The way people interact, communicate, learn, and relax is rapidly changing, and technology has paved the way for the rise of a new kind of celebrity, one born not on silver screens or concert stages but on social media channels like YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, and Vine. Because 65% of American adults are active social media users—the number climbs to 90% when considering audiences younger than 30, according to the Pew Research Firm—these top social media influencers now have the ability to reach millions of consumers with unprecedented efficiency.
For brands, the large followings and influential power of social media stars represent a great opportunity; by collaborating with today’s top social media influencers, companies can boost leads, build brand awareness, and engage with new and existing consumers like never before.
Generally speaking, a social media influencer is any individual or group that has cultivated a large following by producing content solely on today’s most popular social media channels (YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and/or Vine) or by creating, contributing to, and managing a successful blog. Often, top social media influencers operate within niche areas of expertise—fashion, for example, or cooking—and thus command the attention and respect of audiences with the same set of interests.
What truly sets social media influencers apart from their movie star counterparts (and makes collaborating with digital stars so beneficial for brands) is how they engage with their followers. Most social media stars spend years developing a unique relationship with their fans by responding to comments and engaging with followers personally, making digital influencers far more accessible, believable, and genuine than traditional celebrities.
The practice of partnering with today’s top social media influencers to create brand-sponsored content, promote a product or event, or encourage an influencer’s followers to follow a brand’s social media channel (through a Snapchat Takeover, for instance) is one of the most effective ways that companies can gain access to massive audiences, increase brand awareness, reinforce a brand identity, and achieve large returns on social media marketing investments.
According to a recent study conducted by Grapevine, a YouTube influencer platform, more than 80% of marketers say they plan on increasing their influencer marketing budgets in 2016, while a report by Augure found that 81% of marketing professionals who had launched at least one influencer campaign were extremely pleased with the campaign’s results.
Though brands and influencers can collaborate in hundreds of different ways, in general, there are five types of influencer marketing campaigns that a company can run. These partnerships with top social media influencers include:
For more information on how to develop a winning influencer marketing strategy, see our 10-Step Guide.
For brands or marketers that would like to know more about top social media influencers and how to develop partnerships with digital stars, we’ve included a comprehensive list of recently-published articles on YouTubers, Instagrammers, Snapchatters, and Viners.
Snapchat Star DJ Khaled — Record producer turned social media icon, DJ Khaled inspires millions to tune into his Snapchat Story each day to hear his words of wisdom and get a peek at his aspirational lifestyle.
Viner Logan Paul — Viner turned cross-over social media star, Logan Paul has infused his unique style of comedy into brand sponsorships with Dunkin’ Donuts, Sour Patch Kids, and more.
Bloggers White On Rice — Orange County, California natives are experts when it comes to food. In addition to having one of the most successful foodie blogs on the internet, the couple (Todd Porter and Diane Cu) has authored a best-selling cookbook, “Bountiful.”