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How Influencer Marketing Has Evolved in 2016

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People used to sneeze at influencer marketing, but now they may wish they had held their hankie a little closer. This digital marketing strategy has the potential to tap follower bases of hundreds of thousands or millions of targeted, high-value audiences. More importantly, social media follower demographics can often be more readily defined into personas and niches. Someone who follows a fitness personality like Brittany Renner, for example, will have a vastly different fashion sense than someone who follows a makeup vlogger like Patricia Bright/BritPopPrincess.

As the trend of tapping influencers to subtly help push products grows, so, too, does the nuance and complexity involved in the strategy. These days, brands seeking to reach out to coveted audiences increasingly look to the following two emerging strategies when enlisting the help of a critical influencer personality.

Embracing the Smole with Micro-Influencers

One of the most recent influencer trends eschews the battle of sheer volume in favor of influencers deemed authentic and fashionable. Instead of millions of followers, these accounts may only have several thousand. But for what they lack in size, they make up in potency.

Consider Stance Socks. The company has catapulted a typically mundane and utilitarian accessory, the sock, into a statement piece. As their Instagram following and celebrity brand evangelists grew, they began to ask for help from the artists, celebrities, athletes and personalities they originally looked up to when creating their brand.

However, these days not everyone has to be a Bubba Watson, James Harden or Rihanna to help plug Stance Socks. Stance also has an eye for more slight influencer groups, such as author, art critic and Instagram personality Stephanie LaCava.

No doubt chosen for her striking portrayal of a very specific fashion sense, Stephanie LaCava was offered a partnership from Stance to design and promote an haute couture version of their already premium-priced sock line. Despite LaCava’s relatively lightweight follower volume, her distinctive, pure identity as an artist has Stance hoping to intensify their air of authenticity among fashionistas.

“We had never worked with a writer before,” said Stance’s Executive VP of their Women’s Division, Candy Harris. “As the collaboration came to life we thought her ability to weave an imaginative narrative was a fresh way to bring a collection to market.” Together with DeCava’s unique fashion sense, the intrinsic role Stance socks play in her new narrative has given her small but loyal followers something even more unique to latch onto.

Playing Games with Influencer Marketing

Video games are an oft-avoided industry during marketing discussions, but major game launches these days command marketing budgets as high, if not higher, than any summer blockbuster.

To that end, developer of the third person Tom Clancy shooter The Division, Ubisoft, decided to do something different with their advertising budget. Instead of entrusting an expensive, Hollywood-style production company for TV ads, they looked to producers of relatively low-budget, special effects YouTube shorts. The channels RocketJump and devinsupertramp collaborated along with the Corridor Digital studio to create an ambitious, 30 minute short promoting the game named Agent Origins.

Why these guys? “They are all video game fans themselves and have a creative approach that celebrates the game stories in a unique way. They just get it and know what people want to see,”  explained Ubisoft brand representative Ann Hamilton. “It’s like reaching out to J.J. Abrams to direct Star Trek and Star Wars.”

Other developers use influencers to think small, which is to say they get them to help sell mobile games for the small screen with simple concepts but broad appeal. When speaking to VentureBeat about their tactics, mobile developer Tilting Point’s Jesse Divnich explained why influencer marketing holds so much appeal for not just audiences, but marketers themselves:

“The cost of user acquisition and the difficulty of game discovery in a sea of releases on the app stores is forcing companies to reassess their marketing tactics.”

In other words, competition and a rapidly changing advertising landscape have forced marketers to think differently. If you want help forming your own forward-thinking digital marketing strategy based on the latest trends like influencers, EverSpark can help. We can structure web pages, SEO, social media and other platforms around your digital media campaigns.

Take a look at our Atlanta digital marketing services to learn more about what we do, and then contact us to get started.