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The Economy of Clout

How everyday individuals have changed the scope of digital marketing.

The term Influencer is defined as someone (or something) with the power to affect the buying habits or quantifiable actions of others — in particular, their audience or following.

Traditionally, we considered celebrities such as models, actors, actresses, and athletes the influencers of society. But, today, bloggers and digital content creators have transitioned into the same level of influence, if not higher. The modern “influencer” is an individual who has a dedicated social following, which often includes a large number of followers on social media platforms and are viewed as experts within a particular industry or subject.

A case study by wearesocial.com reports that 45% of the world’s population (3.5 billion people) are now social media users.

Data and analytics prove that digital influencers are more relatable and have highly engaged audiences, making influencer marketing a major part of marketing budgets and marketing strategy amongst various industries.

In a recent case study, wearesocial.com reports that 45% of the world’s population (3.5 billion people) are now social media users.

Influencer Marketing is a type of social media marketing strategy that uses both traditional and new marketing methods. This hybrid takes the celebrity endorsement concept and modernizes it into a content-driven campaign using “influencers” instead.

RETAIL INFLUENCE

In the late 2000s, influencer marketing began to shift the way consumers interacted with products andbrands started to notice, especially within the retail industry. RewardStyle is one of the world’s leading influencer monetization platforms and one of the first in the industry to connect bloggers with brands and retailers.

Amber Venz Box started her blog, venzedits.com, as a marketing tool for her personal styling and shopping business in 2010. As she published content for her blog, she began to realize she was cutting herself out of the equation of her own business. Her readers were using her recommendations on her blog to shop online instead of booking an in-person session with her. 

In the late 2000s, influencer marketing began to shift the way consumers interacted with products, and brands started to notice, especially within the retail industry.

Amber Box (pictured above) and her husband, Baxter, launched a monetization platform for fashion, beauty, and lifestyle influencers that drives more than $1 billion in annual retail sales.

In 2011 Amber and her then-boyfriend, now-husband, Baxter Box, brainstormed ways to monetize venzedits.com and potentially turn it into her full-time job.That year they created a technology platform that took something retailers and sales associates understood — commission for sales — and made it workdigitally. They launched their company RewardStyle in 2011.

When a reader clicks an affiliate link in a blog post, the link stores a cookie on that person’s computer for up to 30 days. If they purchase anything based on that affiliate link within 30 days or before, and they click another affiliate link to that retailer, the blogger makes a commission from the entire purchase. RewardStyle takes a cut of each sale.

In 2017, the RewardStyle team launched the LIKEtoKNOW.it mobile app. The LIKEtoKNOW.it app allows influencers to monetize their social media channels by linking to products from their Instagram feed.

According to their company page, “The app has played a key role in transforming how consumers shop by offering convenience, accessibility and data-driven personalization to drive discovery, curation and retail sales.” Today the RewardStyle team website says they work with more than 1,000,000 brands and 50,000 influencers in more than 100 countries and drive more than $1 billion in annual retail sales.

DEFINING A GOOD INFLUENCER

A good influencer builds a strong personal brand, regardless of whether they endorse or sell anything. They spend time building an authentic brand image that represents them and their interests or field of expertise. Influencers who are loyal to their followers want to make sure they can align the work they do to promote other brands with their personal brand.

Influencers serve a purpose to both brands and consumers alike. Consumers align themselves with certain influencers to help narrow down options in products and services, and receive recommendations. This culture can be easily tied to the rise of technology and access to immediate information and infinite options.

An influencer is categorized by their ability to engage with their audience, the number of followers, and conversions in their industry of choice.

@Jennycipoletti | 460K Followers

@JennyCipoletti is one of the bigger influencers on social media, with a focus on beauty and high-end fashion. With over 460k followers on Instagram, @JennyCipoletti is considered a high-profile influencer and the perfect fit for luxury brands.

Writer and content creator Jenny Cipoletti launched her site Margo & Me in 2014, along with her husband, Freddie, who is both a creative and photographer.Margo & Me has since gained a serious online following, with millions of views across her multiple platforms.

Jenny and Freddie have been working as creative directors, filmmakers, designers, writers, and photographers in the luxury fashion and lifestyle industry for more than 10 years. Jenny creates content for Margo & Me across various social media platforms, including her dedicated YouTube channel and, most importantly, through her website.

She has also collaborated creatively with national and international brands such as Tom Ford, Tory Burch, Cartier, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Dior, Lancôme, and Moët & Chandon, and is also a top converter for luxury and mass retailers Net-A-Porter, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Amazon, and smaller brands like Pixie Market and Reformation.

However, when looking at the different types of social media influencers, marketers should consider more than just the number of followers and metrics an influencer can provide.

A good example comes from a Dunkin Donuts case study, “Sipping is Believing,” a campaign aimed to win over espresso drinkers after Dunkin debuted a new handcrafted espresso experience.

The campaign features several “micro” influencers with 50,000 followers or less. “Micro” influencers can have a greater return and value from engaging with smaller, niche influencers who are able to have more impact on their audiences and are more cost-effective. For a brand like Dunkin, where the product can appeal to people with a variety of interests, it was very important to spread the influencer budget amongst “micro” influencers for best results.

When looking at the different types of social media influencers, marketers should consider more than just the number of followers and metrics an influencer can provide.

THE CONTINUED IMPACT

From entertainment, retail, and travel, to beauty and experiences, these markets are directly impacted by the evolving wave of influencer marketing. Brands are set to spend up to $15 billion on influencer marketing by 2022. In a recent Forbes.com article, they predict a rise in more high-profile ad campaigns featuring influencers in the next year, such as the Super Bowl commercials in 2020.

Social media influencers have established relationships with their audience, and most of it has to do with the ability to develop human connections and communicate with their audience through audio, video, and photography. Influencers have proven that they have incredible power to affect consumer decision-making by setting trends that determine what products and/or services society buys into.

Now more than ever the world feels so small and attainable. That being said, brands will continue to establish meaningful relationships that lead to long-term collaborations, impacting ever-evolving marketing trends.

 

 

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