What drives social influencers’ abilities to influence purchases?

Discussion
Photo: Getty Images/Phiromya Intawongpan
Dec 02, 2022

A university study finds originality and follower size are among the common factors driving engagement in influencer campaigns. However, many influencer attributes fall under the Goldilocks Effect, or the sweet spot between too little and too much.

Researchers led by Hong Kong Polytechnic University analyzed more than 5,800 influencer posts from Weibo, the Chinese social media platforms. Seven variables driving campaign effectiveness were identified:

  1. Number of followers: A large following not only offers greater reach, but the influencers are seen as more popular and credible.
  2. Posting frequency: A medium level of posting activity, around five posts per week, was seen driving the best engagement. Infrequent posters were seen as not up-to-date on information or lacking enough presence on followers’ feeds to build trust. Over-frequent posters can clutter followers’ feeds and create fatigue. 
  3. Follower/brand fit: Influencers whose followers had some (but not too much) brand fit led to the best engagement. When an influencer’s followers are highly interested in the topic, posts often compete for attention with similar content.
  4. Influencer originality: Influencers posting a greater proportion of original content stand out more and appear more knowledgeable and authentic.
  5. Post positivity: Posts that tended to be slightly more positive than optimal saw the most engagement. Overly positive posts often come off as disingenuous.
  6. Whether posts links to the brand: Linking to a brand’s social media account or external web pages performed significantly better. The links offered important additional information about the content to support further engagement.
  7. Whether posts announce a new product: Influencer posts announcing new products were found to drive significantly lower engagement than equivalent posts that were not about new product launches.

The study comes as nano and micro-influencers receive more attention. Pierre Cassuto, CMO for influencer marketing platform Humanz wrote in Adweek, “Do they follow brand guidelines? Do they convey enthusiasm for the product? Are the technical features of their content such as lighting strong? Do they drive engagement with their audiences and seem keen on driving sales? All of these are better metrics for creator selection than their number of followers.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What factors drive optimal engagement in influencer campaigns? What factors should be considered by brands and retailers when choosing influencers to work with?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"I think the key takeaway here is that social needs to be engaging and at a comfortable pace."
"Authenticity. The more an influencer can display that, the greater the credibility, the higher the following."
"Companies need to consider an influencer’s brand fit, trustworthiness and an audience that exactly aligns with their dream customer."

Join the Discussion!

4 Comments on "What drives social influencers’ abilities to influence purchases?"


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Lisa Goller
BrainTrust

The most engaging influencers have evolved into brands in their own right. From Gen Z magnet Mr. Beast to “Lipstick King” Austin Li, top influencers have a massive following and a captivating style.

Companies need to consider an influencer’s brand fit, trustworthiness and an audience that exactly aligns with their dream customer.

Ken Morris
BrainTrust

For retailers, there’s another important thing to keep in mind. Keep your shoppers on your site as much as possible and provide content for them so that they do not have to go out to social to gather information about your products.

Being genuine is the most important factor. Brand fit is a close second. What good are followers who don’t represent the brand? I would also look to create a diverse set of influencers who represent the client base as a whole. 

I think the key takeaway here is that social needs to be engaging and at a comfortable pace.

Mark Self
BrainTrust

Authenticity. The more an influencer can display that, the greater the credibility, the higher the following. Brands/retailers should align with influencers who in some way display or support their brand values. A couple of recent examples of “misses” are Kyrie Irving being dropped by Nike and Kanye West (okay, “Ye”) being dropped by Adidas. This observation seems pretty obvious to me however since brands seem to keep making mistakes like these maybe it is not that obvious.

Kenneth Leung
BrainTrust

The fit between the brand of the influencer and the retailer brand is the key. Also need to check if the influencer had previous interactions with the brand (positive or negative). Nothing worse than engaging with the influencer only to find out he/she submitte negative comments about your brand less than a year before you signed (seen it happen).

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"I think the key takeaway here is that social needs to be engaging and at a comfortable pace."
"Authenticity. The more an influencer can display that, the greater the credibility, the higher the following."
"Companies need to consider an influencer’s brand fit, trustworthiness and an audience that exactly aligns with their dream customer."

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