Influencer marketing is the endorsement of brands by well-known personalities like celebrities, bloggers, trendsetters, etc. Celebrities partner with brands to become the “Face” of the brand. For example, who comes to your mind when you see the brand Tommy Hilfiger? Definitely not Hilfiger himself, but Gigi Hadid, who models all of his designs and has even collaborated with the brand to create a line by herself that goes by the name TommyxGiGi. That being said, getting celebrities on board is real work, with their tight schedules and not to forget, exorbitant fees. This is where social media influencers make an entry.
As an answer from the heavens, social media made its way into the digital world and brought along with it the rise of social media influencers. Instead of celebrities, brands now focus on top regional influencers to represent their brand.
One may wonder: why would brands opt for influencers when celebrities could grant them greater exposure and profit?
Expensive. Getting celebrities to represent your brand is extremely expensive. The more “influential” the person is, the higher the fees will be. Kim Kardashian charges a whopping $500,000 per sponsored post. Compare this to the industry standard of $763 per post for influencers having over 100,000 followers. Crazy, right? This is the reason brands prefer regional influencers.
Renowned brands can have more than one influencer from a region. They have, however, come across some influencers that hike their rates to match celebrities. This was the reason the industry set the standard fee at $763.
Brands consider the following factors when deciding on the fees:
- Social Media Platform
- Direct Partnership or Agency
SPONSORED POSTS OR #AD
Ever come across posts of bloggers posting the perfect flat lay (visual content of objects artistically placed and shot from the bird’s-eye view) and a caption along the lines, “This is the best product I’ve tried [skin]. I highly recommend it!” while tagging the brand? This is, most likely, a sponsored post.
Instagram recently introduced the much-needed rule, where if a brand has confirmed a relationship with an influencer, the related posts should have #ad included in their caption, with the paid partnership title at the top of the image.
CULT FOLLOWING – ORGANIC OR PAID?
The authenticity of followers has become a growing concern. We come across accounts with less than 10 posts but more than 100,000 followers. This indicates that the account/company has “bought” its followers.
Buying followers and likes is an easy and immediate way to increase rankings in social media. The cheapest rate in the market is $30 for an instant increase of 1000 followers. However, the increase does not indicate real engagement. Behind the likes and comments are individuals who are least interested in your product and this affects your work, product, and most importantly, account authenticity.
The practice of buying followers was soon caught on with as people started identifying the overnight increase in number with no active posts to match the same. Fake and spam social media accounts that have high follower count, but no real content are ultimately taken down by the concerned authorities.
Hence, brands should look for influencers that have high real-time and daily engagement (likes, comments, and retweets) instead of focusing on follower count. Take the case of celebrities. They have millions of followers, but we rarely see them reply to comments on their posts. On the other hand, influencers interact with their followers, replying to comments and building a relationship in the course.
THE REAL QUESTION: ARE SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCERS OVERRATED?
What is defined as overrated? Any person or thing that gets recognition beyond required or deserved. Is the social media influencer hype unnecessary? Honestly, it depends. Answering the following basic questions can give a little insight on whether the hype is real or not.
- Is the influencer partnering with brands that relate to his/her niche or are they taking up every offer that comes their way?
- Do they truly believe in the brand and its objective?
- Check the product/service reviews by the influencers. Do they seem genuine?
- Follow up on the review. A good way to know if they genuinely love the brand is by seeing if they often use the product, especially off-work/ behind-the-camera.
- Is the influencer the “face” of two brands in the same field? For example, a beauty influencer that is the face for, say, Foundation B of a brand cannot simultaneously represent Foundation Z of another brand. This would create a clash in interests.
Social media influencers have undoubtedly established their presence in the industry. Although the profession may have flaws (which one doesn’t?), we cannot ignore the fact that their job is not easy. Considered a profession one takes up for leisure, social media influencers do not receive the importance and appreciation they truly deserve. When in reality, their profession requires flair, creative imagination, and constant brainstorming to create visually striking contents.
And we can’t say that they haven’t had an effect on us. I mean, how many times have we found ourselves taking “Instagram-worthy” pictures of our coffee, food and even ourselves! You see, they have rubbed off a little on us.
Influencers do play a huge role in persuading the public to try a brand. Millions of ardent fans around the world keep their eyes peeled for updates from their favorite influencers, and this is a huge exposure for the brand as well as the company.
The strategy of bringing famous personalities and influencers on board has proved profitable for many brands. However, small and medium-sized businesses have it difficult with the yearly increase in fees. Influence is in the hands of famous stars and hence, companies need to know whom to tap to get maximum return on investment.