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Will social media influencers completely replace ad agencies?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) With the increase of social media influencers in the digital world, ad agencies have the potential to become obsolete.

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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.

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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.

#influencers

Helen Irias is a Staff Writer at The American Genius with a degree in English Literature from University of California, Santa Barbara. She works in marketing in Silicon Valley and hopes to one day publish a comically self-deprecating memoir that people bring up at dinner parties to make themselves sound interesting.

Social Media

Zillow launches real estate brokerage after eons of swearing they wouldn’t

(MEDIA) We’ve warned of this for years, the industry funded it, and Zillow Homes brokerage has launched, and there are serious questions at hand.

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Zillow Homes was announced today, a Zillow licensed brokerage that will be fully operational in 2021 in Phoenix, Tucson, and Atlanta.

Whoa, big huge yawn-inducing shocker, y’all.

We’ve been warning for more than a decade that this was the end game, and the company blackballed us for our screams (and other criticisms, despite praise when merited here and there).

Blog posts were penned in fiery effigy calling naysayers like us stupid and paranoid.

Well color me unsurprised that the clarity of the gameplan was clear as day all along over here, and the paid talking heads sent out to astroturf, gaslight, and threaten us are now all quiet.

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Social Media

We watched The Social Dilemma – here are some social media tips that stuck with us

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Here are some takeaways from watching Netflix’s The Social Dilemma that helped me to eliminate some social media burnout.

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Last weekend, I made the risky decision to watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix. I knew it was an important thing to watch, but the risk was that I also knew it would wig me out a bit. As much as I’m someone who is active “online,” the concept of social media overwhelms me almost more than it entertains (or enlightens) me.

The constant sharing of information, the accessibility to information, and the endless barrage of notifications are just a few of the ways social media can cause overwhelm. The documentary went in deeper than this surface-level content and got into the nitty gritty of how people behind the scenes use your data and track your usage.

Former employees of high-profile platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, and Pinterest gave their two cents on the dangers of social media from a technological standpoint. Basically, our data isn’t just being tracked to be passed along for newsletters and the like. But rather, humans are seen as products that are manipulated to buy and click all day every day in order to make others money and perpetuate information that has astronomical effects. (I’m not nearly as intelligent as these people, so watch the documentary to get the in-depth look at how all of this operates.)

One of the major elements that stuck with me was the end credits of The Social Dilemma where they asked interviewees about the ways they are working to eliminate social media overwhelm in their own lives. Some of these I’ve implemented myself and can attest to. Here’s a short list of things you can do to keep from burning out online.

  1. Turn off notifications – unless there are things you need to know about immediately (texts, emails, etc.) turn it off. Getting 100 individual notifications within an hour from those who liked your Instagram post will do nothing but burn you (and your battery) out.
  2. Know how to use these technologies to change the conversation and not perpetuate things like “fake news” and clickbait.
  3. Uninstall apps that are wasting your time. If you feel yourself wasting hours per week mindlessly scrolling through Facebook but not actually using it, consider deleting the app and only checking the site from a desktop or Internet browser.
  4. Research and consider using other search tools instead of Google (one interviewee mentioned that Qwant specifically does not collect/store your information the way Google does).
  5. Don’t perpetuate by watching recommended videos on YouTube, those are tailored to try and sway or sell you things. Pick your own content.
  6. Research the many extensions that remove these recommendations and help stop the collection of your data.

At the end of the day, just be mindful of how you’re using social media and what you’re sharing – not just about yourself, but the information you’re passing along from and to others. Do your part to make sure what you are sharing is accurate and useful in this conversation.

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Social Media

WeChat ban blocked by California judge, but for how long?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) WeChat is protected by First Amendment concerns for now, but it’s unclear how long the app will remain as pressure mounts.

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WeChat barely avoided a US ban after a Californian judge stepped in to temporarily block President Trump’s executive order. Judge Laurel Beeler cited the effects of the ban on US-based WeChat users and how it threatened the First Amendment rights of those users.

“The plaintiffs’ evidence reflects that WeChat is effectively the only means of communication for many in the community, not only because China bans other apps, but also because Chinese speakers with limited English proficiency have no options other than WeChat,” Beeler wrote.

WeChat is a Chinese instant messaging and social media/mobile transaction app with over 1 billion active monthly users. The WeChat Alliance, a group of users who filed the lawsuit in August, pointed out that the ban unfairly targets Chinese-Americans as it’s the primary app used by the demographic to communicate with loved ones, engage in political discussions, and receive news.

The app, along with TikTok, has come under fire as a means for China to collect data on its users. U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has stated, “At the President’s direction, we have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations.”

This example is yet another symptom of our ever-globalizing society where we are learning to navigate between connectivity and privacy. The plaintiffs also pointed out alternatives to an outright ban. One example cited was in Australia, where WeChat is now banned from government officials’ phones but not others.

Beeler has said that the range in alternatives to preserving national security affected her decision to strike down the ban. She also explained that in regards to dealing with national security, there is “scant little evidence that (the Commerce Department’s) effective ban of WeChat for all US users addresses those concerns.”

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