Understanding Branding and the Social Media Influencer Marketplace:
Brands and businesses need to be more aware of who they bring on as an influencer or brand rep today, more than ever before. With increased saturation of the social media marketplace—competition for views, likes, and followers are growing at a significant rate—for a brand to make its mark, it must choose people that fall in line with their specific branding, core values, vision, and have a real authentic following. These factors will help set them apart from the competition.
Stand Together – Core Values and Brand Identity
Staying consistent, and keeping in line with the brand’s core values are important through and through when it comes to marketing and selling a brand. Everything from identity, design, and messaging must fall within those set core values in order for the brand to survive.
The same goes for your influencers. A brand must vet and verify an influencer and their lifestyle to decide if they follow the true heart and soul of the brand. Why? Because with an influencer, comes followers. Therefore, when a business chooses an influencer that aligns with their brand, they are extending their reach to the followers that align with that influencer, and are thus an extension of the brand. This creates a larger reach to a larger audience and hopefully new or returning customers. If you don’t vet your influencers, you will have a high probability of ending up with mixed messaging that will reach an audience that does not follow or respect your core values, who are not customers, and therefore results in no business.
Buyer Beware – Influencers who are Committing Social Suicide
The second, yet still very important reason to vet your influencers is to make sure their following is real. People are obsessed with the number of followers that they have on their account, which has led to the soulless availability of fake followers and even worse, fake and paid-for engagement. If an influencer pays for their following and/or engagement, your brand will not be seen by anyone. This is regardless if they would have been a potential customer or not (as mentioned above), because these followers don’t actually exist.
As a brand, you need to look past the numbers on the screen and actually open the profiles of the people “following” or “engaging” with that influencer. Imagine being a brand who puts all of their money and marketing dollars into an influencer who actually reaches no real people. I can guarantee you won’t see the needle tip in the right direction if this is the case.
The fact that we have seen companies like Instagress come, and now go, from the Instagram platform is proof that this exists and is not being tolerated. Here is my official warning to any influencers out there dancing along the line of real vs fake: Brands will find out and you will be exposed.
Learn the 5 reasons you should never buy fake followers from Huffington Post.
TO SUM IT UP:
As a marketer, choosing to go down the influencer marketing route can be tricky. You place a lot of trust in your influencers and ultimately lose creative control of the post that they choose to share. Sure, you can give them guidelines to follow and worst case ask for a reshoot, but at the end of the day, you don’t get to monitor and decide what’s within the photo. Trusting an influencer to deliver can be risky, but when you find the right ones, it can pay off ten-fold (as I’m sure each of you have experienced at some point or another during your social media lifespan).
With our lives showcased online, influencers need to know that marketers are watching them, and they are looking for more than just a pretty picture. You need to stand behind something, have a voice, and be authentic. Any brand worth representing will respect and gravitate towards your values over simply high numbers on your account and—in doing so—the marriage between the influencer and the brand will be effortless.