In the current climate, with schools still partially closed and the majority of all social activity happening through a screen of some description, it is no surprise that the marketing industry has been greatly affected. Personally, so much of how I market books has changed - and one area in which I’ve seen huge uplift is influencer activity.
Influencer marketing has been so well-received by both brands and audiences over the past few months because it feels more authentic, more emotional and more built on connection than hard commerce. During a time of financial and emotional insecurity, consumers don’t like to be hit with overly sales-driven messaging. Influencers bridge the gap between the product and the audience, and communicate within a close-knit network founded on trust.
This is even more the case when it comes to "kidfluencers". These mini-influencers are particularly active on YouTube, although there is now also a wealth of talent on both Instagram and Tik Tok. Widely known throughout the toy industry, when approached in the right way, they can have just as big an influence when it comes to spreading the word about a new book.
The majority of book buyers will find out about their next read through a recommendation from a friend, and children are no different. Though kidfluencers are not for every campaign, there are huge untapped opportunities for the book trade to harness their impact, especially when it comes to middle-grade titles. This can be a tricky target audience to reach: they’re starting to get ‘too cool’ to be told what to read by their parents, yet they’re only on the cusp of having ownership over their own channels and social platforms. Kidfluencers are a great way to bridge the communication with them, and I’m currently working with Ruby Rose, Emma Laila and It’s Minai to do just that.
What these mini-influencers are capable of is bringing the book to life in the centre of the bullseye audience. They’ve built a following because their peers look up to them, so it’s only natural that their audience will want to read whatever they’re recommending. And considering the sheer exuberance with which young people approach their Tik Tok and YouTube channels, the creativity that can be achieved around a publication is endless.
Of course, it can seem scary to incorporate a child influencer into your campaign, and it's imperative to do it right. You need to liaise closely with their agents to ensure that your ad will appear alongside carefully curated content. And it’s of the upmost importance that you prioritise diversity among any influencer campaign. Make sure your audience know that your product is for them, whatever they look and sound like.
It can also be challenging to envisage what a sponsored kidfluencer post will look like. What platform will lend itself best to your creative? How do you seamlessly integrate your title into their feed to generate genuine content? Try to think carefully about the the themes and ideas in your book, so you can help a young influencer find a point of connection that feels authentic and inspires their own passion and voice. Broadly speaking, if you’re working on something comedic, Tik Tok is probably your best bet. For a gaming or sports focused campaign, go with YouTube. Instagram is always a great way to make a splash and encourage brand awareness, and will work for pretty much any book campaign – once you’ve found the perfect influencer fit for your genre or topic.
Kidfluencers can certainly be a tricky market to approach, but they can produce unique content that engages an audience that is hard to reach. In a time when reading is on the rise and digital content is floursihing, publishers simply cannot afford to ignore the power of kidfluence.
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