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The Love Island Effect Part 2: Why the government has turned to UK social media influencers to help push its latest campaign

Love Island's Shaughna - Influencer and Social Media star

By Hannah Jones, Account Manager

The UK Government is the latest to join the endless list of brands and businesses looking to partner with social media influencers.

With news outlets reporting that the government’s comms team paid a handful of Love Island stars to promote the NHS Track and Trace scheme, the decision definitely received a mixed bag of reactions from the public.

Since Love Island launched in 2015, the rise of the ready-made influencer has continued to force its way onto our TV and mobile screens over the last five years (our wonderful Account Executive, Helens explains more on that here). And with the influencer marketing trend showing no sign of halting, was this a smart tactic from the government to engage and inform more younger people in the scheme, or did they simply jump on the influencer bandwagon half-heartedly at the expense of the UK taxpayer?

The lowdown

Love Island stars Shaughna Phillips, Chris Hughes and Josh Denzel were amongst the group of social media stars that were paid by the Cabinet Office to share sponsored ads with their millions of followers using the hashtags #gettested and #letsgetback.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A throwback to what I love most! Nights out and good friends! Although this may feel like a distant memory to us all, we can all do our part to make sure we can get back to better times, as safely as possible. Guys I want to remind you about the importance of Coronavirus testing and that its totally free, quick and is vital to stop the spread of coronavirus. Getting tested for coronavirus is the best way for us all to get back to doing the things we love and I love nothing more than spending time with my friends. Yesterday I visited my nearest drive though testing centre, which is literally 2 minutes from my house! I was able to book a test online, and have it carried out all under 1 hour, it was so convenient! When I woke up this morning I had already received my results by text and email! I’ve also checked the Royal Mail website to see where my nearest priority postbox is, as well as the stickers I need to look out for on the postbox itself. This will help me in the future if I need to carry out a home test kit. Everyone with symptoms, no matter how mild, can get a free test by calling 119 or visiting NHS.uk. #letsgetback #gettested #ad

A post shared by Shaughna Phillips (@shaughnaphillips) on

And while some still argue that influencer marketing shouldn’t be taken seriously as a marketing tool, there’s definitely a reason why so many brands are spending large chunks of their marketing budgets on just that.

A recent survey by Media Kix found that 89% of marketeers say that ROI from influencer marketing is comparable – if not better – than other marketing channels, with 69% planning to spend the most money on Instagram for influencer marketing.

And, according to Influencer Marketing Hub, for every £1 that brands spend on influencers, they get an ROI of £5.78.

Here at No Brainer, we’ve worked with brands on influencer marketing partnerships ourselves that have driven a host of positive results from in-store footfall uplift to increased web traffic, so there are definitely some strong numbers to prove how effective and impactful a well-considered influencer strategy can be.

Tracking and Tracing the results

As a general rule of thumb for paid partnerships, influencers can typically charge between 1-10% of their social media following, depending on the scale of their following. Someone like Shaughna Phillips, with over one million followers, can snap up between £10-£20,000 per post, however the amount paid by the government has not yet been disclosed.

Now, we all know that the most important aspect of any campaign is evaluation. What did it achieve? What were some of the key stats? What can we do better next time? So, has the government got some bang for its buck?

The latest government figures for the week of the social influencer campaign show that the NHS Track and Trace scheme is now able to trace 75.5% of close contact cases in England, which was up from the previous week of 71.6%. And while the government is yet to reach its target of 80%, the stats are definitely heading in the right direction.

A government spokesperson also claimed that the “use of social media influencers has meant over 7 million people have been reached”. It seems that the influencer drive was also part of a much wider integrated campaign which used TV, radio, social media and print advertising too.

However, while stats seem to be on the rise as a result of the campaign, social influencers that were chosen to be part of the scheme were also slammed in the media for subsequently posting images online which showed them failing to social distance.

This begs the question whether there’s further work to be done by the government on contractual obligations when it comes to fulfilling the brief for partnerships like this or whether social media influencers with such a huge platform have a social responsibility themselves…  but that’s a whole other blog post!

What do you think?

The government’s responsibility to ensure their messaging resonates and reaches as many UK residents as possible is clearly a very important one right now. And with spending being scrutinised and dissected now more than ever, it’s critical that the government’s communications team get it right.

At No Brainer, we’re incredibly supportive of the influencer marketing industry, but just like any campaign, it also remains important to do the right research, be clear on deliverables and messaging, pick the right people and channels and ensure that influencers take the relationship just as seriously as you.

Let us know if you have any thoughts on how the government is continuing to tackle UK-wide comms by tweeting us @nobraineragency. We’d love to hear from you!

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