What do over 30s think of influencer marketing?

For this post I wanted to find out a little about what people over 30 think about influencer marketing. Do they know what an influencer is? Do they follow many (or any)? Do they think influencer marketing should be used within marketing and PR? I conducted a survey online and received some information that kind of confirmed everything I thought.

You may be wondering why I chose over 30s, in my opinion (and probably most) influencers and influencer marketing is quite well known amongst people under 30. Typically teenagers or people in their twenties tend to have an idea of what it means and could name a few influencers they either follow or know of.

Below I go through the questions and feedback I received. It is a mixture of positive and negative but I’ve included quotes throughout. Hopefully it’ll be insightful for both professionals and the people who answered it.

The Stats

This wasn’t a large study with 15 respondents, but everyone did provide some useful information.

80% of the respondents were women, so the majority of the feedback is from a female perspective. 66.7% of respondents were over the age of 50.

In terms of social media use, the platforms used by most were Facebook, Youtube and Instagram.

Which Social Media Platforms Respondents Use

Only 2 respondents use TikTok which is no surprise as 60% of TikToks users are ages 18-24. The other lowest were blogs and Snapchat.

Firstly I asked – Can you define what an influencer is? Which was later followed by defining influencer marketing

This one was as expected, most people used the original word ‘influence’ to define what it is, as one simply put “Someone who influences others”. Not wrong of course, they do. There were a few people who said no but if they tried to define it got the idea. The majority of the respondents knew what an influencer was or had a general idea. A couple examples are:

Female, aged 30-34: “Someone who uses their popularity on social media to promote products and get paid for it.”

Female, aged 55-59: “A person who uses social media to describe their experiences of products or services or to demonstrate their use and evaluate them. Good ones get loads of freebies to test. Some get paid to do it.”

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations Panel define influencer marketing as “The art and science of forming, or changing, a public’s opinions and behaviours via a third party online. The practice can be via earned, paid or a hybrid initiative.”

Lets compare this to some of the answers I received:

Female, aged 55-59: “Use of people who can relate to your target audience to share ideas or demo products. They might go to hotels and discuss the food or service. They often look gorgeous so people want to be like them and associate with the products they endorse.”

Female, aged 50-54: “Brands use public figures such as influencers to promote their products by using their channels as marketing platforms”

Female, aged 40-44: “An influencer encourages people to purchase items, or change their opinions.”

Most answers were similar as the respondents seemed to grasp the concept of influencer marketing.

They were then asked if they thought there was a difference between an influencer and a celebrity

As you can see, 93% answered yes. I followed this question up with their reasons why they voted yes or no. Some of the responses included,

Male, aged 55-59: “An influencer does it as part of their position. A celebrity influences because of who they are.”

Female, aged 55-59: “Influencers can become celebrities through having huge followings however they are often not known before becoming an influencer.”

Female, aged 40-44: “A celebrity is famous and well known by many.”

There were a couple of replies I found most interesting and basically confirm what I said previously about younger people knowing more about influencers.

Female, aged 55-59: “I feel that celebrities are known to people of all ages due to film, television, music, sport etc and not just known to younger people on social media platforms”

Female, aged 40-44: “Influencers seem less famous to me, but my children know lots of people who they say are famous from online who I have never heard of.

I later defined what influencers were and the answers stayed the same.

The final question was “Do you think influencer marketing should be used as a way of reaching consumers?”

This was the most interesting question for responses. 73.3% of respondents voted yes.

Most respondents were accepting of the use of influencer marketing as a good way for brands to reach their target audience, with one respondent saying:

Female, aged 55-59: “Marketing is marketing whether in the traditional way (TV adverts/posters/newspaper ads etc) or the more modern way, through social media. Both ways are maximising their audience.”

A couple of people spoke about how influencers can be seen as relatable which is a good communication tactic. Part of the popularity of influencers is the reliability and personal views they provide. We are most likely, as consumers, to go with brands that people closest to us recommend. Influencers who resemble ourselves or our friends have a similar effect.

There was one answer to this question that I wanted to include in particular. It starts off by talking about today’s consumer habits and that “we shouldn’t be encouraged by more people to buy more consumables and throw-away items”. This is true and the carbon footprint that comes with the likes of fast fashion and changing technology is an issue, I agree. The next part of this answer then referred to using locally produced products and to stop “buying useless fripperies promoted by ‘influencers'”. One of the beauties of influencer marketing is that it allows local businesses to be promoted as it is a cheaper and more credible way of connecting with a target market. Especially through earned media. One trip to a local shop and a post on Instagram could reach a lot of people and open the shop to a wider audience.

