"Lazy," "entitled" and "narcissistic" – just a selection of common superlatives used to describe the millennial generation by Baby Boomers and Gen Xers alike.
All of that time spent invested in online communities, sharing content, and amassing followers has finally begun to provide a nice return for a niche group of people primarily comprised of millenials. Answering to the title of social media influencers, these individuals have worked hard to shed the millenial generation’s stereotypes and establish themselves as content gatekeepers in a newer style of brand marketing called influencer marketing.
What is Influencer Marketing:
Influencer marketing is a style of marketing where brands can expand their reach and increase their relevancy across social media platforms through a social media influencer’s posts, shares, and videos.
In her TedTalk from this past summer, researcher Rachel Botsman elaborated on technology’s impact on relationships when she said, “Technology is creating new mechanisms that are enabling us to trust unknown people, companies and ideas […] For you to leap from a place of certainty, to take a chance on that someone or something unknown, you need a force to pull you over the gap, and that remarkable force is trust.” This same concept can be applied to influencer marketing.
An influencer is an individual who has some sort of social media “IT factor” - whether it’s lifestyle blog, a comedic six-second video on Vine, a beautifully filtered image on Instagram with relevant hashtags, or a quick "story" video on Snapchat. Due to their popularity and loyal fanbase, these influencers have become trusted thought leaders as well as their own brand. An influencer becomes a brand from sharing and monetizing daily activities which, in turn, has gains the attention of thousands of followers due to the original content they’ve shared across social networks.
A stunning example of an influencer is the Mother of Influence, Kim Kardashian West. From the incredible success of her reality television show, clothing lines, Kimoji mobile app, and numerous other endeavors, she has become a powerhouse, world-wide brand - which has allowed her to sell her fame, her style, her likeness as the product.
A B2B Marketing Example:
Kim Kardashian promoting Sugar Bear Hair gummy vitamins:
Just like Kim Kardashian, other influencers, have found innovative ways to leverage marketing campaigns. Their special connection with their audience has not gone unnoticed by brands. Now, brands pay enormous sums of money – sometimes millions of dollars – for a social media star to influence their followers through postings— and persuade them to buy products. The content they post is quickly devoured by their followers and rapidly disseminated across social media platforms in a cost-effective way previously unseen in the traditional marketing world.
Is Influencer Marketing for B2B Worth It?
Considering the fact that influencers have their own built-in network of social media ninjas to help amplify brand messaging, it may be worth a shot on the B2B side! Especially when you consider that online reviews and recommendations play a powerful role in a buyer’s purchasing decision.
From a B2B perspective, influencer marketing provides unique partnerships. A Beautiful Mess (ABM) recently created sponsored content for the paint company, Annie Sloan. ABM wrote a step-by-step DIY blog post on how to create a gorgeous DIY rainbow accent wall using Annie Sloan’s multi-colored chalk paints. Within the post, the bloggers included links back to their sponsor, Annie Sloan as well as beautiful pictures of the painting process along with photos of the finished rainbow statement wall.
Followers of ABM who were previously unfamiliar with Annie Sloan prior to the publication of this blog post are now introduced to a new brand. The 400+ social media shares on the post has created new brand awareness for Annie Sloan. This post satisfies both the DIY-ers looking for accent wall ideas and those seeking out a reliable chalk paint supplier. Ideally, it’s a win-win situation and partnership for both brands!
What to Pay a B2B Marketing Influencer?
Wondering if paying an influencer will break your brand’s bank? Rates differ depending on varying factors like the amount of postings and the influencer's popularity. Check out Who Pays Influencers for an inside look on the types of postings and how much non-celebrity influencers were compensated.
Influencer Marketing Tips for Brands:
- Develop relationships with influencers first before asking them to support your brand
- Make sure your content format aligns with the preferred style of your influencer of choice as this will generate maximum engagement amongst their followers. Whatever they are promoting from your brand must be something that is not out of their normal range of discussed topics.
- Pay close attention to the FTC guidelines regarding sponsored posts. Influencers, like fosterhunting's post below, must disclose if content is sponsored. Often this is done by the influencer labeling their sponsored posts with "paid content" and/or adding a relevant hashtag like #ad or #sponsored
The social media influenza spreading across our social networks shows no signs of decline anytime soon. But it's not too late - your brand can join the influencer movement, just like Annie Sloan, Sugar Bear Hair, and other brands have done. A great social media influencer will help your brand gain followers and brand awareness, get your brand’s information shared with unique audiences, and in turn, help drive new followers back to your company’s website where they will hopefully become new clients or customers.