Many relate influencer marketing to the sponsored posts we so often come across when scrolling through our instagram feeds, but there is much more to this marketing technique. As with many forms of marketing, the level of return, consumer satisfaction and cost vary when looking at the different ways to implement influencer marketing. So, what are the different ways brands and agencies can implement influencer marketing? The one we have already mentioned, sponsored posts or paid partnerships, you also have brand ambassadors, platform takeovers and product collaborations.
Sponsored Posts/Paid Partnership
Sponsored posts or as they are sometimes called on Instagram, paid partnerships, involve a brand paying an influencer to advertise their product or service on their personal social media page. For the brand the benefits are simple, exposing their brand to the influencers following which will hopefully convert to sales due to the audience trusting the influencer. Because of the specific audience that will be reached, the brand must ensure that the influencer they have chosen has an audience relevant to their product. In order to increase this reach further Instagram how now introduced sponsored post advertisements, where the brand can further push the influencers post to those who don’t directly follow them but may be interested.
This particular form of influencer marketing is a relatively quick win, as the brand is instantly pushed into the forefront of follower’s feeds. However, as the popularity of influencers rises and consumers become more aware of this form of advertising, there is a lack of trust around many posts. This was heightened with the ASA introducing the #AD and Paid Partnership tag which must be showcased when influencers are being paid. If consumers feel there is a lack of authenticity around the advertisement, they simply won’t buy.
Because of this, many influencers are being more selective about the brands they work with. Taking into consideration what their followers want to see. If they are consistently posting advertisements that don’t interest their followers, or come across as unauthentic, their followers will simply leave. And once they leave, they no longer have influencer over their purchasing decisions.
One way to add authenticity to influencer post advertising a brand or product is the relationship between the two. If an influencer becomes a brand ambassador it is likely because they champion the brand & it’s products, genuinely believing in what they are selling. It is also likely that once an influencer is an ambassador your products will end up being used so often, they will naturally find their way into posts. Not only does this mean they won’t be labelled as “paid partnerships”, but they also will be authentically viewed by the influencer’s followers. It is this authentic influence that can result in genuine sales, as well as encourage loyalty when repeatedly viewed.
Choosing who you want as an ambassador for your brand is something that can’t be taken lightly. As an ambassador becomes the face of your brand it is imperative that their views and values line up with your brand, they also need to have the right personality, look and feel that matches your brand personality and tone of voice. If they don’t, it becomes hard to believe they truly use your products and at the end of the day, this is advertising, and you brand to be perceived consistently.
When it comes to the beauty & haircare industry, something we are used to seeing is celebrities collaborating with brands to produce their own ranges or products, whether it be fragrance, lipstick or even skincare. But now we are seeing a shift, from celebrities to influencer collaborations.
We are constantly seeing brands like Morphe, ColourPop and OGX bringing influencers in on the design process for individual products or full ranges under the brands name. This allows for a genuinely authentic promotion to be created. As previously mentioned, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of Paid Partnerships which can often be conceived as an inauthentic review/promotion. Whereas, if an influencer has been included in the product design process to that extent, they are willing to put their name on the product, consumers can see the legitimate interest invested from the influencer. For brands, this level of authenticity is invaluable. Guaranteeing the influencers audience will buy into the specific collaborative product is just half of the story. Once they can see the relationship between brand and influencer is genuine, they will begin to fully buy into your brand. Creating loyal, returning customers.
As well as the influencers audience buying into the product and relationship due to the authenticity, the brand receives the benefit of unsponsored posts. As the product is the influencers creation and they want it to do well, they will naturally and willingly post an abundance of content on their personal pages relating to the product or range. So, whilst the cost of onboarding an influencer in the design process may be higher than paid promotions, whether this be through a fee or commission-based contract.
As you can see there are multiple ways a brand can work with influencers, and with this form of marketing growing at a rapid pace across many sectors, this will develop and grow the ways in which the two parties work together. With each of the current forms offering a range of benefits and disadvantages, they lend themselves differently dependant on the brand, product and influencer.
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