In today’s society every industry is facing change as it adapts to the digital world, discovering how technology can enhance their day to day business. Within marketing this couldn’t be more true, the digital development has seen marketing expand its reach into the online realm. Marketing has proven its ability to adapt over the years, continuing to create strategies that work with new technologies used throughout mainstream media.
One of marketing and technology’s more successful hybrids is product placement posts, the strategy appears throughout TV screens to mobile screens worldwide. If you have Instagram, Snapchat, or use any social media network you’ll have seen the increase of #Ad and #Spon posts in your newsfeed. These posts have become the new normal, and have opened up a whole new branch of digital marketing.
How influencer marketing is changing the game one post at a time
As technology continues to develop, so does marketing and the techniques it uses. Modern day marketers are constantly looking for new angles to use, and social media is at the heart of this change. Social media is a goldmine of potential, for instance there is 300 million daily active users1 on Instagram providing an endless audience for brands. Marketers are investing in social media to tap into this audience, looking at how to use popular social media accounts to access consumers. This investment in social media marketing has strengthened the relationship between the brand and their audience, with customer interaction now at the height of sophistication.
With brands now able to select a social media personality to represent their brand, they go beyond the standard sponsored posts and become synonymous with the personality and therefore aspirational to their fans. Influencer marketing has several approaches and can take many forms: blogger reviews, social media mentions, celebrity endorsements and more2. Initially celebrities were the preferred social media influencer, however there is now a more diverse range of influencers, including YouTube stars and ‘instafamous’ accounts. Essentially choosing your influencer is down to your target audience, who they follow and are likely to be influenced by.
One of the most coveted social media accounts belongs to reality personality Kylie Jenner. At 19 years old she has 82.9 million Instagram followers, providing plenty of customers for businesses to target. Burger King was one of the many companies to capitalise on this sitting audience, and selected Kylie Jenner as one of their #BKPDpartner’s who returned the favour, with a post promoting their food – for a high price. Whilst it questionable whether the star actually eats Burger King, the important thing is that her many fans will now go buy Burger King to be just like her.
It’s called influencing for a reason
Influencer marketing is quickly becoming the go to strategy for businesses, as 49 percent of consumers seek purchase guidance from social media influencers3. Nearly all brands have some form of online presence through marketing, as both big and small companies can benefit from the social media approach. Big brands can use it to increase their ever expanding reach, such as crossing the pond to go from national to international, and lesser known companies can use influencers to protect themselves from obscurity.
For businesses to remain relevant in the modern age, they need to have a trustworthy online presence to secure customer loyalty. Influencer marketing provides a shortcut for any brand, as by getting influencers to share your content will put your brand in front of new, loyal audience4. This shortcut can create an all-inclusive community in which customers can mimic the posts with hashtags and photos, furthering promoting the business content and brand loyalty.
L’Oréal have been a company that has kept up with and encouraged this social media marketing advance. The beauty brand recently assembled its own ‘beauty squad’, a collection of YouTube beauty bloggers with a combined fan following of 5 million – the majority of which are young girls. The brand influencers regularly test out and promote their beauty products onto their audience; keeping L’Oréal current within the younger demographic and building a relationship with future consumers.
Being picky has never been so important
The key part of understanding influencer marketing is that it has surpassed the ‘one post one cheque’ type of contractual relationship5, into a long term relationship in which the influencer becomes synonymous with the brand. Hence why it is crucial that businesses are extremely selective when choosing an influencer, as they will become a representative for the business and the values it holds.
An example of a successful collaboration is between Glaceau’s Smart Water and Hollywood’s Jennifer Aniston. Since 2007 the star has been a spokesperson for the drink, promoting to her fans that if you want to look like her you need to drink Smart Water. The Jennifer Aniston effect catapulted Smart Water into mainstream consumption and managed to make water seem more appealing than ever before. The relationship proved so successful that Jennifer has become a highly desired influencer, and now additionally has partnerships with Emirates airline and Aveeno Skincare.
The future of influencer marketing
2017 presents a year full of new technology and new marketing opportunities, with influencer marketing being one of the front runners. Whilst the strategy has many benefits, as it becomes more mainstream there is a danger of brand loyalty disappearing, due to oversaturation of paid posts. This is why it is important the both brands and influencers are selective when choosing who they want to be associated with, to ensure that they remain authentic to the public eye.