For me, I just wanted to get an insight into what people over the age of 30 thought about influencer marketing. Although I didn’t reach a lot of people with the survey, some of the replies did confirm the idea that influencer marketing is seen as a way of targeting younger audiences.

For those of you who asked if Mrs Hinch is an influencer – yes she is! A very successful one.

I know this was a long post but I hope it was an interesting one for you to read. It was certainly interesting for me to see the responses. It was also fun to do a post based around other people’s opinions. Maybe I’ll do some more in the future. Let me know if you enjoyed reading it!

Does digital PR deserve its own module at universities?

It’s no surprise that digital PR is becoming increasingly popular within the PR industry. The world has shifted online significantly since the pandemic started which has meant PR professionals have worked more with digital PR.

On PR courses across the country we focus on traditional PR and incorporate digital within these modules, but I’m starting to think that digital PR deserves its own module.

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How is digital PR different to traditional PR?

Digital PR, like traditional, seeks to achieve coverage. It is also concerned with increasing rankings in search engines, The Domain Authority of a website and gaining links (PR Academy). There are lots of resources to learn the ins and outs of each.

If you’re confused by what any of that means, don’t worry. These are the things digital PR professionals are well clued up on and what all PR professionals should know (a bit) about. It’s not enough to stick to just traditional PR anymore, the key is to have a mix. Since the rise of the internet we have so many new opportunities for getting yourself and your brand known.

From this we know there are lots of areas of digital PR that we as students and professionals can learn about. At the moment, I am doing extra reading and webinars through CIPR on digital PR but would definitely have considered choosing a module on digital PR at university as there is so much to it.

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What could be taught in the module?

The list below is what I would include in a digital PR module at university. I’m sure there are more specific things to include too. For those of you who have more experience in digital PR, I’m sure you could suggest topics (I would love to find out your opinions so please comment below).

  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) & Google Analytics
  • Working with journalists, bloggers and influencers
  • Online press releases for high-quality backlinks
  • Anything social media related (mentions etc)
  • Online campaign & strategy planning
  • Online event planning

A lot of this may just be incorporated into PR modules already, such as press releases, campaign planning and event planning. But a focus on digital could cover it in much more detail and set people up for PR roles focused on digital.

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At the moment digital marketing gets its own modules at universities and even whole degrees as it is such a broad topic. I think digital PR does deserve a module as a lot of the things listed above are usually learnt by doing your own research or from experience. If a module isn’t necessary then perhaps more inclusion into the content or additional classes around the course.

I know when looking at jobs and internships online that are in the digital PR field, they quite often ask that you have some background knowledge of SEO, Google Analytics and other tools used in digital PR. Having the option to do a module on this at university could really help when entering the job market as it is so competitive at the moment.

Let me know whether your university has a module on digital PR or you’re a PR graduate who would’ve liked to have had this module option in the comments below!

Five Podcasts for PR and Comms Enthusiasts

I’ve only recently gotten into podcasts. I think this comes from people’s recommendations now that I’ve connected with PR & comms people on Twitter. Below I list five of my top podcasts for PR and comms enthusiasts. They will help with uni as well so they are great for students!

I have to really concentrate on something otherwise i’s just background noise, which is why I recommend listening to them while having a meal or on a walk. If you can listen to them while doing work then I envy you!

1. The Influencer Marketing Lab – Steve Guthrie

I’m a big fan of Scott’s podcast as influencer marketing is something I’m interested in. Scott and his special guests always delve into interesting topics and it’s a very relevant subject so I highly recommend listening.

Influencer marketing has been a widely debated part of PR & comms since the pandemic started, from the positives of working with influencers to their controversial visits to Dubai and breaking lockdown rules. Scott covers all bases in his podcast.

2. Have You Got 5 Minutes? – Rebecca Roberts & Harriet Small

Rebecca and Harriet’s podcast is a great one if you don’t have a lot of time. Their usual podcast lasts around 10 minutes! Have You Got 5 Minutes? is fairly new so you can catch up quickly as well.

