'You're Engaged!' Influencer Marketing Lessons From 'The Apprentice'

It's that time of year again when a bunch of young hopefuls seek to impress Lord Sugar to be hired on "The Apprentice" show.

It has all become rather formulaic, to be honest, with young bright hopefuls told to tell the camera how amazing they are before they are given a task and end up squabbling and clashing egos against one another.

For a bit of fun, though, it is worth looking beyond the show for a moment and taking in a lesson in influencer marketing. As these young entrepreneurs become reality tv stars, if they last a few weeks, and show a side of themselves to the camera that a brand might want to associate itself with, it is likely they will begin to get influencer offers.

Influencer marketing agency ran the numbers on this year's contestants, and the results show a crucial lesson. It is not always about the total number of followers.

That figure can sound impressive when quoted, but it is far more important to receive engagement from a campaign. Regular readers will remember how the contestants in ITV2's "Love Island" were recently shown to have a massive following but also a high level of fraudulent followers. This could be because bots like to follow popular people, or it could be that a wannabe star has bought followers in good faith but not realised they are not real accounts. 

So if you want to reach real people with a message, it's time to look at the cost of working with an influencer, their total following, how many people a post would likely reach and how many people might engage with the message. 

With "The Apprentice," it is probably fair to say that the contestants are entrepreneurial, and so arguably less likely to be seeking fame for the sake of being famous. That is reflected in their Instagram followings, which range between 2,000 to 11,000.

Given that none are actually celebrities at the moment, the researchers are assuming a low cost per post of tens of dollars or low hundreds of dollars, depending on the account holder. 

Interestingly, and to prove the point, the person with the highest following on Instagram -- of 11,800 people -- has one of the worst engagement rates on the show. Rivonn Farsad gets a response of 0.7% compared to the 4.3% the agency would expect for someone of his stature.

Conversely, Kenna Ngoma, who runs an ice cream business, has a following of just 2,300 but enjoys a very impressive engagement rate of 13.6%, compared to the 8.9% the agency would expect. 

So that means when when you look at the cold, hard calculation of engagement for your buck, Kenna is your guy, although you are talking about reaching fewer people overall, he has such a high engagement rate he becomes the most cost-effective of all the contestants. 

By contrast, Rivonn Farsad -- the guy with the most followers -- is in fifth place. For those watching the show, and are interested in knowing the top five, after Kenna we have Lottie Lion, Pamela Laird, and Jemelin Artigas.

And the question we all want to know is, what about the big guy himself? Now, as with the rest of these results, they are just for fun and they prove a point about engagement trumping reach.

We are also not suggesting that Lord Sugar or the contestants are involved in influencer marketing. The figures are just an indication of what the budgetary implications would be if they were. 

Anyway, in terms of value for money for engagement obtained, Lord Sugar actually comes second. One has to point out that Kenna, in first place, would only provide access to a pretty small group, and so if you wanted to get a message out to a wider market, Lord Sugar would be your man. 

1 comment about "'You're Engaged!' Influencer Marketing Lessons From 'The Apprentice'".
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  1. John Grono from GAP Research, October 4, 2019 at 10:21 p.m.

    Sean, while I am unfamiliar with the names, I am familiar with the problem.

    Consider that the Instagram followers (in this case numbering 2,000 to 11,800) is seen by many of the general public as some form of justification of popularity and even market momentum.

    Yet that would barely convert to the second decimal point of a TV rating, which of course would be (correctly) pilloried as useless and see the show cancelled.

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