Emilie Tabor is Co-Founder & CMO at IMA || Forbes 30 Under 30
This year, the need for brands to have a strong digital presence — especially on social media — has increased dramatically. As brands settle in on their digital strategy, the role of influencers and content creators has elevated in the marketing mix, creating surprising new opportunities for brands.
In the last months, we’ve seen creators deftly adapt their content during lockdown and pivot to more “at home” posts to stay relevant. And it’s worked. The increasing need for digital interaction and deepening reliance on technology has not only strengthened the relationship between influencers and their followers but has also brought new audiences online.
In light of these new digital behaviors, it’s time to reassess the way we think about influencers and their role in the brand-customer relationship. Here are three insights to consider as we move forward in the new normal of digital engagement.
The Influencer Market Has Matured — Literally
The idea of the “influencer” might conjure the image of a content creator appealing to an audience of teens and young adults, but digital is no longer restricted to a certain age group. Today, four out of 10 elder citizens own a smartphone, and influencers are likewise skewing older: Grece Ghanem (age 55) and Sherry Ott (age 50) are two influencers who symbolize how the social landscape has grown up — and with a combined follower count of 500,000, they have a lot of reach.
And therein lies a new opportunity for brands: There’s more fertile ground now for different industries to grow their awareness in social media and reach their audience through influencers. Brands that believed digital wasn’t a primary channel for reach — such as many health care providers — now find new possibilities in injecting relevance into the brand through influencer marketing.
In working with DarioHealth, a client that has always advocated for the importance of digital marketing, we were able to confirm the insight that influencer marketing can make the health care industry more accessible and understandable to interested audiences. Through authentic influencer storytelling, DarioHealth partnered with influencers like Milk’n Honey Nutrition and Diabetes Strong to build awareness of its blood glucose meter among 30-plus year-olds interested in Type 2 diabetes education. These niche campaigns may have fewer impressions, but they tend to have a higher engagement among interested consumers.
Influencers Branch Out of Image-Heavy Platforms
When we think about influencer marketing, image-focused Instagram may be the first platform that comes to mind, but there are many other ways to engage with audiences. Spotify, the largest audio platform today, has 300 million monthly active users and over 4 billion playlists — a destination for all things audio with massive reach, and a new environment for brands to tap into through its growing podcast offering.
Podcasts are no longer flying under the radar. In addition to an existing library of 700,000 titles, Spotify has signed deals with some of the world’s most-followed influencers such as Lele Pons, Addison Rae and Joe Rogan. Podcasts give hosts an opportunity to address their audiences through longer-form content. And when listeners subscribe to these feeds, brands have an opportunity to habitually engage with listener communities on what’s often a weekly basis.
When new content formats and user behaviors emerge every day, influencer partnerships provide an easy “in” for brands. Regardless of the platform, these content creators are adept at speaking their audience’s language and know the platforms well, making it easier for the brands they partner with to make an impact there.
Shoppable Content Goes Live
As consumers spend more time at home, live content has filled a need for entertainment and connection. In fact, the average daily consumption has quadrupled since last year, opening up an entirely new shoppable environment for brands to close a sale. With users spending four hours a day watching video content, live e-commerce solutions are emerging to accommodate this behavior, and of course, influencers are at the heart of it.
Shopping and streaming make a powerful combination, as Amazon Live Creator so remarkably proved. This is a live feature that transforms content creators into full-fledged presenters by the likes you’d see on home-shopping TV of yesteryear, showcasing their favorite products on Amazon. Instagram’s Live Shopping is another platform that is being rolled out in beta, allowing viewers to add items to a shopping cart based on the products that an influencer recommends during their live stream.
These are some of the latest trends in influencer marketing, but the opportunities for brands to conquer new digital ground multiply daily. In this context, influencers become the experts that brands need to translate their message in a way that resonates with a specific audience within each platform, building lifelong relationships with new consumers.
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