Working with Social Media Influencers

 For suppliers and retailers in the garden industry, spend on celebrity endorsements and advertising campaigns can be difficult to justify, with social media no longer the cost-effective solution in reaching new customers.  Another option, which the team at Hornby Whitefoot PR are currently exploring with its clients, aims to drastically improves cost efficiency within consumer media communications.

What is a social media influencer?

Just that — someone who can influence others via social media.  Usually they have become so from building a strong bond of trust with their engaged fanbase across various social media platforms.

Our core customers don’t follow any vloggers or bloggers…

That may have been true just a few years ago, but as we head towards the end of the decade it’s safe to say things have shifted a great deal.  For example, 75% of the audience that watches Hornby Whitefoot’s resident YouTuber Robbie Cumming’s canal vlogs, are aged 45 and above, with an average 23% of total video views coming from those aged over 65.  In the gardening world there are a growing number of bloggers and Instagrammers that are incredibly active and with ever expanding subscribers and followers — many of which could be encouraged to follow you.


How much does it cost?

We’re talking about the cost of a few emails and then sending out samples, catalogues and other information, either through your marketing or customer service departments.  The initial groundwork can be more involved — identifying the right influencers for your brand, compiling contact details and building relationships etc — but this can be undertaken by your PR team.


How does it work?

Each social media influencer is different of course, but most of the time you are supplying products/services in return for publicity and valuable exposure to a captivated audience.  But it can also mean offering a financial incentive (eg commission via affiliate links) particularly when dealing with influencers that are more popular and more commercially minded.  But some vloggers and bloggers are simply just in need of information to help research their posts and generally bolster their expertise and allow them to make better recommendations to their audience.


There are other benefits

Having an independent expert on hand who can give honest feedback on new product development or assist with plans to add new services for example, can be particularly rewarding.  If you develop a good enough relationship with an influencer, you’ll effectively be adding a consultant, a marketeer, a focus group member and technical advisor, and paying very little in comparison.

On Hornby Whitefoot’s latest YouTube video (search ‘Hornby Influencers’ on YouTube), Robbie urges gardening businesses to get involved before they come across competition for exclusivity from peers:  “[Social Media Influencers] want to work with companies like you — so I think it’s a great opportunity, and the key thing is to get in there before everyone’s trying it!”

If you have any questions relating to vlogging, live video or any other consultation, you can contact Robbie Cumming via email,