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Sponsored content is a great way for brands to target and engage their ideal audience. When executed properly, sponsored content via social media influencers is a highly effective way to broaden brand awareness and promote social media engagement (see our post here for why social media engagement matters for sponsored content). Top influencers can have hundreds of thousands to millions of followers. Although there is a constant influx of new social media platforms, Instagram has established itself at the top. With 300 million active users, and 70 million average uploads a day, marketers are looking to tap into the platform’s reach.
Instagram’s premise is simple: it is a user-generated photo and video social sharing app where its users can also follow accounts based on their aspirational lifestyle interests, including brands. Many brands, such as Chandon, are targeting Millennials who, earlier this year, have become the most populous demographic in the United States. Within a year, Instagram use has risen 16% among young adults (19-29) which makes it an ideal platform for marketing to Millennials.
Though it is a subtle distinction, it is important to be aware of the differentiation between types of native advertising. For branded content, the brand produces/publishes the content and it resides on the brand’s site. Many brands are developing their own content studios, such as Time Inc’s “Foundry,” with a dedicated team whose content reaches the brand’s audience through their own publishing platforms.
For sponsored content, brands collaborate alongside influencers who then publish the content on their social channel or platform (i.e. the influencer’s Instagram, YouTube, or blog). To keep content sounding authentic, it is oftentimes best practice for brands to allow influencers to retain as much creative control as possible. This approach ensures that the sponsored content reaches the influencer’s audience in a way that is genuine, as long as disclosure is straightforward (see our post on FTC guidelines for sponsored social media content).
Imagery is the crux of Instagram — users can easily and quickly consume content so it is fundamental to provide appealing yet relevant content. Not all visuals receive the same response. Research data and seek feedback from experienced influencer marketing professionals to evaluate the differences in audience reception. For example, researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that certain colored filters positively influences purchase behavior, and that influencers who post a certain frequency get more or less interest.
In Stoli’s recent Instagram campaign, director of marketing Sarah Gorvitz explains that through testing they have seen the most engagement on images featuring the product in a ‘bottleshot’ with a recipe alongside it. The campaign’s success prompted the Russian vodka brand to increase their method of ‘bottleshots’ from 50% to 66%.
The success of influencer marketing can be attributed to the high reputation and trust that influencers have cultivated over time. It is important for the brand to discern which influencer is the best fit by understanding the influencer’s audience. Influencers gain trust by providing high-quality content while staying true to their values. As a result, the influencer is the best judge of their own audience. Letting the influencer have creative control and develop a campaign with their own voice, helps to retain this authenticity. In turn, creating sponsored content that resonates with an influencer’s audience boosts the brand’s rate of success for a high ROI marketing campaign.
Instagram has recently revised the way users can discover new content. Search results for a specific phrase will include hashtags as well as geotagged results. Brands can utilize hashtags to generate conversation and promote campaigns. As evinced by the tremendous success seen in REVOLVEClothing’s summer push #REVOLVEintheHamptons, scores of fashion’s top influencers gathered for a sponsored weekend at an estate in the Hamptons. The hashtag generated over 1,700 posts within a few weekends and thousands of likes and comments.
See our recap post here for #REVOLVEintheHamptons Instagram influencers campaign.
Established in 2011, Mediakix is a leading influencer marketing agency working with thousands of top YouTubers, bloggers, and Instagram influencers with name brands including Hallmark, Blue Apron, Indiegogo, Nordstrom, NatureBox, David Yurman, Sleep Number, and many more. Top brands along with major creative agencies and PR firms turn to Mediakix for proven and longstanding influencer marketing performance.
For more information regarding influencer marketing, check out our free PDF white paper “10 Steps To Influencer Marketing” here.