The Rise of Influencer Marketing

Published: May 12, 2019  by 
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Influencer marketing is the all rage right now. From the highest highs of awards and Super Bowl ads, to scandals and failures, influencers are the center of many major campaigns. But what to make of the wide-ranging scope and reach of these curators of experience and endorsers of brands? How do they fit into your campaigns? Where can you find them, are they right for your brand, and, most of all can you afford them?

Influencers and using them to curry favor by the masses is nothing new. Finding someone with a huge sphere of reach and power and getting them to endorse your product, philosophy, cultural movement, or nation has always been a thing. Although this is the simplest form of public relations and marketing, it has its roots with the father of spin, Edward Bernays, 80 years ago. Bernays knew that human nature works on principles, such as people are likely to put their stock in something they don’t know about if someone else they like or respect already does.

Today, thanks to social media, influencers have become celebrities and celebrities continue to rise as influencers, and it’s a thin line that barely separates them. Many of the former group are famous mainly because they can move the needle for a brand, but you might not know them or their impact unless you are a student of pop culture. The top crop of influences today are a collection of Instagram models, actors, and YouTubers. Some of them were scarcely on the radar a few years ago. These digital natives that grew up in the first age of social media helped make these tools and apps huge, but also can break them too. Just over a year ago, Kylie Jenner, instrumental in the growth and adoption of SNAP as a paid influencer for brands, tweeted that she “barely logs into the network anymore.” At that point, SNAP’s stock tumbled, saw an immediate drop in 2% daily active users, and they lost about $1.3 billion in their valuation in just one day.

The largest growing group comes not from celebs, but kids. YouTube has seen a tremendous rise in creator accounts, mainly by children, teens, and tweens with their own built-in followings. Toy makers have started to employ kid influencers for the holiday push well ahead of Black Friday to help their bottom line in the clutch. Ryan ToysReview, a YouTuber with almost 19 million subscribers, launched his own toy line last year with Walmart, and he is just one of many. Even The Toy Association shared an entire guide for brands using social media and influencers ahead of the recent New York Toyfair, which was replete with influencers.

The majority of brands don’t have the luxury of working with superstar influencers who can cost as much as $250,000 to a million dollars per placement, Instagram post, Tweet, or video. Usually, these are booked by advertising agencies, media planning, and public relations firms. If you are a brand or an agency and you don’t have bags of cash for the upper echelon stars, how do you identify an important audience to align with? You can use tools such as Sprout Social, SocialBakers, Brandwatch, Radian 6, Talkwalker, FollowerWonk and more to target them and create segmented audiences. Finding the crucial consumer groups to target and inspire with your brand messaging is essential to the success of influencer campaigns. Not all brands or campaigns need an influencer attached to them, and products and events seem to get more traction than services-based companies.

At BigWing, we work with influencers of every level to promote brands from around the world. Curious about how influencer marketing can benefit your business? Reach out and we’ll be in touch!