This week I wanted to focus on what influencer marketing is, how companies choose influencers, what an “ask” sounds like, and how influencers have changed the marketing game.
What is Influencer Marketing?
By a basic Google search, Influencer marketing is defined as “a form of marketing in which focus is placed on specific key individuals (or types of individual) rather than the target market as a whole.” Influencer marketing is used in social media mostly with a large push of content. Companies want these influencers to show how they use the products in their daily life.
@takubeats has 237k followers on Instagram and recently posted in PUMA shoes and Mercedes-Benz cars. @takubeats has a specific style to their Instagram where they only post grids
For PUMA @takubeats did a set of 3 cinemographs (where it looks like a picture but one thing moves). When hiring an influencer, a company usually wants the influencer’s personal style to show through in their imagine. This makes the content look less like advertisements as seen below. (Here are the links to each individual post: 1, 2, 3)
Using influencer marketing is a great strategy for a company who is trying to gain a different kind of following for their social channels. Now instead of their product only being posted on their own channels for their few million views, they have access to thousands and millions more through influencers.
In an article in the Social Times called 10 Reasons Why Influencer Marketing is the Next Big Thing, they identify why influencer marketing is supposedly becoming a larger focus for companies. Largely, consumers now turn to popular people they trust on social channels whether a style blogger or makeup vlogger, consumers value their opinions more than those of a company. The Influencer acts as the persona that actually connects the company to the consumer on a more personal level and the purchase of products are perceived more of a lifestyle choice rather than an exchange of money for a product.
This is Logan Paul, a popular vlogger and vine personality who happens to be eating lots of Doritos in this Youtube video. The Doritos logo has a clear plug at 0:25.
I am curious about how much he is paid for this video because he claims that he is worth “three times the amount he is getting paid” in a 60 minutes segment, The Influencers. This 60 minutes segment was actually posted 2 days ago (October 23, 2016) which is ironic due to the fact I only found this halfway through writing my blog – the trend of Influencer marketing is large right now.
How Companies and Influencers Partner Up
The process of choosing influencers can be done in two ways; a company can search for people themselves or use an influencer agency. When brands search for influencers themselves, they look for people who already use their products and tag the brands. They can also look for social media presences with the lifestyle they want to portray. When a company finds influencers this way they do not have to pay commission to a middle company and they can contract the influencers individually and completely by their company’s preference. On the other hand, a company may use companies such as Instabrand, Captiv8, Fohr Card, and many others. Brands do not usually choose one and stick with that company. Typically they are in contact with multiple Influencer agencies at a time and ask for proposals, influencer examples, and cost estimates from each. Each campaign run by a brand could use a different Influencer agency based on what they are looking for. Each Influencer agency tries to have something special to pitch to their clients, for example, Captiv8 is very data heavy and chooses influencers based on statistical analysis. Instabrand has the largest network of Influencers that possess a variety in number of followers, countries they can reach, and pricing. Influencer agencies are the middle man between a brand and the influencers, even though they cost money they opportunity cost to save time and energy is usually worth it.
Once a brand chooses their Influencer agency they move to the specific influencers. Usually ,the brand tells the agency the type of influencers they are looking for with follower count, style of content, and geographical reach all within their proposed budget. The Influencer agency returns with a list of potential influencers and examples of their content for the brand to thumb through. Some conflicts include the use or contract with competing brands or timing for a specific shoot.
Next, the brand presents the influencers (or through an Influencer agency) with the “ask.” This is where the brand lays out exactly they want the influence to do – how they want their product displayed, what brands are allowed to be present, how or what they want the copy to be. The assets are contracted to be used by the influencer, the company, or both. Some photos taken by an influencer may never see the influencer’s own channel and could be solely published on company channels and vice versa.The company may specify what hashtags must be used and what must be avoided (like no #sponsored or #ad). They can also ask they the Influencer does not get into a contract with a competing brand for a few months after.
Influencer marketing is very flexible which works well for the personalization of the products. Especially with fewer to no commercials on streaming websites and ad blocking, marketers have become more creative in the ways they get their products out to the public. Also, on social media websites, people are more likely to follow Instagram stars than brands and that is where there is value in matching a person to a product. Forbes thinks there is an Influencer Gold Rush coming and wants to know if we’re ready. Who knows. The ad world may be completely virtual by the time influencer marketing hits its peak. That is the excitement with the social world – it’s always changing!