Social media has quickly become one of the most popular and effective means of promoting, marketing, and advertising a new product. Many social media users have capitalized on the popularity of social media as a source of information by branding themselves as ‘social media influencers’.
What is a Social Media Influencer?
An influencer is someone who has established credibility in a specific industry. They have access to a large audience/following and can persuade others through their authenticity and reach.
Social media influencers have worked hard to brand themselves. They sell their looks, their lifestyle, and access to their lives. Followers can see what influencers like, where they travel, how they live, who they share their lives with, what their hobbies are, and for our purposes, what products they use/endorse. Their identity gives authenticity, which is something that businesses and brands can use to market their products or they can use to create their own brands.
Influencers who have grown their following have the opportunity to capitalize. There are three primary ways of doing this: affiliate programs, sponsored posts, or creating their own brand.
An affiliate program is where a company will have the influencer post/promote their product and provide them with a specific code or link to share with their audience. For every person who sees the promotion and uses the code/clicks the link and makes a purchase, the influencer gets an agreed upon commission. This is a safer way to work with an influencer because you are only paying them based on the sales they generate.
Sponsored posts are where the influencer is delivered a flat fee for a post/promotion of a product. This means they are paid an agreed upon amount to advertise a company’s product to their audience regardless of any sales generated by the influencer. Unfortunately, there are no analytics here, so your business won’t be able to track how effective your partnership was in generating sales. This type of influencer partnership is most effective for brand awareness.
Creating Your Own Brand
Now that influencers have realized the reach they have, many have been creating their own brands to fully capitalize on their followings. Creating your own brand gives you full control to create a brand image that goes along perfectly with your current audience. Influencers also receive the full profits instead of just a commission.
For example, Kylie Jenner launched her lip kits that would sell out so quickly the site would crash less than an hour after a new launch. Jersey Shore’s Snooki launched a line of bedroom slippers and followed it up with her Snooki branded clothing line. Comic strip account Catana Comics grew to such fame that they created a bound book version of their relationship themed strips and also offer prints. If you’re looking for more of an A-lister, model Kendall Jenner endorses Givenchy, a high end designer clothing and accessory brand. It is estimated that she makes $1 million per sponsored post. This is all based on the brand she has created for herself.
Launches like Kylie Jenner’s lip kits would not be possible if she wasn’t in full control of her brand. She utilizes scarcity to ensure her launches are huge successes because people know they only have one opportunity to get her lip kits. Without this level of control her lip kits would be just another beauty product that is forgotten about as soon as the next fad comes around. Instead she’s able to relaunch her product with the same level of audience enthusiasm that creates the next fads instead of playing catch up to keep up with fads.
As you can see aligning your product with your audience can help launch you to an entirely new level of visibility. This is the marketing of our future. Social media is a constantly updated source of everything and everyone that is new and hot.