Talking points to look out for at September’s Digital Sport London event

With now just ten days to go until Digital Sport in partnership with social media influencer platform Vensy bring together a panel of industry experts to Soho for an evening of sports influencer marketing insights, we thought we’d whet the appetite for discussion with some talking points about the state of the landscape.

As we’ve already said, influencer marketing is not a new concept, but as social media transforms itself from a novelty into an everyday tool, the ways in people interact with influencers is changing.

Over the next few years, brands, influencers, agencies, marketers and sports organisations alike will face plenty of challenges and will have to adapt to changing best practices. Below are five points to consider about the sector.

Trust

This is probably the biggest and most obvious one.

Social media platforms have had to face some uncomfortable questions of late. Facebook saw headlines with its name linked immovably to Cambridge Analytica in a storm that saw trust in the platform hit a low. Twitter, too, has been forced to think about trolls on its platform, as well as the proliferation of bots which may have been trying to manipulate public opinion about major news stories. In such a landscape, people are understandably on-edge.

But what that means for marketing and advertising – particularly when it comes to using influencers – is that trust is going to become even more important.

One of the reasons that influencer marketing is so important to brands and organisations these days is that people feel as though they can actually trust the personalities they have come to know through Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube. That trust is incredibly important, but keeping it in place is paramount: without it, the medium may well lose what makes it special.

Genuine rapport with brands

It’s clear that in such a landscape, making a quick cheque by simply posting an ad for a brand will have little to no positive effect – and might well have negative consequences instead.

This idea of social media maturing is an important one: users know what to expect from ads. But it can also go too far the other way, where it’s not always clear that an influencer using a product is actually an ad. Again, these things erode trust.

But there are times when brands and influencers can work together to the mutual benefit of everyone. There are brands out there who can present a clear link between themselves, sport, and the content created by online personalities. Sponsorship and partnering, then, can be facilitated quite easily if such a dynamic exists. And in return, rather than simply getting their logo sent to millions of people on social media, brands can actually enjoy the value of being part of the conversation.

Meaningful engagement

These days – and rightfully so – it’s no longer enough to simply talk about reach, or even just engagement. Meaningful engagement, impacting someone’s life in a positive way, is what brands want, and it’s what influencers do on an everyday basis.

Leveraging that is harder than it looks for brands, but it’s not impossible: helping online personalities to get access to sports stars, great interviews or simply enabling them to create the kind of content they know their audience enjoys would appear to be the best strategy for that.

But these are just preliminary thoughts: come join Richard Gillis, Managing Partner, Cake (Havas), Gareth Griffiths, Head of Sponsorship, O2, Seb Carmichael-Brown, Commercial Director, Hashtag United and Niall Coen, Founder and CEO, Snack Media, and see what the experts think about it!

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 709 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

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