The New Role of Creators and Influencers

Dominique reveals that during the pandemic, there has been a 2.5x increase in engagement through social media platforms.

Dominique reveals that during the pandemic, there has been a 2.5x increase in engagement through social media platforms with a drastic shift in digital marketing, placing more importance on content creation and relating to an audience. Creator content is 2.1x more relatable versus a branded post.

Dominique reveals that during the pandemic, there has been a 2.5x increase in engagement through social media platforms with a drastic shift in digital marketing, placing more importance on content creation and relating to an audience. Creator content is 2.1x more relatable versus a branded post. This shows that connecting with creators is an incredibly powerful tool that engages with people in a completely different way compared to branded content.

Moving forward, marketers should expect new consumer behaviours and embrace them, creating a new emotional connection while staying authentic to brand values, and empowering advocates in prioritising a community mindset.

The way consumers find your business has shifted as well, with digital word-of-mouth becoming a vital aspect in advertising your business.

This is where influencer marketing comes in.

Influencers are evolving, and with a new wave of creators being introduced every year they learn and grow to a professional level completely independently. They are the first digital storytellers, publishers across multiple platforms, they commit to craft and quality, they provide an infinite pool of diverse voices that are authentic and truly represent the market while being storytellers.

As a global community, Whalar works with over 6,000 carefully selected influencers all over the world. With pandemic related news coming out at a constant rate, these are people who are agile in their creation of world events with quick turnarounds and completely global reach who will spread reliable information in easily consumable, imaginative ways.

More than ever before we're seeing social media move around passion points such as sports, fashion or travel. Family bloggers for example focus on family-friendly experiences. Consider this for partner programmes, this allows for a wider scope of consideration when envisioning working with these creators whilst funnelling in on engaging with these more niche audiences.

This approach in marketing is not advertising for Dominique and her team. This is storytelling and aims to inspire consumers rather than selling them a product directly. Working with content creators allows you to send this message at a scale, with more impact over the course of successful campaigns. Content creators are a personal insight behind the scenes of industry, and people want to see it.

90% of consumers trust peer recommendations over brands - Mediakix

Authenticity and creative freedom are the key drivers to success when utilising influencer culture. Successful brand content campaigns in 2017 were thanks to this, with 63.7% of respondents engaged, as well as 59.9% of respondents experiencing a high engagement rate. The personal touch is trusting, a point of relatability and showing you're open for their business through this common point of interest.

Dominique discusses with renowned creators Melissa Legarda and Rich McCor the impact they've made alongside travel.

Melissa, a travel writer, talks about how her experiences are very embedded in travel, exploring her heritage and culture and getting a developed understanding of her background. She managed to grow her audience through Facebook groups when the online ecosystem was quite small in 2016, naturally growing since.

Rich, an artist and photographer, says his USP was seeing things differently. He presents destinations people are familiar with in his vision, through papercraft and photography. He keeps up with Instagram's innovations and instantly thinks of new ways of making use of the platform's changes.

Melissa has been allowed to work with travel businesses despite her relatively smaller following due to her unique experiences and emotional approach to storytelling. Micro-influencers like Melissa have a more approachable air to them than a larger creator, attracting an audience that specifically looks for authenticity.

Rich has recently produced more diverse content that provides a behind the scenes insight to his work which naturally meshes with travel, showing off the destinations he works in. With positive feedback, he was motivated to show off his work with destinations to become more consistent with content.

The pandemic has given rise to new opportunities for the influencers, with Rich being invited back to destinations with the prospect of creating new art with the support of the destination.

Melissa on the other hand felt like it was less authentic to post about travel in a time where people couldn't go abroad. She faced the challenge of questioning her own voice and opinions, how would she produce authentic content that she is proud of whilst being faithful to her values? She believes in trust, that it's part of her duty as a travel blogger to showcase the places they are connected to and giving a transparent, real perspective of that destination. It's part of her job to show what is safe to do and where you can do it.

Rich believes in the transparency between creator and audience as well, however, there is value in seeing the escapism in travel even within unpredictable circumstances such as the pandemic.

Dominique asks the two about their relationship with their respective audience, and why they are some of the many influencers that have a particularly strong role in revitalising the travel industry post-pandemic.

Melissa explains that they are the current first point of contact through social media outlets. With such minimal social contact, people have started looking to influencers for information that doesn't frame it in the same way as traditional media outlets. A new perspective that is overall much more positive. Rich agrees, using his own personal experience when he was sharing the process of him taking a COVID-19 test and how engaged his audience was as an example. People wanted to know and wanted to see how things are for others.

Key Takeaways

1. Authenticity and a transparent relationship with your creators and their audiences builds interest and new perspectives on what can be provided for your destination.

2. Influencer culture isn't just large scale, there are funnelled communities that can be tapped into to have a wider reach for your values and message.

3. Content that is clear and presented engagingly is bound to gain traction when working with engaged and diverse creators.

Published on:
December 2020
About the contributor

Domonique Audibert

With a background in the building and marketing of new brands, Dominique Audibert joined Whalar just before its launch in February 2016. She now sits on the commercial team, heading up a new business in the Travel and Alcohol sectors.