Rebecca and Harriet cover topics in the news or things that are popular in the PR & comms industry. They touch on those passing thoughts or questions you were wanting to ask in your next lecture, so they cover anything they think people will find useful – go check it out.

3. Future PRoof Podcast – Sarah & Stephen Waddington

PR power couple Sarah and Stephen Waddington host this podcast that has been running since 2016! With the vast knowledge the pair have, the podcast is full of useful and great information about the business of PR, marketing and social media.

Their most recent episode covered a range of topics from Jackie Weaver to exiting lockdown (which we now have a timeline for). Each episode covers a lot so sit down with a coffee and give it a good listen, their thoughts are worth every minute.

4. Inside PR – Joseph Thornley

Now, this podcast isn’t currently active (last updated 2019), but its previous episodes covered a lot about the PR industry that will still be relevant. Martin Waxman, Gini Dietrich and Joseph Thornley all co-host this show and sometimes bring in a guest or two for their thoughts.

This podcast has been running for years so there are a lot of episodes to choose from. Take your pick from algorithms, YouTube and much more.

5. The PR Week – PR Week

You probably already know about PR Week, one of the go-to places for industry news. Luckily for us, they have a podcast too. Each week they catch up on industry news and trends so if you need some examples for your next seminar you can try giving it a listen!

The podcast brings different guests each week to discuss the various topics and provide experience from their time in the industry. I highly recommend as some of the guests come from big companies such as Google or Microsoft.

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Would You Try Baked Beans on Weetabix?

I’m sure a lot of you have seen the debate on Twitter about whether baked beans should be eaten with Weetabix – in my opinion NO, disgusting! However, the conversation was sparked by Weetabix’s image of the food combo, see below. It is one of many different food combos the brand has been introducing to us.

Whether or not you agree with the combination isn’t the point in this social media post. The post was meant to be controversial and to encourage people to engage in debates about it. The post was then followed by over 140 different companies replying with (hilarious) comments. It provided humour in a time when people probably need it most, which is why the post was so successful.

The PR company behind the idea was Frank PR and it stemmed from a recipe they shared last year about chicken coated in crushed Weetabix. They found that people love to engage in food debates-remember the endless pineapple on pizza divide? So, this was a great way for Weetabix to get some engagement.

The campaign grew because of organic shares, replies and likes. They didn’t pay for any of the social media engagement. I think the post did so well because of the tweets coming from other companies. Every man and his dog got involved with some very funny tweets. Something that doesn’t happen all too often.

I have listed a few of my favourite below for you to read. Hopefully you’ll have a bit of a giggle like I did.

Deciding What You Want to do With Your Life

I’ve had this post in mind since starting my blog, it’s a lot to do with why I’m here writing my posts and why I’m studying Media and Public Relations. I’m going to tell you some of the ways in which you can realise what it is you want to do with your life — from my experience.

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In this weeks #PowerandInfluence with Ella Minty, we saw Teela Clayton discussing her switch from teaching to public relations. Just like many people she came to a point in life where she wasn’t happy with her career and decided to make a change. It happened with my mum when she changed from High Court Enforcement to teaching assistant.

For me, as a 21-year old, I switched my path straight after finishing my degree. My undergraduate degree was in Maths with Management. Sometimes it would excite me, but the majority of the time I had a constant thought that it is not an area I wanted to work in. It was too dull for me, I needed something that’s going to bring different experiences and opportunities.

Back when I was in school I had an obsession with working in the fashion industry, I didn’t know where or how, but the one thing I knew was that I could never be a designer (sewing machines hate me). So, I put that idea aside and went with what I was good at, maths. I don’t regret picking it because at the time I loved maths too and at least I gave it a shot, right.

Anyway, below are a few suggestions of mine as to how you can come to realise what exactly it is that you want to do with your life.

What did you want to do when you were a teenager?

Like I previously said, I had this constant reminder in my head that I’ve wanted to work in fashion ever since I was in school. We often think that the dreams we had as a child were just dreams, but you can make them a reality. I didn’t know exactly how I could make my way into the fashion industry, but since being at university I’ve learnt a lot of different elements that are involved within the fashion industry, so I looked into it to see where best I’d fit in. For me, I’m hoping it will be PR!

What are you good at?

Don’t know what industry you want to work in? Sometimes it can help to pin point everything you’re good at and going from there. I love communicating to people, meeting new people and representing groups. When I was younger I would work at the school open days and it’s the same now I’m at university. For the last two years I have been a co-president of two different university societies, being the voice of a group of people is something I’ve enjoyed doing.

