Mark Zuckerberg once said, “By giving people the power to share, we’re making the world more transparent and effective.”
Back in the early 2000s, the idea of social media for companies was a new concept, somewhat untried and untrusted by brands. Bloggers were the first real internet stars, with corporations sending young online authors free products in hopes of getting some fresh hype.
The now-defunct BlogStar Network was originally founded in 2004 to facilitate relationships between corporations and bloggers and was met with some controversy due to the visible manipulation of audiences with content being distributed as “organic,” when it was really a covert advertising campaign. In the beginning of 2021, aside from Zoom, probably the biggest winner is Instagram and TikTok. With people stuck at home and also trying to distract themselves from being there, we turned to short-form video content to entertain and even eventually entertain us. So, are TikTok, Instagram, and other social media platforms the future for economic growth of many companies?
Social Media for Business
Today it is all about data, analytics, and algorithms. Google and Facebook have changed the online business, by the simple method of making adspend accountable, and much, much more targeted. With Google Ads you only pay when a consumer clicks on your ad. With Facebook ads you know far more about the type of people your ads are being served to. It is no longer “spray and pray”.
Digital marketing is now the sexy part of the advertising industry, and its currency is data. The ability to obtain and analyse data is the core skill, not a good line in patter and a generous expense account. It is more important to understand the mechanics of the social media platforms than to know the latest trendy restaurant.
Vladislav Vodatinskij, entrepreneur, founder of the consulting company ENGINEC and German influencer says “AI becomes a game changer in digital marketing, especially for influencers. Brands and companies are now able to pinpoint their target demographic precisely, and speak to them directly. Technologies like voice recognition allow us to identify what topics influencers are talking about on YouTube and Instagram IGTV or TikTok.”
Vodatinskij has over 700 thousands of followers on Instagram and more than 40 thousand followers on TikTok. His accounts and personal brand are growing rapidly and he knows influencer marketing is a significant and fast-growing section of the digital marketing industry. Many companies and brands have been hit hard during the COVID-19 crisis and are looking strong on the returns of their investments. For this reasons digital marketing becomes now more efficient, data driven and quick. It’s also the most economical way to get production quality content and large-scale distribution at a fraction of the price.
Influencer marketing is still mainly a B2C (business to consumer) activity, with the big three product categories being beauty, food, and fashion. But B2B (business to business) usage is taking off too, with influencers becoming important in financial services, pharmaceuticals, rail freight, automotive, avisation and technology.
Evaluation of Social Media Platforms
Apart from Instagram is YouTube the other great influencer platform. Videos allow YouTubers to form more emotional bonds with their audiences. The newcomer is now TikTok and has the same virality like YouTube years ago. While it seems to attract a young audience, with dancing childern, there are also all kinds of content perform for every categories of people there. The tools it provides its users directly in the platform are fairly complex, and really encourage interesting content.
Clients, agencies and the influencers themselves are engaged in a constant battle with the platforms. They desperately want to maximise the attention secured by their posts, and they are constantly innovating, and refining their techniques, to raise their ranking on the platforms. The platforms, on the other hand, want great content to keep their audiences engaged, but if anyone is going to pay to promote a piece of content, they want it to be their own ads, not an agency. Artificial intelligence is the most powerful weapon in both sides’ armouries.
Power of Influencers
Influencers are often accused of being fake or not unique enough: fake followers, fake likes, fake tans, fake lifestyles. A single photo can take a day to set up, with an army of stylists and make-up artists as well as the photographer and the lighting team. And then there is the photoshop team, video cutting software’s etc . As well as working hard to get the right image, influencers have to strike the right tone.
Vladislav Vodatinskij explains that the vetting of influencers to represent a brand is not only a mathematical challenge, but also one of integrating technology components of human nature: “The future of influencer campaign management technology is a convergence of deep analytics from the recruitment industry multiplied by contemporary engagement metrics. At present, this is only achieved through a human, analog process, which is unscalable and cannot satisfy the overwhelming number of rising influencers.” Like the rest of digital marketing, influencers – and the agencies which monetise them – are here to stay. The constant sparring of their AIs, their algorithms and their data, with those of the social media platforms, will continue to improve their effectiveness and their efficiency.
When implemented correctly, marketing and advertising campaigns that are backed by influencers are proving to yield results much higher than traditional methods. From official ambassadorships, to product reviews, to brand mentions, the influencer marketing space has become a multibillion-dollar industry due to its effectiveness. Now is the time for brands to think of ways to incorporate influencer marketing into their marketing and advertising strategies. It has become easier than ever before, and the returns are plentiful in terms of engagement, impressions and conversions.
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