about, and they love to share their recommendations with others.

Makers may not have huge social networks, but they make meaningful connections with people, and that enables them to convert awareness in to action.

Those individuals who have large social networks but are motivated by meaningful connections rather than the size of their following.

Influence the influencers

Influencers are generally difficult to reach via traditional media, but our study found that makers read twice the amount of newspaper, magazine and digital content of a non-influencer; that’s because they’re looking to add to their depth of knowledge of the subjects they’re passionate about.

According to our new research, one in three Time Out users is a maker, and of these over three quarters have gone on to do something after discovering it on Time Out’s platform.

They’re engaged, cultured and curious individuals, likely to share their plans for the weekend at the pub with friends, who come to them for advice about what’s new and what’s hot.

Makers are hungry for information, and even hungrier to share the best of what they consume. And Time Out is one of the best outlets to reach them.

St. John Betteridge is the managing director of advertising at Time Out UK