So, from this I began to look into industries that include this skill and passion. Now, there are a few, but I looked at the PR Master’s course at Newcastle University and found that a lot of the content described these skills that I was good at and can help me turn them into a career. I found that I also love organising events, which can fall under PR, this was something I didn’t know yet.

What careers you want to learn more about?

List the careers you want to learn more about. I did this when the first idea in my head was to work in the fashion industry. If there are a few areas that interest you, take your time to learn about each of them. This will help you narrow down the list and determine which career you’re truly interested in.

For example, for the fashion industry I looked into magazine editorial, styling, advertising, social media and PR. I read articles, interviews, job descriptions and much more to evaluate skill sets and job responsibilities. I linked my skills to the skills that these jobs required. I also looked into the job descriptions to see whether it was something that I could do day in day out.

What makes you happy?

Throughout my university life every time I spoke to mum about my degree she would always remind me to do what makes me happiest. If that meant changing degrees then so be it. I was half way through second year when it started to sink in that I didn’t really want to study maths. But by that point I was determined to finish because at the end of the day a maths degree is still a good degree to have.

I’m happy I stuck with it, but I’m much happier now I’m studying PR. Every time we learn something new, or I take on a new module, I visualise my future much more than I did when I was studying maths. That makes me happy because I’m no longer stuck with the uncertainty about where my life was heading.

You have the right to do whatever makes you happy, it is your life and you may as well live it in the best way possible for you (that was deep I know).

These are all steps I took to help determine what I wanted to do with my life. Hopefully, they’ll help you get some sort of idea too. There’s lots of other things you can find on the internet that will help (we all love a career quiz or two). One thing I can say is, and I’m sure others will back me on this, trust your gut.

Comms Slip Up: The Government’s Sexist Stay Home Save Lives Ad

The government has withdrawn their most recent ad for ‘Stay Home, Save Lives’ after the backlash it received for being sexist.

In this advert women can be seen doing all of the domestic chores and just one single man relaxing on the sofa. Way to be with the times, right. This latest ad indicates that the government don’t listen to the public, they don’t find ways to relate and they don’t understand the modern lives of people within the UK. Not the best thought to have about the people that run the country.

Opinions about the government have been mixed throughout the pandemic and slip ups like this just enhance the negative views people have had about the government’s communication throughout COVID-19. To be taken seriously their ads should be respected by the public and in this case, they will have lost a lot of respect from women across the UK. It is the twenty-first century but the government don’t seem to be living in it.

The government statement stated that it does ‘not represent their views on women,’ but if that was the case why had it been made and approved for use? Someone at the PR firm clearly thought, yes, this will work.

Below is a revised version of the ad by a lady called Kim French, which is fitting for the world we live in now.

If the government want their ads to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus, then they need to make them relevant and representative of everyone. No one is saying women don’t often do the household chores, but the government’s add indicates that it’s ONLY women doing them. I understand that government PR & comms has been difficult over the last year but we aren’t in the 1950s anymore and things have changed.

How to Stay Motivated During Lockdown 3.0

Does anyone else feel like lockdown 3.0 is hitting harder than the first two? I’m having to find new ways to stay motivated so I’m not in a constant rut. I don’t know if it’s because we’re used to it now, because it’s so cold outside, or probably a mixture of a lot of reasons. I for one feel like my life is on pause and that the world has stopped turning for the last 3 weeks.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying who I’m with and the things that I’m getting up to, but I feel like it’s hard to stay motivated about the future when everyday is the same. So, here I’m going to give you my go-to’s on staying motivated during lockdown.

Routine is Key

When looking back on the first national lockdown and how I felt motivated everyday, I usually think about how I was taking my final year exams for my undergraduate degree. I had a huge poster of how I was going to manage my time studying. Something like this, whether it be a poster, diary or calendar can help you visualise each day and with the situation changing so often, having this consistency will make lockdown feel more manageable.

Trying to keep to a similar routine to the one you had before lockdown such as eating, sleeping and exercising will help your body function better. I’m not going to lie, I was never big on exercising, but as long as I leave the house for a quick walk every now and then I feel like I’ve at least accomplished something.

