Influencers are the new ad agencies
When it comes to advertising, creativity is important, but relevance is everything. While traditional ad agencies are great at concocting engaging messages to grab an audience’s attention, social media influencers don’t have to grab — they already have a loyal audience waiting eagerly for their next post.
This is why brands have been increasingly turning to influencers over ad agencies to handle their creative marketing campaigns.
The old process and the power shift
Agencies would create detailed storyboards for specific photo or video campaigns, and approach influencers to simply post that content on their channels. The influencer was essentially a secondary medium for the content rather than a contributor.
Influencers are now being given creative license and taking the reigns on brands’ social media initiatives.
Brands come directly to them with briefs and RFPs, then the influencer prepares and executes the whole campaign. This is more powerful since the content will be entirely in the influencer’s style, resonating deeply with their followers and seeming more legit, less advertisey. At the same time, it’s much more cost effective than hiring an ad agency, which, with all its fees, essentially serves as a middle man.
So is this a wise move for brands?
Absolutely. First, working directly with influencers gives a brand far more control over brand experience. It’s easy to lose control of communication when too many people are involved, such as an agent and their agency. Working closely with them makes the process less commercial and more collaborative and personal.
Second, the audience reach is far greater with social media influencers. Content created by social stars lives not only on the company site, but also on social channels and other retail channels, like Amazon, for example.
Fans love to like, comment on and share posts from their favorite stars, so influencer-created advertisements have a virtually limitless reach.
When they’re created by the influencer themselves, they fit seamlessly into the rest of the influencer’s posts, so to a follower it doesn’t feel like advertising at all — and that’s the genius of it.
Campaigns with credibility
Influencers are social proof that a brand is legit. There’s no need for catchy taglines or provocative themes when the information source is beloved by millions. Their word is law, and their opinions set trends. Recognizing the unique value influencers possess, brands aim to develop ongoing relationships with influencers rather than a just one-and-done campaign.
This way, they can become mutually associated with popular social icons and expand brand presence exponentially.
There are already companies out there that help brands find influencers to serve as their creative ad agency. One of these is Delmondo. Most influencers working through Delmondo create storyboards to present to brands rather than the other way around, then produce content for paid posts on Instagram and Snapchat.
Several corporations are already on board with this movement. L’Oreal Paris has numerous contracts with social media influencers, and Viacom has even hired Snapchat creator Shaun McBride as a creative strategy consultant for all its social media advertising initiatives.
Where we’re at
It comes down to this:
traditional advertising is fading into obscurity as online review sites and social media take over and word-of-mouth prevails.
Influencer-driven advertising is a smart way to capitalize on this trend. Rather than scrambling to master social media marketing best practices yourself, let someone who’s done it already take the wheel. The right influencers know your target audience maybe even better than you do, and face it: they’re just way cooler than you.