The rise in Influencers for the outdoors community – how it’s not only changing the way we buy, but the way we behave.

Cycling

I remember the days when you’d throw your leg over your bike and just ride. Now the level of faff is extraordinary. Have you got your heart rate monitor synchronized to your Garmin?  Have you got GPS signal so all of your ride will be recorded on to Strava? Have you got the camera strapped to your head? Does your kit look on point and are you #sockdoping?

Whatever kind of bike riding you do, there’s a growing desire to record what you have done. An epic road climb in the alps, recording a KOM on Strava, a photo of a wall ride in a bike park, a classic car park manual; people want to ensure they capture it all. And so it seems there’s a demand for this content too.

If you’re anything like me, you go out and ride hard on a weekend in the small window between painting, playing with the kids, washing the car, and visiting the in-laws. If you’re super-lucky, you get to commute to work on a bike or squeeze an evening ride in. But for the vast majority, that’s it.

Enter the role of social media.

Keeping the world of outdoor pursuits alive in your mind throughout the week is exactly what you want. Those accounts creating high-quality content allow the ‘weekend warrior’ to get from one Sunday to the next by dreaming about singletrack mountains, woodlands and heroic climbs.

Back in the day (yes I appreciate that makes me sound old) magazines like MBUK would be filled with pictures of stars like Jason McRoy, product reviews and Mint Sauce and that’s where all your bike info came from. There was no internet! Magazines took on a more visually appealing form later on with the likes of Singletrack Magazine reviewing bikes and routes. Cyclist Magazine also does a very good job of luring the easily led MAMIL to buy a print magazine. But you can bet your boots they’re all still following some sort of influencer online. Be that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube.

It really struck me when a friend I ride road bikes with, who is not a million miles off 50 years old and so not your stereotypical ‘millennial’, kept telling me all about a Youtuber called Francis Cade. It wasn’t the fact our group ride chat now consists of 50% conversation starting with the line “did you see that video of …” but more importantly it was the fact this mate of mine was wearing exactly the same cycling kit as Francis Cade. A matte black Kask Helmet and some ridiculous looking Oakleys to match. Whilst Francis’ channel isn’t the biggest, it clearly has influenced the wallet of the cycling community and as it’s set to grow, it will influence more and more.

That’s exactly why it works so well. Francis and his mates are clearly road cycling mad so if you buy into him as an authority you’re going to be influenced by the things he does, says and ‘buys’. The viewer feels like they have discovered something new, not from the mates they usually ride with, but from an influencer they don’t even realise is changing their buying habits.

Once the new purchases have been made, the purchaser shows them off on Instagram and even if they don’t have a huge following the influence still spreads. It’s that simple and it clearly works.

Will we become more savvy to influencer marketing? Yes. However, there will always be room for genuine content creators who partner with the right brands. It’s a bit of a buzzword but if those partnerships are authentic then the endorsement an influencer gives a product won’t jar with the content and so you’ll keep buying that cycling kit, shiny new Garmin, or deep section wheels.

If you want to understand more about influencer marketing, how it’s measured, and maybe even dip your toe into this rapidly expanding market, have a chat with the team at Fluential, a sub-brand of TTE and they’ll show you how it all works.

Contact james@totheend.co.uk

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