Every business is in an industry it didn’t know it was in. Yes, that includes yours! A new industry, typically made up of younger people, is growing and exists almost exclusively on social media: influencing.
It’s an ethereal term, but it holds a lot of weight for any business engaged in digital marketing. Business posts on social media have the purpose of building brand visibility and to connect with like-minded individuals – which bears a lot of resemblance to the modus operandi of influencers.
That means today every corporate social media account exists on a playing-field shared with typical social media influencers. The qualities the two share leaves a lot of room for growth in collaboration.
A mutually beneficial relationship means both typical influencers and personified-companies need to maintain control of their brand – to either get paid by a business for a sponsored post, or to attract the highest quality influencers to market their brand.
Now for some context: businesses increasingly acknowledge that they have to give their social media accounts more personality to communicate their message effectively and develop their brand.
A huge number of multinational corporations use humour on their twitter accounts and often playfully engage with each other. It’s all intentional! But with this in mind, it’s still more difficult for a business to create ‘personality’ with the ease that a single person (usually an influencer) can online.
This is a major reason that celebrities have been the ‘face of the brand’ for decades, and is one of the reasons influencer marketing has skyrocketed in popularity.
The relationships between brands and influencers will surely deepen and expand, with longer-term influencer campaigns and sustained relationships a definite trend to watch for in 2019. The money may flow one way (from businesses to your typical influencers) but the relationship is mutually beneficial – and this is why it is so important for both parties to protect it.
Collaboration on a tightrope
The rise in popularity of both influencer marketing and the personification of company social media accounts has inevitably lead to an expanding of the definition of who (or what) can be an ‘influencer’.
Companies can reach people with sponsored content posted by influencers or by turning their company accounts into a surrogate-influencer. It wouldn’t be surprising if this definition was to expand even further, with household celebrities with active social media accounts acting with all the same qualities as an influencer.
So why does this matter? The collaborative efforts between business and personalities are great examples of ‘collaboration on a tightrope’. Businesses must ensure that the personalities they spend their hard earned money on representing their brand effectively.
The inverse is equally important. If a business loses control of its own brand, coveted influencer relationships could be destroyed and a key avenue of marketing growth lost.
Careful content management can help foster important relationships for business or even form the foundation of an influencers livelihood. Both parties have an important task of control their image to ensure these relationships can fruitfully grow.