Postcards from YMS: The age of influence

20 June 2022

At 106 we’re all about sustainability, and according to agency Tailify there is one major renewable out there just waiting to be tapped: influence.

At Voxburner’s Youth Marketing Strategy (YMS) festival earlier this month influencers and user-generated content (UGC) were the hot topic. An influencer might be your charismatic Instagram travel blogger, or your exuberant YouTuber, or even your friends and family. People are tired of old school brand advertising and they want to hear about new products or experiences from people they trust.  Here is an overview of the brilliant talk from the Tailify team and some words of wisdom from other YMS sages.


The business case

Marketing has always been extremely competitive – the advertising arms race saw a man freefall from the stratosphere for Red Bull for crying out loud! But by-and-large, as the Gen Z population grows in buying power the old school publicity stunts and slick campaigns are losing their lustre. The power of influence is moving from companies to people, so embrace that! As Andy Mullinson from Nosto put it, “Curate, don’t create”. This means the content is out there, people in the community have the voice and the audience, so work with these people and be smart with showcasing UGC to generate organic engagement.

Only 2% of total global advertising budgets are going to influencers, but these brands’ audiences are spending 78% of their social media time watching influencers. The mutual relationship, the integration of personal development and interest with products, is a crucial part of the brave new world. The YMS Gen Z panel said they were very open to purchasing a product from an influencer if they had felt they had received something from the influencer first. That ‘something’ could be as simple as work out tips, an inspirational pep talk or a good ol’ chuckle.


The framework

Moving towards influencer marketing means new metrics for success are required. The first rule of influencer club is influencers are people, not billboards. This mean human metrics are needed, psychological benchmarks to map the values and characteristics of an influencer. Tailify have found that an influencer who holds values close to that of the brand will have 2x ROI. Likes, followers, engagement rates etc are no longer the most helpful metrics. They don’t help you understand someone, rather they are a symptom of existing success. To gauge potential, the nuanced values piece is crucial.


Some tips to get you started

There is some serious behavioural psychology behind these findings. Tailify has done the hard yards on the research, and they presented four top tips for your influencers to get the most traction on content.

Eye contact is everything

The direct gaze captures an audience’s attention because as humans it’s an important social cue and we can recognise the face quicker. Brief your content creator to look directly into the camera. The more eye contact, the higher the engagement rate – roughly 3 times higher!

Rough around the edges is just how we like it

Only positive information from an influencer reduces the trust of their audience. Encourage them to use dis-preferred markers like “I’ll be honest…”, as it communicates but softens the negative aspects. The adage ‘if it’s too good to be true, it probably is’ pervades so improve believability with some rough edges.

Strike a pose – with your face!

Our attention is naturally captured by emotionally arousing stimuli. It doesn’t have to be a positive facial expression it just has to be striking. This will help your creator cut through the quick scroll, increasing engagement and recall.

Influencers as story tellers

The best performing influencers started their narrative with happy emotions, experience a midway dip and then end on a high. This brings people on a journey they can empathise with, as with the dis-preferred marker effect people want authentic experiences. This narrative can span a video or a campaign.


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