Influencer Marketing With the Rise of Social Media

With the explosion of social media in today’s world, new marketing and promotional strategies have emerged. Social media has paved the way for brands to reach a mass amount of potential customers, but what is the best way to do that? Influencer Marketing has become vital to brand success and has become a prominent form of improving brand recognition and value as well as bolstering sponsorship campaigns.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing has become a branch of endorsement, mainly on the social media side. Influencer marketing involves brands partnering with popular social media personalities that can assist in promoting their products and bolstering their sponsorship campaigns. In addition to promoting the brand themselves, a social media influencer is someone who has an established base of followers who trust them, thus making their endorsements more valuable to the brand.

These types of partnerships can be beneficial to both the brand and their sponsorship as well as the social influencer. Brands are able to create more exposure to their product while influencers, in addition to getting paid by the brand, are able to use the brand and its product to create content for their followers, even if it is in the form of an endorsement. An influencer can be anyone with a wide social following, perhaps a gamer with a strong twitch following or a well-respected chef who routinely posts cooking videos on Instagram, the possibilities are endless as long as the person is, of course, influential. 

How Brands Can Find the Best Influencers

While it is important to understand what makes an influencer an influencer, it is more important to identify the right social influencers that will be the most beneficial to a brand and its product. The first step is identifying influencers that create content relevant to their industry and product, if you’re Gatorade it probably isn’t the best idea to partner with a social media influencer who focuses primarily on fashion. After identifying which influencers are most relevant, a brand will want to look at how large the influencer’s reach is.

  • Do they have a large number of followers?
  • Are those followers part of their target customer base?

Questions like these need to be asked if a brand is going to find the best social influencer for them. An influencer may have a lot of followers but they might not be the type of people a brand wants to sell to, or perhaps an influencer has a core group of followers that are perfect for their brand and product but they only have a handful of followers. Finding a balance here is key to brand awareness and recognition. Once a brand has identified a relevant influencer who has a large number of followers that are core to their target audience, they then need to make sure the influencer is posting engaging content. If an influencer is posting content that generates few interactions with followers with low views, then a brand’s product is not going to get the exposure it needs. If a social influencer has a ton of relevant followers but most of those followers are just sifting through and not actually paying attention to the posts because the content isn’t engaging, then the brand is not going to get the exposure they are paying for. 

Another element brands need to look for is share of voice. Are their brand and product getting mentioned by the influencer without having to battle with other brands? If an influencer is displaying multiple brands and products at the same time or is discussing and explaining multiple brands at the same time then there is a clash between the two and the value of the promotion will be weakened. Influencers that give a brand and their product a solid share of voice will be a lot more valuable to the brand’s sponsorship campaign. A lot goes into a brand being able to find the most effective influencer, by using these tips a brand will be able to get the most return on investment from a partnership with an influencer.

Influencer Marketing In Action

The Good – Google – Google does it all right, they are one of the biggest companies in the world and have also had wildly successful influencer marketing campaigns. One example comes from the promotion of their Pixelbook laptop. Google partnered with @thesorrygirls, popular DIY Instagramers. In this campaign, the girls created a sponsored post promoting the giveaway of a Pixelbook laptop. In order to enter the giveaway, contestants had to like and comment on what they would do with the laptop if they won. The contest brought a tremendous amount of engagement to her Instagram page and thus brought a ton of traffic to the promotion of the Pixelbook. This is a perfect example of how Google was able to execute a successful influencer marketing partnership.

The Bad – Listerine – As with all success stories, there is always an equivalent set of failures. One example of influencer marketing gone wrong was when Listerine partnered with Scarlett Dixon to promote their mouth wash. Scarlett Dixon posted an Instagram post of her posing on her bed with a bottle of Listerine on her bedside table. The post received backlash for being fake and looking entirely too staged. Many people commented on how much they disliked the post. This is a prime example of a promoted post not resonating well with the audience. Perhaps Listerine misjudged the audience it was trying to reach, and while the post was definitely engaging, it was engaging for all the wrong reasons, leading to an unsuccessful influencer marketing campaign.

Why It Matters

Social media has opened up a ton of new opportunities for brands to expand their marketing and sponsorship campaigns, influencer marketing is a key aspect of that. If brands are not able to adapt and leverage social media and its influencers to their advantage, they risk falling behind their competitors. Proper deployment of influencer marketing will lead to stronger brand exposure and recognition. Influencer marketing is vital to long term brand success and Hookit can make the identification of potential influencers easier and more effective. 

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Written by Garrett Mosher

Garrett is entering his 4th year at San Diego State University. He is pursuing a degree in economics with a minor in information systems and has acquired skills in business, data analytics, and marketing. As a product marketing intern with Hookit, he has learned how to analyze the effectiveness of sports sponsorships with an emphasis on how brands drive value from their ambassadors.