Social media is flexible and can be utilized in different ways for various intentions. I personally tend to use Instagram and Pinterest the most, perhaps because it’s easier and faster to look at an image than it is to read an entire article. Facebook has become less useful for me. Instagram accounts tend to have a specific theme (dog lovers, yoga enthusiasts, fashionistas) and attract certain followers and most of the users I follow on the platform are people I have never met. I think of Facebook as a way to look at the past and see what friends from 20 years ago are up to now, and I see Instagram as inspiration for where I want my life to go. Facebook allows a user to provide so much information – almost too much – about a person, where Instagram only allows users a few words to describe themselves with no links allowed in any posts to mitigate spam. Having 3,000 “friends” on Facebook and getting overloads of posts I am not particularly interested in (politics, drinking) equates to a waste of time and adds no value to my life. With Instagram, every post I see is intentionally picked by me regardless if they are a “friend” or not. To send a stranger a friend request on Facebook is considered creepy, while being followed by a stranger on Instagram is a compliment. It’s an opportunity to see inside the life of an interesting person’s life and perspectives that I normally would probably never run into in my daily life.
Depending on my mood, I can easily go to Pinterest or Instagram and find what I need. If I need some cheering up, I go to Pinterest and look at inspirational quotes or Instagram and look at pictures of bichon poo puppies (I have one of my own too). When I’m looking for advice on being a woman in the finance field, I can go to one of the motivational women’s pages. The list goes on. I also do most of my online shopping now via Instagram posts or Pinterest instead of going to department store websites directly. I’ve stopped my subscription to Glamour magazine because I can get inspiring stories, fashion tips, makeup recommendations, country music news, and fitness advice through my social media platforms. I’m more likely to buy an article of clothing if I see it on a favorite celebrity’s Instagram than if I was to see it on a hanger in the store.
I launched a brand of athleisure wear last year and want to start using social media as a way to grow my business. In June of this year, I reached out to various bloggers and Instagram accounts to offer free merchandise and/or to see if they would consider featuring my clothes on their website and social media accounts. The effort paid off and a popular blogger wore one of my sweatshirts in an Instagram post and included it in a giveaway the same month. The post increase traffic to my website and caught the eye of my sister’s friend on Facebook who owns a Pure Barre Studio. Since then I have done three pop-up shops at her studio with more planned for the future. My goal for the rest of this year is to reach out to more bloggers and Instagrammers to spread the word and gain more followers to my account. With more followers, I can potentially get more sales and increase my revenue.
Advertisers have quickly adapted to social media users habits and managed to infiltrate the system. Social media and popular bloggers have now been given the power to get paid to promote items. Many bloggers I reached out to sent me a media kit, which includes information like how many unique visitors they receive a year and how many followers they have. The average going rate I saw for a blogger to write about a product and recommend it was around $200. That price isn’t so bad if you acquire new customers and sell merchandise, but it’s disappointing if there is a low ROI. When I have picked this route, which hasn’t been often, its also important to pick bloggers that have the right target audience for my products. I usually stick to yoga enthusiasts, life coaches, and generally happy people. It’s safe to say if you are a blogger and have a strong following, you have the potential to make lots of money recommending other’s products. Then again, there are bloggers I reached out to who prefer to keep their site 100% their own and do not do any promotions. I am now much more aware of spotting sponsored posts on websites and social media than I was a year ago. Even Snapchat now has sponsored filters (that are wildly addicting and will suck up your time) that companies can purchase for around $500,000 a day, and Tinder sponsors advertisements while people are swiping for their next date. It would probably be smart for clothing companies to advertise date-night dresses or local restaurants to offer coupons on the dating app to promote sales and inspire more dates.
Overall, the advertising landscape has definitely changed and it is imperative for companies to adapt if they want to reach millennial target audiences.