Online content creators became pillars of nearly every successful marketing approach as influencer marketing blossomed into an industry worth more than $13.5 billion globally in 2021.
This shift in the digital landscape made one thing clear: Consumers now want to follow people—not companies.
Marketers don’t have to look hard to find influencers—studies show more than 500,000 exist on Instagram alone. The challenge is finding the right ones and following the necessary steps to maximize their content on social media.
Partner with brand-aligned creators
Consumers can sniff out transactional influencer relationships from a mile away. As a result, partnerships should only occur when a creator knows a brand, uses its products, and truly believes in both.
“Don’t pay for people who are just going to spout your name,” said Bonjoro Founder Matt Barnes. “If [your creators] don’t believe in what you do, people will see through it.”
For example, Organifi’s early influencer marketing efforts fell flat after the California-based superfoods company opened up its program to anyone with enough time to fill out an application and claim a discount code. But despite a hulking roster, almost none of the company’s creators aligned closely with Organifi’s customer persona.
As a result, the marketing team hit pause on its entire program and completely revamped its strategy. Organifi kept only 10 influencers from its initial roster and honed in on new creators who fully encapsulated the brand’s mission and values.
“We realized [our program] wasn’t hitting the goal we wanted,” said Organifi Founder Drew Canole. “The ambassadors we have now are so quality and such a great fit that our revenue numbers are higher than ever.”
Leverage creators as brand storytellers
Every brand has a story. The key is finding the right way to tell it.
A brand story draws people in, excites them, and generates the desire to take action. Creators are the perfect partners to help spread the word, but it’s up to the brand to give them the tools to succeed.
“Treat influencers the same way you train salespeople,” said Movetic CEO Josh Roush. “Take the time to chat with them about who you are as a brand. Talk about your products and why they are unique. Make sure influencers have all the right information they need to be effective with their audience.”
Allow creative freedom
More than 75% of influencers say that creative freedom is essential to brand partnerships. Don’t stifle their creativity. Stay flexible and let your influencers work their marketing magic.
“A pet peeve of mine is when a brand told you they want you to be creative, but then they send you the brief, and it’s so structured that it doesn’t allow for any creative freedom,” said Hispana Global CEO Jeannette Kaplun. “If you don’t allow that freedom from your creator, I think your campaign is going to suffer.”
Marketers have to treat their influencers as trusted partners. Clear goals and deliverables are critical to keeping everyone on the same page, but creators need the freedom to produce content in their own way.
“Brands are asking [creators] to weigh in and be a part of the journey,” Roush said. “They are also giving influencers the freedom to tell the story that resonates with their specific audience.”
Cultivate long-term partnerships
One-off creator partnerships always have a place in influencer marketing, but long-term relationships nurture the most genuine connections and drive the highest returns.
Like any relationship, brand-influencer partnerships thrive on mutual respect and open dialogue. But it doesn’t happen overnight.
Sabrina Medert, a senior social media strategist with Vera Bradley, said she spends about 90% of her time communicating with influencers and collaborating on content that best resonates with consumers.
“I do think that the influencers become our friends—they become people we can rely on,” she said. “And then, at the same time, they can rely on us, too. Because that’s what you do with your friends. That’s what you do with your relationships.”
Invest in creator management tools
A young influencer marketing program can succeed with a manual approach to campaign management. But as it grows, the right creator management tools become critical for discovering brand-aligned creators, managing content, nurturing relationships, analyzing campaign success, and automating busywork.
“You absolutely need a platform,” said Allison Brown, an influencer marketing manager at Bulletproof 360. “I cannot stress that enough.”
Along with hundreds of major brands like Allbirds, MVMT Watches, and Cuts Clothing, Brown uses GRIN’s all-in-one Creator Management platform to run her influencer marketing campaigns at scale. Regardless of what type of creator brands work with, the GRIN platform makes the process easy, enabling brands to cut work hours in half and scale their program tenfold.
Eventually, every influencer marketer will need to invest in the tools that enable them to treat creators like their brand revolves around them. Because in the creator economy, it does.
Social media businesses look out, here comes Chat GPT
XiaoIce has pioneered a cutting-edge artificial intelligence system designed to create emotional bonds with its 660 million users worldwide. — © AFP
From the explosion of TikTok to the fall of Twitter, the social media industry has experienced some seismic changes over the past 12 months. Next year promises to be no different. How are those who rely on social media for businesses purposes to navigate through the turmoil ahead?
Luke Lintz, CEO of Highkey Enterprises, a multinational social media marketing firm, has told Digital Journal about the top three social media trends he expects to see in 2023.
Short-Form Video Content Will Dominate
Lintz observes the rise in video shorts and sees this trend as one that is likely to continue. Here he says: “The number one trend in the digital marketing landscape next year will be the emphasis and prioritization of short-form video content.”
This is because: “Social Media platforms’ competition for attention with short-form content has been the epicentre of 2022 and will continue to be the focus in 2023. People’s attention spans are ever-decreasing, and social media users quite often don’t have time to sit down and watch a 10-minute video and would rather watch a short video tailored to what they like to watch rather than a picture.”
Using example, Lintz finds: “This is why we have seen Instagram change its newsfeed and algorithms to favour Instagram Reels content in competition with Tik Tok. We have also seen a massive prioritization of YouTube Shorts in their fight against the lost attention to Tik Tok. In 2023 we will see very large incentive problems for top YouTube shorts, Tik Tok and Instagram Reel creators to incentivize the best creators to stay on the platform. For creators and business owners, they must strategize ways to incorporate short-form video content into their content plans to stay relevant.”
Social Media Users Will Turn Their Back On The Algorithm
This could be the age of new media. Lintz says: “Burnt out by the pressure of chasing “likes” and constantly trying to add new followers, a growing share of social media users will turn to smaller platforms in 2023. Sites like Discord, Mastodon, Geneva, Substack and Patreon emphasize community building in private spaces.”
In terms of the cultural change driving this, Lintz says: “A search for safe spaces and nostalgia for the Internet of the early 2000s — when the word “algorithm” wasn’t part of everyone’s vocabulary — has fuelled interest in these more intimate digital environments. Expect to see people look for smaller social media platforms that they have more control over.”
ChatGPT Will Revolutionize Social Media Management Companies
There is one new item of technology that is set to bring with it significant change. Lintz predicts: “Chat GPT (‘generating pre-training’) is not only the best artificial intelligence chatbot ever released to the general public, it also promises to usher in a new era for social media management companies, including HighKey Enterprises. The AI chatbot will take over basic writing tasks, thereby eliminating the need for human creativity to create new social media content.”
Social media businesses look out, here comes Chat GPT
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