Influencer marketing is an exciting new trend that uses the popularity of self made Internet celebrities to cost effectively deliver a message to a broad audience. It’s becoming more common and accepted as an actual career for people with large social media followings, especially on Instagram, YouTube and Vine, platforms that reach the huge and important millennial market. At the same time it is changing the nature of advertising by creating highly trusted new channels for sharing your messages.
Celebrity endorsements are an ancient concept. The cult of personality elevates some individuals to positions of trust in our society. This is being taken to a new level with the prevalence of social media outlets where people can become “famous” rapidly, building huge followings of loyal fans that have a personal investment in the messages they transmit. This is a naturally evolving thing that is like lightning in a bottle – and very hard for companies to reproduce on their own.
Most people ignore marketing unless it is repeated multiple times, with the majority of advertising efforts inefficient and ineffective unless a huge budget is available to inundate the market. With influencer marketing that excitement, that loyalty, and that personal investment the crowd feels for these individuals can be leveraged for very some effective results.
Because influencer marketing involves private individuals, it can also be easier to work out cost effective contracts for advertising and display. Depending on their popularity and how local your intended audience, they may not have an agent or any experience dealing with paid marketing arrangements. Often the building of their community will just be a hobby, making payment a bonus that helps to deal with bandwidth costs or simply keep their enthusiasm high.
There are, however, new firms that work specifically as middlemen arranging contracts with the rock stars of influencer marketing. These firms, including Style Coalition, Izea Marketing, Seen and SVerve, provide access to people with tens or hundreds of thousands of followers on their Instagram or YouTube channels.
Another advantage of influencer marketing is that it can happen at every budget level. Online fame is a sliding scale based on followers, friends, likes, pluses, and other forms of visible social currency. Basically, the more people pay attention to these “celebrities,” the more powerful their messages can be. You can even find smaller social media stars willing to post your tweet, message or video for as little as five dollars.
How To Find Celebrities For Influencer Marketing
Most social media outlets proudly display the number of people paying attention to any one individual or group. Images can be liked on Instagram or Facebook, or Plus One’d on Google. YouTube and Vine shows the number of views, and Twitter shows the number of followers. All of the major networks have simple metrics that give you a rough idea of how many people are paying attention to any one account. That makes it easy to find prospective influential candidates.
Influencer marketing also lets you get specific, since most social media celebrities have a particular niche or topic that they are known for. That allows you to match your advertising message to their content, ensuring a more captivating and enthusiastic audience.
Who Is Using Influencer Marketing?
Organizations large and small are using influencer marketing: The Milk Council employed these methods in their famous “Got Chocolate Milk?” campaign that featured the Pittsburg Steelers using chocolate milk as part of their nutrition routine. BMW, Sprint, and Harry Potter have also successfully used influencer marketing to promote both their products and corporate brands. But even for local firms and nonprofits, this approach has tons of potential.
Is influencer marketing right for you? Let’s talk – it just may be the best next step for your 2015 marketing and communications strategy!
Image credit: PlayGen