With more than 4.6 million subscribers and 2.2 million Twitter followers, content creator Tyler Oakley’s YouTube videos often command larger audiences than many TV shows. And popular fashion and lifestyle blogger Emily Schulman was recently referred to as the Martha Stewart of our generation.
Digital influencers like Oakley and Schulman represent a new breed of celebrity in which everyday personalities are thrust into the spotlight – sometimes overnight – due in large part to their smart use of social media.
The definition of celebrity has gone through significant changes over the past decade. Reality TV stars were the first to start the re-definition and now social media and digital influencers are shifting the meaning even further. 360i explored this very issue at a recent WOMMA #WineWednesday panel event, which featured talented artists who have used digital to build businesses based on their craft.
Not long ago, influencers had to plead for invites to brand events – but today, these same individuals are in high-demand. Brands are compensating them for attending events and offering them money to promote their products, much like traditional celebrities. Given their massive social reach, these influencers can justify their value since they boast more followers than some celebrities and – not to mention – are often more engaged with their followers, helping to create that one-on-one dialogue that is core to marketers’ social media strategies.
Funding influencer sponsorships is a new kind of cost for marketers to consider in their planning, since it does not fit nicely within the traditional parameters of a celebrity endorsement deal or sponsorship. Yet, with its complexities, digital can afford some new opportunities to extend the reach of the relationship.
Take paid social media, for example. Instead of allocating all of your media budget for a series of promoted brand tweets, why not allocate some of your budget to partner with influencers and tap into their social followings?
There are also opportunities for brands to partner with influencers in ways that expand beyond the social space, including:
- Create new products in partnership with influencers. Brands planning new products or lines should consider the power of partnering with digital influencers to co-create the new products in order to launch the brand with built-in promotion from their influencer partner. Brands may even consider launching an exclusive line or product created solely by the influencer.
- Tap influential content creators to create content for your owned channels. Influential content creators can also be tapped to create content that will be featured on a brands social profile, website or traditional advertising. Bringing in an influencer’s unique perspective will not only keep your content fresh, but will also give you built-in promotion as you can work with your influencer partner to promote their content.
We know that celebrities play an important role in creating awareness for brands since they reach a mass market of consumers. Online celebrities are unique in that they achieve both mass reach as well as that coveted one-on-one connection between the audience and the brand. As more digital influencers move into the category of celebrity, marketers should keep an eye out for relevant tastemakers and content creators who can lend their brand authority in digital and beyond.
Cover photo via VineBox