The marketing landscape has changed dramatically in the last few years due to the huge boost in social media’s impact.
‘Influencer’ is now a job in its own right, where people use their social media platforms to promote brands and products for a living. In an episode of the Festival Insider podcast, hosts Emma Kapotes and Michael Julian discussed the impact influencers are having on music festival growth, and whether or not they are useful as part of a marketing strategy; here’s what they had to say.
Influencers as a Marketing Channel
Influencer marketing is an invaluable tool for businesses, as influencers have loyal followings who genuinely trust their opinions. Their reach can be vast, with plenty of these people having hundreds of thousands of followers behind them.
However, a common flaw in influencer marketing is the assumption that because someone has a large following, they have a high level of engagement on their page.
Following and engagement rates don’t increase in tandem, so until those statistics are researched, a large following alone isn’t always enough to determine an influencer’s worth to a brand.
The Right Fit
Influencers can undoubtedly be a hugely worthwhile component in a festival’s marketing strategy, they need to be the right fit for the festival itself.
Michael notes that “it’s all well and good using a fitness influencer with 300,000 followers to promote a festival, but if their usual content has nothing to do with music, and they don’t frequently talk about having an interest in music, their following is probably not the festival’s target demographic, and consequently the partnership is unlikely to generate ticket sales.”
“Building a network of influencers is very important and should be integrated in marketing strategies for all festivals – the key though, is not to go for the numbers.” – Michael Julian
A New Age Media
Michael calls out that influencers should be seen as part of the media, especially as the more traditional media channels don’t have as much interest in festivals anymore.
“Don't get me wrong, but PR doesn't play a role in promoting the festival anymore, simply because the media is not going to get too excited about much.
Unless you really have something special innovative, something that's truly newsworthy, the bigger media doesn't really care as much anymore. The blogs, the bloggers they care and I think they should be considered media because they are.”
“Media is anyone that's influential in the way that others take them seriously and listen to them and their opinion matters. They (fans) take it very seriously as media. Some media will have 1000 people following them or reading and some will have a million, but it's still media.”
The Human BS Detector
Just like most things in life, for a business-influencer partnership to be successful, it needs to be authentic.
Emma Kapotes highlights that “festival fans are smarter than they ever have been and you can kind of see through that marketing.” when talking about the need for authentic influencers who are part of the actual festival community to be utilized not just influencers who have massive follower numbers.
“I appreciate these companies who pick an actual representation of what the community is.” - Emma Kapotes
If an influencer is selling products or experiences that they don’t truly believe in themselves, their audience is being set up for disappointment and is less likely to trust them in the future.
The episode mentions that when reaching out to influencers as part of a marketing campaign, choosing those who are honest and have integrity for what they promote is key.
This way, whether they have 20,000 followers or 200,000 followers, their audience will trust their opinion, and you’ll be more likely to gain sales as a result.
Honest and genuine word-of-mouth promotion will always beat generic influencer marketing that lacks meaningful connection.
See how Audience Republic’s platform helps festivals and artists sell more tickets by booking a demo with our team.