If you’ve been following our blog for the last few weeks, you know we’re making predictions for 2014 social media trends. In part one we discussed the power of visual imagery on social media, then moved on to the growth of Twitter for part two. Social media’s move to mobile was our third trend, and last week we explained why you should keep an eye on video in 2014.
Now, for our fifth and final prediction, we think that more brands will partner with social media influencers next year. Working with influencers helps brands extend reach, promote events, introduce new products and services, and improve overall brand perception. Influencers create content for a fan base they’re very familiar with and therefore generally have high levels of engagement. It’s been proven that people trust recommendations from friends and even strangers more than they trust advertisements. One way brands can tap into this and gain trust is through social media influencers. Consumers trust influencers since they’re regular people who share their personal, honest thoughts and opinions with the public and probably share some of the same values as their followers. This makes them reliable sources for consumers – and very useful tools for brands.
Though brands can partner with influencers through many social media outlets, we’ve highlighted a few successful campaigns from 2013 on platforms we think will be most important next year.
A recent article in Fast Company states “most marketing today isn’t done on Vine, but that may be changing.” Users who have become “Vine famous” have hundreds of thousands – even millions – of followers who like, comment and reVine their videos to extend reach even further. One ‘Vine famous” user, Logan Paul, has more than 1.5 million followers and says he uses Vine “to draw people in with pure personality and lead them to his other social profiles.” By learning from users like Logan Paul, or by partnering with them, brands can tap into a friendly community that loves to share.
Trident Gum is pioneering Vine influencer partnerships. Trident has 57,912 followers on Vine and partners with “Vine famous” users like Brittany Furlan (4.1 million followers), Jarome Jarre (3.7 million) Nicholas Megalis (3.4 million) and Rudy Mancuso (2.7 million). Once Trident posts the videos, the featured influencer reVines it to share with their following as well. The Trident brand fits in well with the comedic and slightly strange videos these users already produce.
As we mentioned in last week’s blog post, YouTube received more than 167 million unique impressions last month, making it the 4th most visited site in the U.S., and it’s especially popular among teens. While many big brands and musicians are known for having YouTube channels, several video bloggers have gained large followings on YouTube as well.
One brand that successfully partnered with YouTube influencers is Taco Bell. To promote the Fiery Doritos Locos Taco, Taco Bell “enlisted a bunch of influencers it found at this year’s VidCon,” to create video content introducing the new taco, according to AdAge. One of the best-known YouTubers, Freddie Wong, along with Brandon Laatsch, released a video to his 6.3 million subscribers promoting the new locos taco.
Wong and Laatsch spend a great deal of time conversing with and creating content for their fans and therefore have a solid understanding of what they like. This enables them to introduce Taco Bell in a way their followers find interesting.
For brands that aren’t Taco Bell-sized, running a product sampling campaign will help introduce a brand to YouTube influencers. One of our clients, TYLT, specializes in creating innovative mobile accessories and we often send out review units of their products to YouTubers to review online. Once we come across a YouTube influencer in the tech industry with a substantial following, we review their videos, look at the level of fan engagement and evaluate their on-screen personality before deciding whether or not they’re a good match for the TYLT brand. Reviewers build their fan base by offering their honest opinion on relevant products. This builds trust between the viewer and reviewer, making the content they put out authentic and reliable.
Bloggers often cater to a niche audience, which is ideal for marketers. Many blogs focused on music, food, parenting and fashion. One campaign we found interesting is based on a partnership between fashion blogger Aimee Song and the clothing company Piperlime. Aimee’s blog posts garner more than 100 comments on average and she also has large followings on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Piperlime took the suggestions, tips and shortcuts that made Aimee’s blog popular and applied them to their site. They had Aimee create outfits from their offerings and had her highlight some of their trend-specific features. Having an established fashion blogger endorse a well-known brand like Piperlime was mutually beneficial.
Choosing a Partner
Choosing the right social media influencer to partner with is important. While you should always look at the size of an influencer’s following, another key factor to consider how often and many fans engage with them online. Look through past posts, comments and tweets and see how many replies, retweets, comments, etc. it garnered – and make sure they’re positive.
Always remember that this person is acting on behalf of your brand. You should ask yourself: Does this influencer fit with my brand? Do they have the same values? Do they produce quality content? When the ideal match is made, like with Aimee Song and Piperlime, both parties benefit since both fan bases are interested in the content you and your partner are pushing out.
What are some of your favorite partnerships from this past year? Do you plan on partnering with a social media influencer this year? What platforms do you think are most effective for an influencer promotion?