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Influencer marketing, as with everything in the digital marketing landscape, has continued to grow and evolve over the last few years. With new trends, algorithm changes, platform regulations and the continual evolution of consumer behaviour, influencer marketing is a powerful means to leverage your brand and tell your story in an authentic way, but are we nearing the end of the influencer marketing effect?

In 2016, data showed that “92% of consumers trust an influencer more than an advertisement or traditional celebrity endorsement” but in 2019, consumer behaviours have shifted almost full circle and the conversation is now around rebuilding customer trust within this space. Many users, particularly millennials, are increasingly seeking authentic experiences and transparent brands and as a result are starting to suffer ‘influencer fatigue’.

This has also seen a shift towards ‘micro influencers’ - influencers with a smaller following, but a high level of trust and authority with a highly engaged, niche audience. It is important for DMOs to recognise the two key players in the influencer sphere, macro influencers and micro influencers, and understand how each one plays a different role.

Macro influencers enable you to reach a specific geographic market, for example, the Middle East or the USA, at scale, offering endorsement and interest generation, however, engagement and quality tends to be lower. On the other hand, niche micro influencers enable you to engage more targeted, 'vertical' interest groups, such as those into extreme sports for example. Although they have significantly fewer followers, their communities are highly engaged and audience engagement is key.

For DMOs it is important to understand how these changes can impact the travel and tourism industry. When considering incorporating influencer marketing in your strategy, here’s 3 takeaways influencers can teach DMOs when it comes to staying authentic and engaging.

1. Be Flexible

Working with an influencer is an opportunity to see your destination from a completely fresh perspective. Many destinations are likely to have a very specific view or preconceived image of their own destination, but content creators and influencers are experts at creating content for social channels and knowing their audience. Therefore, don’t be too detailed with the brief as this can be restrictive. Allow the freedom and flexibility to create fresh, quality content.

2. “Visiting a destination with a DMO is like travelling with a local”

Consider this when it comes to planning an influencer trip and think strategically about the places you want to feature. This is the perfect opportunity to showcase the more unknown areas and experiences in your destination.

3. Authenticity is key

Influencers value authenticity just as much as brands do and this is the key to a successful campaign. Although influencers have had a reputation of accepting any paid campaign that comes their way, the influencers and content creators we have worked with over the years say they would not work with a brand or destination unless it was an authentic and collaborative approach. To reflect a real experience through authentic storytelling, both parties need to share the same vision and values. The narrative has to be consistent and must match the brand voice and message (for both parties) in order to be valid.

Bonus tip!

As well as a really strong Instagram grid, Instagram stories are a great way to prompt an open conversation, giving people the opportunity to ask direct questions about your destination. Bear this in mind when you are reviewing your Instagram strategy.

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