Social media influencers changing the traditional marketing dynamics and why brands should take a note?

  • Growing prominence of social media marketing
  • A look into a few successful social media influencers ad campaigns
  • Why should brands adopt influencer marketing


Not long before the popularity of social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, scheduled television was virtually the only mass media that consumers had access to and it was the channel that marketers used to advertise to the masses. But with the advancement of technology, social media marketing has made its way as a mainstream marketing strategy for marketers as not all brands have millions of dollars at their disposal to run a multi-million-dollar few seconds global ad campaign. Social media marketing has emerged as the preferred medium for such brands to run a successful marketing campaign on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. Marketers just need to be creative and should know which audience to target. Multiple surveys and studies have reaffirmed the growing importance of social media marketing for marketers and brands marketing strategy. A survey study by CMO has also highlighted the growing share of spending on social media marketing as part of the marketing budget for companies.

However, at present, with the increasing ease of access to the internet and social media platforms, consumers have an unlimited freedom and choice over the content they wish to view through these new mediums. This has created a problem for brands as their target audiences continue to spread out to various forms of social media platforms and it has become increasingly difficult to reach out to them. Addedly, customers are well informed in this day and age and are becoming sceptical of brands marketing tactics, therefore, building trust is very crucial. Social media influencer marketing is the solution to the problem as it allows brands to locate and advertise their offerings directly to their target customers.

These ‘influencers’ are not only celebrities (movie stars or famous sports personalities), but also individuals with a celebrity status on social media with a very large number of followers that enables them to reach out to a huge number of users and influence their opinion towards a brand or a product. Advertising through influencers, which customers trust is the way ahead since target customers trust an influencer’s choice. Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat have now become brands’ preferred choice for promotion through ‘influencers’, otherwise known as social media influencers.

What differentiates social media influencers from other marketers? The answer is that these influencers only promote content relevant to their profile and the target audience. Thereby, a brand’s chances of penetrating in the right and relevant audience base becomes much higher. Moreover, many influencers belong to the younger demographic age group, which is notoriously difficult to reach for marketers. These people are striving to form their identity, and often look up for reliable role models to be identified with and influencers play a major role in their deciding behaviour.

What seemed like a marketing tactic has evolved to become an important part of the marketing budget for companies ranging from multi-billion-dollar conglomerates to start-ups alike through influencer marketing. A survey by Forbes revealed that 84% of marketers in their upcoming campaign have plans on marketing through at least one of influencers. The present influencer marketing in 2018 has grown by more than five times since 2015. Hence, with a current market size, approximating between $2.4 billion to $4.4 billion in 2017, the influencer marketing spending is expected to reach anywhere between $5 billion to $10 billion by 2020, representing a five-year CAGR of ~32% between 2016 and 2020 (Source: Mediakix).

Understanding the target audience and the message to be conveyed is the key to a successful influencer marketing campaign as there is no one-size-fits-all solution for producing and launching a great campaign. Authenticity is the key for influencer marketing.

There were some very successful social media influencer marketing campaigns in recent times that have garnered immense visibility in terms of likes and comments and have also earned very good media values. A look into some of these campaigns shows us the importance of using social media influencer marketing and why all brands should adopt this as part of their marketing campaigns (below are a few examples).

Daniel Wellington is one of those brands that have used social media marketing successfully through a lot of sponsored posts. The brand focused only on influencer marketing and has refrained from the use of other marketing approaches. It focused on both high-profile influencers as well as celebrity influencers, including the likes of Kendall Jenner (who has over 94 million followers on the Instagram alone). One noticeable strategy for the brand was the posts from influencers, which included discount codes. The company then used these codes to benchmark the effectiveness of the influencers from others based on which influencer managed to generate the highest number of sales. Few key facts on Daniel Wellington, following its social media influencer ad campaigns and estimates as per INFLUENCERDB are highlighted below.

It is also worth noting the impact of social media influencing on the ad campaign strategy followed by the global fashion brand H&M. It chose to use the well-established fashion influencers as testimonials for its campaign. But considering the fact that H&M is a fashion label for the masses, the brand also used mainstream channels so as to reach a broader audience, the combination of which proved to be a major success for the brand. Some key facts for H&M following its social media influencer ad campaigns and estimates as per INFLUENCERDB are highlighted below.

Social media influencer marketing is all about creating the buzz and reaching out to millions and making them aware of a particular brand.

Nike delivered an iconic marketing campaign in 2017, with its Breaking2 campaign. It featured three athletes, which had a quest to complete a never before attempted marathon under two hours. The footage of the marathon was live-streamed on Facebook, Twitter, and had millions of views and is counting on the YouTube. This also went on to become a National Geographic documentary that was translated into 31 languages. According to reports by Digiday, in and around the week of the Breaking2 event, Nike received over half a million mentions on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and the ‘#Breaking2' hashtag generated more than two trillion impressions.

However, even though the social media influencer marketing strategy is proving to be more effective than other social media marketing strategies, it has its own share of demerits. There is the data security concern involved when it comes to influencer’s platforms, whom the marketers entrust with valuable and confidential information.

Therefore, formulation and implementation of proper governance policies and programs for marketer’s official social media accounts are very much required as in today’s digital world, where all the target audience is spending more and more time on social media, ignoring this channel does not appear to be a prudent strategy for brands and marketers.

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