At FutureCast®, we like to break the rules. We shocked everyone last year when we said social media (marketing) was dead, and we’re about to do it again. Are you ready?
Kim Kardashian is not an influencer. Neither is Kanye West or Jay Z or dare we say it, Queen B (don’t hate me Bey, I’m still part of the Beehive).
Sure these big names boast millions of followers and promote dozens of brands on a daily basis, but their actual influence on consumers is relatively low. Think about it this way, are you more likely to buy a product because Kim K used it for thirty seconds in Keeping Up With The Kardashians or because your best friend swears by it and always tells you how much she loves it?
The traditional way of determining influencers was simply to look at the amount of reach a person had. Now, however, the value of an influencer does not only rely on reach but also on content, conversation and engagement. This has fueled the creation of what we like to call the Social Satellite.
The Social Satellite refers to the constant monitoring of digital conversations in order to engage with loyal fans that have a strong influence in their personal networks. For example, Dairy Queen fan, @imjimr87 has fewer than 1,000 followers but is an avid DQ fan. After one visit to his local store, Jim tweeted that he was upset about the short spoon he was given to eat his blizzard. Instead of passing over the tweet, Elizabeth Solomon, a community manager and social media expert for the Dairy Queen social activation team, responded by sending Jim 40 long spoons. Jim’s influence has spread to his network and now his 1,000 followers are becoming just as loyal to DQ as Jim is.
Estee Lauder Co. skin care brand, Origins, has also embraced this new definition of social influencer. The brand’s new campaign, Quarter Life Skincare, is targeted specifically to millennials who have graduated from acne skin care products but are not mature enough for the anti-wrinkle lines. The goal of the campaign is not to talk at millennials but rather with them through individual influencers from various networks.
As a result, Origins has partnered with several millennial digital influencers to help spark the conversation by sharing their own insights and solutions to quarter life from beauty to career to relationships. The brand is currently working with 40 social-media influencers and is invested in working with millennials on a personal level.
In fact, Bee Stanton, a popular designer on Instagram, created the illustrations for the brand. While Bee’s 8,700 followers rank relatively low when compared to other high reach designers in the market, her community is extremely responsive to her illustrations and her work and opinions have a strong influence on her followers. Origins’ partnership with Bee is an attempt to create a brand for millennials by millennials without relying on the traditional methods of celebrity endorsement that many skin care products default to.
This re-imagination of what defines a social influencer will lead to a complete revolution within the marketing world. Brands will begin to turn away from major endorsements that have directed the marketing world for decades and will instead turn towards a more democratized approach to marketing where brand fans actually become brand ambassadors and genuinely have a part in the co-creation of the brand itself.