Learn New (or Rediscover) Habits

Now that we have more time you can take on a new hobby or rediscover something you used to love doing. In the first lockdown I started painting and noticed I’d be doing a piece and hours would have passed. The best thing about finding a hobby for me was that I wouldn’t touch my phone for hours because I was so absorbed in painting.

My new habit for lockdown 3.0 and the future is blog writing. Having something new to try out can help you stay motivated as you are engaging in something you enjoy.

Being creative can be relaxing, which is great when you’re stressed about work or the outside world.

Stop Overthinking the Future

Okay, this is a BIG thing that I have to overcome on a daily basis. This can be both about what the world will be like post-lockdown and what the future holds for you personally. You can’t control everything that the future holds, so try living in the moment and doing what you can for the life you want to live.

For me, I tend to overthink my professional life all the time. As a soon to be graduate, I hear about the struggles of 2020 graduates in the job market. But, we need to remember everyone is in the same boat and that we just have to take it as it comes.

Finger’s crossed post-lockdown life lasts this time around and we won’t have to experience lockdown 4.0.

The World (Wide Web) is your Oyster

See what I did there. We may not be able to travel the world and discover all of it’s glories, but there’s nothing stopping us from utilising the internet.

I’ve taken each lockdown as an opportunity to learn new things, whether this be through online courses, podcasts, my degree and much more. I recently changed paths by graduating from a Maths degree and starting a master’s degree in Media and Public Relations. So, I’ve found using online courses to learn extra things associated with my masters will help advance my knowledge. Of course you don’t have to stick to this, you could learn something completely random that you’ve always been interested in.

Another way to utilise the internet is by staying connected. I know what you’re thinking, you’re fed up with zoom calls, as am I. But that doesn’t mean you should stop using it to keep in touch with your friends and family. If you’re looking for something new to spice up the weekend party calls then try out Backyard.co – it has lots of fun games incorporated into a zoom-like call. Staying connected will help keep you motivated throughout lockdown so you can see everyone when it finally ends.

Recently, I joined a Facebook group for people working (or studying) in PR and Marketing and it’s helped me feel apart of the community. Engaging in conversations and discussions about anything and everything is allowing me to learn things from professionals but also enabling my voice to be heard. If you’re looking to enhance your network then I highly recommend following some like-minded people on Twitter – there are some great discussions on there during lockdown!

Disclaimer: Not the best idea to spend all of your time online, as I said focus on living in the moment. But use it when you think it will help with your goals and motivation.

Finally…

I bet you’ve compared yourself to someone and everything they’ve “achieved” during the lockdowns. Try not to do this. Everyone is handling the pandemic in their own way. Each individual is different, so take the lockdown as it comes and live it the best possible way for you.

What motivates you may be the complete opposite of someone else, it may even be the complete opposite of me (hopefully I’ve helped you realise what does motivate you though). We all have good and bad days, I know I’ve had a few bad ones recently, if you find yourself having a bad day then try to think of each day as a fresh start and work on discovering what’s best for you.

Let me know what is keeping you motivated throughout lockdown in the comments below or by emailing sophsnextstep@gmail.com

Resolution 1: Start a Blog

It’s the beginning of a new year and what better way to start it by completing my first resolution-to start a blog.

My name, if you hadn’t guessed, is Sophie and I’m a twenty-something year old from the north of England. Like many I struggle to focus and I find that writing down my plans, dreams and hopes helps me to achieve them. I recently created a magazine for one of my university modules which was all about my action plan for the next few years. One of my aims for this year was to start a blog, along with graduating and travelling (the usual for a masters student). Having the idea included in my goals for the year has encouraged me to actually knuckle down and create it.

At the end of 2020 I found my old blog that I started when I was 14 and it made me want to create a blog again. Sadly, I had to delete it because my writing was horrendous and I cringed just reading it. My ‘what I wear to the airport’ post and the pouting in photos is not something you all need to see. Embarrassing. 

So, welcome to Soph’s Next Step, my new space on the internet where I will talk all things lifestyle, fashion and anything student related. I’m also going to delve into the world of public relations as I explore the industry throughout my degree. While I’m using this space to write about my life, thoughts and experiences, I hope that you will enjoy the content that I post. 

I will be back in the coming week with my next post, but for now I kindly ask that you subscribe below so that you can follow along while I explore the life of a blogger. I would also love it if you shared this with anyone you know, the more the merrier. 

See you soon x