WTM 2018: Finn Partners questions value of social media influencers

A new survey commissioned by Finn Partners has revealed that UK consumers are more discerning and less ready to be ‘influenced’ when booking a holiday than travel brands may have previously thought.

The survey, which questioned over 2,000 UK consumers aged 18 and over from across the British Isles, revealed that almost half of UK adults do not follow social media influencers.

The 51 per cent of respondents who do follow social media influencers revealed interesting perspectives on what they ‘hate’ to see those influencers posting, versus what they ‘love’ to see.

Among other things, UK consumers hate to see fake engagement, over-stylised content and brand partnerships from social media influencers, as well as generic imagery.

On the other than, consumers love to see personal experiences, images, video and information on ‘hidden gems’.

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The results reveal that brands need to consider their social media strategies more carefully than they might have thought. Often brands are advised to work with influencers, and to create stylised social content, to quickly build following and engagement on social media.

Finn Partners’ research shows that consumers are not easily fooled into making a buying decision based on what they see as inauthentic content.

Instead, brands need to view their social strategies as an integral part of their public relations programmes, employing the ‘old school’ but successful techniques of, really understanding what their audiences are looking for and creating ‘story-telling’ social content that connect with these needs and expectations.

Commenting on the survey, Debbie Flynn, managing partner Brighter Group, a Finn Partners Company, said: “Marketing managers and PR executives need to balance the requirements of the whole of their audience, understanding that almost 50 per cent aren’t influenced by social media, and that the other 50 per cent prefer content that speaks personally to them – the useful tips, and stories of personal experiences that will help them to make a decision about where to travel, and how.

“At World Travel Market we are inviting PR and marketing professionals to discuss our Group Persona Report, a helpful tool for brands to obtain deeper insights into customers, subscribers, social media followers and competitors.

“Finn Partners’ experts will be onsite to discuss the research and analytical tools they use to profile consumers’ preferences, interests and demographics, allowing brands to target their stakeholders more effectively and extend reach to other like-minded individuals.”

Finn Partners is a global marketing and communications agency with a 120-strong dedicated travel and lifestyle practice including Brighter Group in the UK.