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The aphorism “Content Is King” is no doubt familiar to all marketers by now, but as the digital space becomes inundated with company blogs, white papers, webinars, and other forms of traditional content marketing, brands are finding it difficult to cut through the noise and reach intended audiences. In fact, a recent Content Marketing Institute study found that over 85% of brands rely on some form of content marketing to increase company exposure, however only 30% of marketers say their content marketing efforts are effective.
Meanwhile, the efficacy of influencer marketing campaigns has led to more companies, brands, and advertisers implementing influencer strategies than ever before—today, 84% of brands say they plan on using social media influencers to boost marketing efforts in the next 12 months, and of the brands that already have an influencer strategy in place, 81% are satisfied with the results (Adweek).
In the digital space, “content” is defined as any article, blog post, press release, white paper, webinar, infographic, video, Snapchat story, podcast, photo, tweet, or e-book that provides value (information or entertainment) to a particular audience. “Content marketing,” therefore, involves a brand not only creating a valuable piece of content, but also distributing the content in hopes of achieving at least one of the following:
Like traditional content marketing, influencer marketing also involves producing valuable content for a brand’s audience and can drive both branding and direct-response initiatives. When brands partner with YouTubers, Instagrammers, Viners, Snapchatters, bloggers, and vloggers to create a piece of content, however, a company can jointly capitalize on the multi-platform reach of each social media star and the relationships, relevance, and engagement each influencer has with their followers to maximize exposure, establish brand identity, and increase a campaign’s ROI.
For more information on the distinctions between native advertising, sponsored content, and influencer marketing, see our article here.
Producing valuable resources is an effective way for companies to attract new customers, but even the best content may go unnoticed without proper promotion. Partnering with social media influencers to promote branded or brand-sponsored content to each social media star’s followers (which may number in the thousands or even millions across YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, et. al.) ensures that the time, energy, and resources marketers spend creating content will not go to waste and instead, be promoted and shared across today’s most popular social channels. Top YouTubers, Instagrammers, Viners, Snapchatters, and bloggers are also adept at creating authentic experiences, articles, photos, and videos that resonate with their audiences, and the best influencer marketing collaborations can humanize a brand and foster a lasting, genuine connection with a company’s consumers.
Social media influencers provide a boost to a company’s content marketing strategies by creating photos, videos, or blog posts that resonate with engaged users. The following are excellent examples of what happens when strategic content marketing efforts are paired with today’s top social media stars.
In a recent article, we explored how Colgate partnered with top YouTubers Andrea Brooks (AndreasChoice) and Blair Fowler (juicystar07) to create an engaging piece of sponsored content—in this case, an informative and entertaining brand-sponsored video. The video has been viewed more than 9 million times to date, making it a perfect example of how social media influencers can increase the effectiveness and impact of a brand’s content marketing strategy.
Mastercard collaborated with Viner Arielle Vandenberg to gain access to the social media star’s expansive audience (1.9 million followers on Vine alone). Vandenberg collaborated with Mastercard to create content marketed across multiple social channels including Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. The clips, which capitalize on Vandenberg’s silly persona, served to develop a fun, youth-oriented brand identity for Mastercard and increase brand awareness among Millennials audiences (many of whom may be using Mastercard’s services in the future). Learn more about Mastercard’s collaboration with social influencer Arielle Vandenberg here.