Many brands have social media accounts with the goal to sell their products and gain recognition. They tailor their content to social media such as creating funny twitter threads or instructional YouTube videos. However, with so much clutter and constant direct advertising, they can turn away potential followers. To not come off as a desperate salesman, brands use different tactics to make selling less obvious and an enjoyable experience to customers. One of those ways is to make deals with social media influencers.
Today, a large part of social media consumers like to interact and follow people with experiences and interests they have or want to develop. Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram users have developed subgroups and categories within those platforms in order to create online communities. By creating communities, people are able to network and inspire each other within those categories. They create support and recommend similar content to each other, creating an even larger network. With such large networks, there has to be someone to lead the pack and, of course, drive competition.
I want to focus on Instagram, mainly because it is interesting to see how people create careers by simply posting pictures of their specific interests. Within Instagram, the top social media influencers fall into a number of categories such as beauty, fitness, fashion, travel, and photography.
With such a large following many of the influencers have created their own products and websites for their followers to support. However, in the beginning stages of these influencers pages, they collaborate or get sponsored by brands and promote products for their followers to try.
For example, Chiara Ferragni, a top fashion Instagram influencer, has collaborated with brands like Tod's and Pantene. Even more exclusively Instagram fitness influencer Emily Skye promotes the brand Reebok on her bio. Other popular brands that many influencers on Instagram promote are FitTea and SugarBearHair Vitamins.
Many argue that it is still similar to direct marketing but having someone people trust in their communities use a brand creates an opportunity for both the influencer and the brand. However, it can backlash and make some followers feel commercialized and make them lose interest or even their trust.
What do you think of sponsored Instagram influencers? Should they be more transparent about their promoted content? Comment below.