An Introduction to Influencer Marketing

Aim: This is research/ information based blog on Influencer Marketing for social users to gage further understandings of the operations behind this field. Through my content my aim is to showcase the methods and strategies brands implement to attract us into buying products. I look to use my research behind this topic to enlighten readers on how this form of marketing has both positive and negative attributes, as well as the exploring notions of trust for consumers with distribution of authentic products.

What is Influencer Marketing:

The introduction to new mediums like social media has shifted content from a centralised model. This has created new opportunities for any individual to voice and give perspectives online. Looking at the aspects of marketing in this sense, social media has become an significant part of any business. In the age of immense social media use it has become a must for these brands to secure a place in both the conventional and digital marketplace. With Influencer marketing designed to tap into an existing community of engaged followers, these influencers are specialists in their niches. Companies look to target selected journalist, giving them access to aspects like information, products, spokespeople and even company events with the goal of building a long lasting relationships that facilitate positive coverage. With the digitalisation and shift of businesses, the focus of marketing has shifted from offline to online opinion leaders, as they offer a wider reach via their social networks.

Breakdown Example: 

Alex Lifestyle is a Youtuber/ business owner that uploads videos to show audiences tips, tricks on social media hacks. Using the platform of Instagram as an example, this video illustrates the operations behind this strategy as well as emphasizing the power behind this marketing.

Alex’s content is not only useful but also a great source of inspiration for the creation for this blog.

Who are Social Media Influencers?

Freberg, Graham and McGaughey’s 2010 paper on social media influencers and the study of public perceptions of personality defines social media influencers to “represent a new type of independent, third-party endorsers that shape an audience’s attitudes through blogs, tweets, and the use of other social media channels (Fredberg, 3). Through sites like Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, social media influencers create content through the promotion of certain brands and products, with the overall goal obtaining a following and receiving brand recognition.

Influencer marketing on social media opens up a new channel for brands to connect with consumers more directly, organically, and at scale to their everyday lives. These social media influencers promote brands through their personal lives, making them relatablable to the average consumer. Looking at the popularity of these individuals, they serve as the ultimate connection between a brand and a consumer. Being candid and open with audiences, these influencers have high social credibility making the phenomenon so successful as traditional marketing only looks to target mass audiences.

Example featured in one of my posts- : St. Ives’ Skin Care Advertising:

With the approach to raise brand awareness, St. Ives opened a New York City pop up- retail store between June to September of 2017 called the St Ives Mixing Bar. Running through a 3 month period, the promotion gave people the opportunity to test St. Ives’ products, purchase a customized facial scrub or lotion, as well as take photos in an Instagram friendly “Apricot Room.”

Owners of the brand Unilever (who also own brands like Dove, Lux and Lynx) have struggled in the past to find success among millennial men and women in the skin care category. Using the strategy of Influencer marketing, the brand utilized these individuals to bridge the age gap of their audience through various sponsored instagram posts.The skincare company collaborated with 12 influencers to create 18 sponsored photos promoting the brand, product and store features.

Seen here, the majority of the influencers involved posted a photo of themselves at the store with branded hashtags like #stivesmixingbar and #stivespartner

Lili-Reinhart-St.-Ives-skincare1.png
Screenshot Captured from @lilireinhart on Instagram (2017)

With the combination of these posts and the bar itself, it looked to bring influencers, fans and new customers together in a kind of mini-conference so they were able play with the brand’s products, learn techniques and mingle with each other.

MediaKix (influencer marketing agency) reported the results from the campaign 1.8M likes, 9,000 comments, and an average engagement rate of 9.9%.

Example: Remi Ashten Cruz (@missremiashten)

Lifestyle YouTuber Remi Ashten Cruz maintains 848,000 Instagram followers and created one St. Ives sponsored post. The multiple image post captures Cruz’s visit to the Mixing Bar and garnered over 56,000 likes and 1,000 comments for an engagement rate of 16.7%. Cruz is well known for her bright style and the post fits in well with her colorful feed. The 22-year-old is also well positioned to advertise St. Ives, as her viewers look to her for skincare and beauty advice.

Cruz’s partnership with St Ives looks to reach a new, younger market for this product that has been predominantly sold to middle-aged women in the pre-social media era. Along with Instagram content for the brand she also weaves these products into her YouTube videos to try to expose it to her following of over 2.2 Million, which a lot include St. Ives desired demographic.

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