Growing up, watching t.v. was interrupted by commercials filled with celebrity endorsements and drives into the city were sprinkled with billboard advertisements. In this day and age, marketing has completely changed. Yes, there are still commercials with celebrities, and yes, there are still billboards with witty sayings. But, these forms of marketing are quickly being replaced with some covert new strategies fueled by the influx of technology.
Today, the everyday person is a walking endorsement. From what a person is wearing, where they are traveling to, what they are eating to where they are eating (the list could go on), people on social media have become real-time walking marketing campaigns. Companies no longer have to shell out the big bucks to attain top celebrities to endorse their products. Instead, everyday people are becoming the new norm to market and gain traction for brands, products, etc. This change has been enabled through the emergence of social media and the new reliance people have placed on it.
‘Influencers’ are now people who have amassed a large following due to creating a personal brand and lifestyle that their followers admire, can relate to or aspire to attain. These carefully curated personal brands have created an easy avenue for brands to reach out to their targeted audience. A brand would want to partner with someone that may have particular interests, personality or has a lifestyle that they would like to stand for. For example, a stylish thrifty interior decorator will probably attract followers that are trying to decorate with style yet, still on a budget. A company like HomeGoods, may partner with this ‘stylish thrifty interior decorator’ because the influencer already has a large following of people that are likely also HomeGoods’ target audience. This way HomeGoods’ is reaching out to their ‘aspirational’ shopper faster and will more likely be able to make an impact on the audience because it is coming from an influencer that the customer can obviously relate to.
Social media is allowing brands to create an experience with their customers. They can reach out to them in real time, engage with them and show them what their brand stands for. For example, people can post on their Snapchat or Instagram story, places where they may be or experiences they may be having. People can blog or Instagram about products they are using and post reviews of these products. It has almost ‘normalized’ products and companies, because it shows how an everyday person uses the product.
Social media has given birth to a whole new form of creative curation. With such a saturated market, influencers vie to create beautiful content that stands out and is appealing to their desired market. It has created new lucrative jobs and opportunities that were non-existent a few years ago. Top influencers (who are not even prior celebrities) have become household names making millions of dollars each year. This only attests to the fact of how impactful this medium has become in todays day and age.
Social media allows your customers to become your promoters by sharing their thoughts, posting about the product/brand and liking content. Because of this, it is extremely important to have a social presence and to make sure that the messages you are relaying through social media are consistent and in line with your personal brand. With that being said, creating a unique personal brand is of utmost importance. With so many brands turning to social media to promote, one must be different and stand out in such a saturated market. This is why consistency is so important. One wants to create a personal brand that their specific target audience is interested in and inspired by. This personal brand must be equally relayed through all forms of social media (Twitter, Snapchat, Blog, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.).
Despite the fact that social media has become an extremely incredible avenue for marketing, it is always important to keep looking ahead. The social media market is incredibly saturated, so it is important to be on top of new trends and to continuously be flexible.