Social Influencers: The New Wave of Brand Marketing
Jones, K. 2016. ‘Social Media Influencers the New Marketing Darlings’ in The Sydney Morning Herald posits that “social media influencers are the new darlings of the marketing world”. Typically, social influencers are considered online personalities with more than 5000 real followers across social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram. They not only frequent beautiful aesthetic-driven images of their unique lifestyles and favourite foods, clothing or beauty products, but these online moguls also hold real influence in generating sales for the brands they post about online.
Sarah Hamilton, CEO of subscription beauty brand company Bellabox, is just one of many that has embraced this new wave social media marketing and brand marketing as a new strategy. The reason being is that, for many corporate heads, marketing efforts are often employed to associate their brand or product offering with the right target audience. In the past, this used to mean millions of dollars in advertising – which is traditionally hard to measure for direct ROI. However, recent advancements in digital marketing, and companies such as TRIBE and Collabosaurus who coined themselves as “the marketplace for social influencers, and the brands that need them”, are now offering a platform for brands to directly measure not only their ROI, but other metrics like: engagement, click through rate and audience demographics.
For small businesses, there’s heaps of influencers out there who will speak and connect directly to their niche without the premium rates as they build their own social following online. Victorian baking blogger Lucy Mathieson leads over 50,000 Facebook followers and has gained interest from big name brands like Mission Foods, Old El Paso and Breville. Her new-found success as a social influencer meant she could quit her job as a primary school teacher and reap in a six-figure income as reward for a creative hobby she now proudly boasts as her full-time job. For Mathieson, the challenge moving forward will undoubtedly be finding the balance of maintaining her own brand (integrity) whilst also advocating her affiliate brands who pay based on the return they expect to receive from a post or campaign project.
Brands looking to engage and sell to the “right” masses can utilise online platforms like TRIBE and Collabosaurus who represent authentic advocacy, initiating from a brand posting a brief to an Influencer segment aligned to their product. This ensures influencers promote products they already love and so remain authentic business partnerships.