The Force of Influencer Marketing

There has never been a better time for shopping than today. Buying anything you can possibly want does not require any effort from you anymore. Before, it used to be a battle, an adventure for the access to a valuable thing and a satisfaction after getting there. In the recent years, we had to learn how to filter the flow of information that accompanies our every action online.

With the advent of adblock, marketers had to change their approach to advertising. Some went on a dark road of ultra-targeted ads and personal data usage to solicit clicks. Some started buying indulgence from adblock manufacturers. Either way, it’s the users that are fucked. While blockchain decentralized advertising is only gaining traction, social media and hype culture figured it out on their own.

Unintentional advertising

The product placement movement that started in the 90s quickly got under everybody’s skin. At some point (around Transformers 2 or 3), it just became unbearable. At the same time, some of the most iconic images of celebrities enjoying branded products look everything but staged.

The Force of Influencer Marketing | Shakuro

Half of the Beatles enjoying Watney’s beers.

The Force of Influencer Marketing | Shakuro

There’s not a lot of brands that can benefit from Shia Labeouf’s normcore mastery.
C2O coconut water is probably one of them.

It does not even have to be a true story though. What Moleskine did is they just took a bunch of famous names in art and suggested that they will now be the successors of whoever made notebooks for those celebrities. The world bought it.

But how do you make celebrities use your product without paying your entire turnover? And more so, how do you make them genuinely like it? Well.. your product has to be really good. Duh. There is another way though. Geniously simple and weird. Ever wonder why some teenagers on Instagram have more followers and traction going on around them than people with far more significant achievements? It’s because being known for being known became possible.    

Leading by culture

As opposed to the obvious paid endorsements and commercials that starts to appear in from time to time, influencers are raw and genuine. When done right, there is no shadow of a doubt that an influencer’s pitches are authentic. It’s like the only believable source of reference when trying to find out which shoes to buy or which political stance to take.

Influencers build their following based on authenticity and independence.  

These days folks have their bullshit indicator on point and won’t accept fake stuff. The voice they have is uniquely theirs. And the brands that can find an influencer whose voice is on par with them can quadruple their reach not only in quantity but in quality as well because influencers’ content in consumed for no particular reason.

The reason why celebrity accounts get way less engagement than your average YouTuber is often times there’s no way you can tell if a celebrity is running their account or it’s their management team or whoever posts from them. Instagrammers’ content is like your content, except it is getting viewed by millions.

Another thing you can’t fake is your development. There is something culty about social media followings these days. Just look at the response the tragic death of a young Soundcloud rapper XXXTENTACION had worldwide. You can clearly trace the history of their growth, the ups and downs. In a lot of ways, influencers speak to you because they are ordinary people who got a chance to succeed. This is what makes them your friends rather God-like mysterious Hollywood stars. This is where the trust comes from. And the love.

#xxxtentacion says he wants to start a positive cult.

Публикация от VladTV (@vladtv)

The pros of influencer marketing

Almost any brand can benefit from being associated with a specific influencer. Most starting brands struggle with exposure and often have difficulty separating themselves from the personalities of their founders.

Tuning into an influencer’s narrative can help adopt a voice that speaks best to the users

Another struggle comes with a lack of unbiased and honest immersiveness of whatever a brand propagates. Sales statistics are not accessible to customers but what is always there is the engagement around your brand.

Influencers create that immersiveness   

Like we said above, celebrities promoting stuff is no longer believable. On top of being unreachable for most brands, this type of marketing is dated and does not relate to the majority of the target demographic.

A popular blogger gets more daily interactions than a Hollywood star

Some industries are just not made for pop-star advertising. Some brands only speak to a certain user. There are some cringeworthy celebrity endorsements that you never want to be a part of.

On the other hand, there are influencers in every industry with diamond followings

The Force of Influencer Marketing | Shakuro

Image credit: Pedro Fernandes

How to engage the right influencers

First off, it comes down to how good you are familiar with your target audience. Get to know who they listen and look up to. It’s not hard to do if you know how social media work. Once found, you can just go straight at it and make a business offer or, like in case of a smaller business, you can send your product or a care package without asking anything in return.

Influencers are usually thankful for this and in case they are honest and genuine and your product is great, you will get traffic. A good example of an influencer is Joe Rogan. His unprecedented reach comes from the versatility he runs his projects with. Joe’s open mind and incredible ability to look into various aspects of life with a comedic attitude and certain intensity makes him a perfect influencer not only for white males, but a far greater audience.

The Force of Influencer Marketing | Shakuro

Yes, he has sponsors. He does. But what I’ve experienced (pun intended) while listening to the JRE for over 6 years, is the personal impact he can produce for smaller brands. I’ve bought some stuff after Joe’s mentioned them. Chris Odell from Datsusara told how high their numbers jump every time the company gets a mention on Joe’s podcast.

It’s the authenticity of opinion and the trust that drive influencer marketing.

The platforms

The modern influencer phenomenon came to exist in a social media bubble. It has never been easier to start your brand with no middlemen and no budget. You can make it on your work ethic alone coupled with charisma and a vision. In this realm, it’s important where you build your following as an influencer.

As it turned out, investing effort in MySpace was not worth it, being part of Facebook can annoy a lot of people. But the problem is there are no unbiased and decentralized platforms left. Two of the most popular are YouTube and Instagram, but they do belong to major corporations which makes the digital empires built on their platforms their.

This is what separates business-oriented influencers from the hype folks. The ones that look to establish their brand also seek independence. Even though building an engaging digital profile on a business model is fraught with a risk of losing authentic connection with the audience, the smart thing to do is not to put all eggs in one basket.

Look for the influencers that are well-versed on all platforms but are famous for one. A cool thing some of the influencers do is they produce different content on different resources. For example, using Instagram posts and stories for daily activity, YouTube for longer videos, Twitter and Facebook for immediate interaction, and say, Medium or something for more insightful writing and addressing deeper issues.

This approach can legitimize the impact, help influencers evolve over time and not rely on a specific type of content that in our age of ADD sometimes has an extremely short lifespan. In the eyes of a brand looking for an influencer, this can also help validate the relevance they have, cut off early on all the fake accounts and those who will not pass the test of time.

Who influences the influencers

In the world so connected and intertwined in so many different ways, it’s hard to find the source. People talk, fight, and impact one another in a way never seen before. Even the most influential people find inspiration in others. Even the most mediocre personalities can have their moment of fame and it’s up to them if they can maintain the glow.

Everybody has a platform now. Look for those who change the game while staying themselves. Associate your brand with the right people and make better choices with them.