In the world of skinny teas, magical gummies that promise to give you gorgeous locks, and the latest Bachelorette cast off, influencer marketing was born. What is influencer marketing you ask? In a nutshell, influencer marketing is when a brand seeks out a celebrity or public figure (or even animal) with a large social following to create unique content and posts to promote their product in exchange for a sum of money. As content marketing gained momentum, many advertisers came to lean on these social influencers to help spread the word where most digital efforts fell short. Now, it seems like every social influencer is promoting a new product or brand each week. So, what exactly does this mean for the future of influencer marketing? Read on for our take.
1. More Regulations
Before brands could just send their product to these influencers in exchange for a positive review or carefully crafted post making it seem as though that person used the product and found amazing results from using it. And their followers would buy into the ruse because their favorite celebrity would never steer them wrong, right? Right. *Cue the FTC*
As influencer marketing started to pick up, certain regulations needed to be put in place for transparency. You could no longer get away with simply adding #partner or #sp to the end of your caption. Nope. Now, you have to clearly disclose that you are being paid for your posts or videos that call out a particular product.
Instagram has taken steps on their end to ensure it’s clear by adding in an option to select “paid partnership with Brand X” into your sponsored posts. Thus, it’s easier for followers to determine whether their favorite influencer is being paid for that piece of content.
If you’re a YouTube influencer, you have a few more options by adding a disclaimer to the beginning of your video or even adding it into the video description. No matter how the influencer decides to disclose the partnership, you can bet it will need to become a mandatory because no one wants to receive a letter from the FTC.
2. The Introduction of Micro Influencers
Another issue that has started to come up with influencer marketing is market dilution. Sure, you can partner with a public figure who has over 1 million followers, but when they’re posting about another product the very next week, did anyone really pay attention? This is where micro influencers come into play. They’re the mommy bloggers of the world that may not have a huge following, but their followers are loyal and have full trust in what they say. Many brands have started to look toward micro influencers to get their product in front of a more targeted audience. While the audience size may not be as large, it’s a lot more focused so you can be sure that you are reaching the right people with your product or brand.
3. Longer Partnerships
As with any brand endorsement, you want to make sure you are getting the most for your money—which means inking a potential multi-post deal with these influencers. Before it would be almost like a one-and-done type of deal, but now brands are working closer with these celebrities and public figures to think bigger picture and create a more meaningful partnership. This can even include an exclusivity clause wherein the influencer promises to promote or work with only Brand X over Brand Y. Hey Verizon, did ya hear that?
While it seems that influencer marketing is a no-brainer, partnering with the right ones is key; as is complying with all FTC regulations. If you’re not sure where to start, VIRGEN Digital Brand Marketing can help steer you in the right direction.