With the rise in the use of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, social influencers and influencer marketing has emerged as a major channel utilised by brands to advertise their products.
Celebrity endorsements are not a new phenomenon, in fact, some of the first celebrity endorsements were royal endorsements of products to convey their quality and value, and date back to the mid-eighteenth century.
Nowadays, celebrity endorsements and collaborations are constantly on our screens, from the big screen in the cinema to the television screen and the screen in your hand. With the rise in social media comes a new method of marketing, influencer marketing. Forbes defines influencer marketing as a “form of marketing that identifies and targets individuals with influence over others,” these “individuals” are commonly referred to as social influencers.
With the decline in television audiences due to the increased presence in online on-demand streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, and an abundance of social media users now installing internet browser extensions such as Adblock Plus, the need for new and alternative advertising methods has been recognised by major brands, working with social influencers is one of these methods.
These social influencers vary from high profile celebrities, models, musicians and sports stars to more “organic” social influencers who have grown their own following online through social media channels and blogging. Forbes contributor, Deborah Weinswig wrote in October, “influencers are the golden children of marketing strategies right now.”
CEO of MuseFind, a company whose software connects brands to consumers through influencers’ content, said in a Forbes article: “Influencer economy is based on the economy of trust. What this means is, as a follower, I can just as easily unfollow an influencer as I can follow them. So I could say, ‘I’m not going to follow this influencer anymore because I feel like she’s not working with brands that are really high quality.’ On the positive side, that means the brands that do get to work with influencers create much higher purchase intent with their customers.”
The impact some higher profile influencers can have was showcased in June 2015 when Kylie Jenner posted a selfie holding a bottle of Cocoa Brown tanning lotion and praised the Irish product in the photo description, resulting in the product completely selling out in stores across the United States.
Celebrities with a status as high as Jenner’s reportedly receive payments of up to $300,000 per post when brands seek their endorsements; this shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the huge number of followers the likes of Jenner have on their social media accounts.
However, according to Candy Harris, the Executive Vice President of the women’s division of Stance Socks, in an article on the Forbes website: “it’s not about numbers or [the influencer’s] popularity, it’s about how we can take the best of what we have to offer and combine it with their unique point of view.” In the same article, Karen Robinovitz, co-founder of The Digital Brand Architects, explained how specific campaigns require specific audience reaches and just because an influencer has fewer followers does not meant their price is lower as they still have access to the brand’s target audience.
Another reason for working with a specific influencer is that influencer’s relevance to the brand, Sarah Jones from Luxury Daily explained that it’s not always the follower count which matters, relevance to the brand is more important than an influencer’s follower count, especially for luxury brands according to influencer relationship management company Traackr.
It’s not just the brands who are choosing to bear this in mind when working with influencers, as the influencers also want to work with brand’s they can identify with. Youtube star Ricky Dillon is proof of this as he said in a piece on The New York Times website that a brand suiting his image “is still a big concern for me, I pass down a lot of brand deals.”
With the likes of Ayelett Noff of Blonde 2.0, Francis Trapp from Brandnew, and Meagen Eisenberg of Mongo DB lined up to speak at DTS 2017, attendees who are looking for further insight into influencer marketing will certainly get their fill of information.