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One of the biggest of areas of marketing spend is celebrity endorsement of a brand or product. From Beyoncé to LeBron James, celebrities are compensated millions of dollars to push a particular brand or product. However, if given the chance, would you spend $25,000 to have a Vine made by Jerome Jarre?  While many marketers may be asking who Jerome Jarre is, those who are social media-savvy are certainly nodding their heads “yes” because Jerome Jarre is one of the most successful Vine users ever with over 7.2 million followers. He is just one of many social media celebrities who have taken their personal social media accounts and successfully turned them into marketing vehicles. Because of this success, many companies are now looking for new product endorsements through social media.

Most social media celebrities gain their followers by making clever videos, images, or statements about everyday life. While some marketers may be skeptical about the ability of social media celebrities to successfully push a brand, recent data shows that social media influencers, like Jerome Jarre, are successfully boosting engagement for the brands they represent. Large brands have taken notice of this trend and have started using social media influencers as brand spokespersons. For example, both Dick’s Sporting Goods and Old Navy have developed yearlong campaigns involving Instagram and Vine social media influencers.

Marketers looking to incorporate social media influencers into campaigns need to understand a few important concepts before pursuing this strategy:

·         Define Your Influencer: It is important to understand that an influencer is not just measured by the amount of followers, but also the influencer’s relevancy to your brand or product. Does the influencer project the right image that you want to associate with your brand, product, or service? Also, make sure your influencer’s followers are legitimate and active, because it is not hard to buy followers on social media. Look for an influencer who brings a certain expertise to the product you are marketing, so you can reach a steady group of active listeners rather than a million fake followers.

·         Use Tools to Find Influencers and Reach Out: Tools such as Klout and Traackr can help marketers find influencers who fit the needs of their brand. These services are good at narrowing down prospective influencers for a niche market or topic. In addition, if someone is truly an influencer, he or she probably gets contacted every day by companies looking to hire them, so make sure your first attempt to reach out is personalized and appeals directly to that influencer.

·         Have a Content Strategy: Once you have your influencer secured, make sure you have a clear strategy for promoting content. You should have a multi-channel approach that leverages different channels with other content that complements your influencer’s content. In addition, once the content hits, you should have a plan in place to monitor and measure the reactions of your influencer’s and your own followers, and take strategic action based on that real-time data.

One final point to keep in mind is that, like everything else on social media, influence can be short-lived, so do not just rely on one influencer or one content strategy. Good marketers understand the importance of leveraging influencers, whether on Vine, Instagram, or even Snapchat. The goal with influencer marketing, however, is not just to drive short-term sales, but to achieve long-term customer brand engagement.