The Rise of Influencer Marketing

by Rachel Whitfield, Digital Strategist for Vivid Creative

Marketing and advertising are constantly evolving and changing. In the most recent decades, we have seen social media completely change the world and the ways that companies are able to reach their ideal consumer. If you’re a business in 2018 and you aren’t familiar with the term “influencer marketing,” you will be soon.

When you think Influencer Marketing, think brand ambassadors on steroids. Influencers are not only people with a significant social media following, but they are also salespeople who, over time, establish credibility with their followers, which in turn allows them to influence the purchasing decisions of those followers. How is it changing the game? The majority of the time, these Influencers aren’t celebrities - they’re real people who are passionate about the brand they are endorsing.

With companies like Facebook and Instagram recently making significant changes in their advertising policies (making it more difficult for brands and businesses to reach their consumers), it’s safe to say that influencer marketing will slowly become more and more prominent. Of course, with this shift we will also most likely see the addition of regulations on what companies can and can’t do when it comes to publishing sponsored posts via influencers. In 2017, the FTC contacted more than 90 influencers to remind them to be completely transparent with their consumers about which brands they are promoting or endorsing. This is something that business would be smart to keep in mind when participating in this form of marketing.

What types of businesses are thriving in the age of Influencer Marketing, you ask? If you’re active on social media (and Instagram in particular), you won’t be surprised to know that in 2017, about 84% of Influencers were women in the fashion accessory, beauty and cosmetics industries.

Let’s Talk Success Stories

One company in particular, Fashion Nova, built their entire online brand around their Influencers on Instagram. In just three years, the California-based fashion company grew to over 600 employees. While they are now sponsored by celebrities like Kylie Jenner, this is not their core marketing strategy as they continue to employ over a thousand Influencers to promote their brand.

Glossier, recently named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies of 2017, employs a similar strategy by using real women to tell the stories of their brand. Glossier also developed a referral program that allows their more influential women (i.e. Influencers) to offer discounts and incentives.

Southwest Airlines was able to use Influencer Marketing to their advantage by employing a genius marketing strategy. When making the decision to expand their worldwide reach to 12 exotic destinations, the team at Southwest had to find a way to promote this expansion to the best of their ability. Their strategy involved, you guessed it, Influencers. They chose 12 Influencers to send to each of the 12 new destinations, with the task to document their journey on every form of social media. The results came in and it’s easy to see why this campaign was a success - they reached over 100 million people in just 20 days.

Let’s Get Started

Do you see where we’re going with this? Fashion, beauty, air travel -  the possibilities for Influencer Marketing are endless.

The process for getting started with Influencer Marketing is simple, but research is at the forefront. Who are your consumers following? What are they passionate about? Don’t just focus on Instagram, they’re everywhere. The key to Influencer Marketing is finding authentic people who you believe would be passionate about your brand. You know that Influencer Marketing can grow your brand and increase your reach, so what are you waiting for?