How Instagram is Changing Influencer Marketing
Influencers have become a vital marketing tool for many businesses, particularly in recent years. While utilizing well-known individuals to promote a product or service is by no means a new trend, social media has made it far more prevalent and easier for companies to incorporate these new wave of spokespeople into marketing efforts.
With influencer marketing’s growing popularity, the line between paid sponsorships and unsolicited promotions has become increasingly blurred. To rectify this issue and protect consumers, the FTC regularly adds and clarifies requirements for disclosure — and they’re not the only ones. In order to help influencers satisfy these requirements and ensure transparency for users, some social media platforms have taken steps to make the line between paid and unpaid posts distinct as well. The latest shift toward transparency comes in the form of Instagram’s “branded content,” and our South Florida digital marketing agency is here to provide a full run down.
Introducing Branded Content
You may have noticed a new kind of sub-header appearing on posts by some of your favorite Instagram influencers recently. In a June blog post, Instagram announced that the “paid partnership with” sub-header would begin rolling out, designating branded content. A select few influencers and businesses gained access to the tool at first, and it has since been more widely distributed. As the feature becomes a permanent fixture, the inclusion of the sub-header on all paid posts will be enforced by Instagram.
Benefits & Drawbacks for Brands
While the introduction of branded content was probably scary to companies at first, there are some clear benefits for both brands and influencers. For starters, the tool also comes with a valuable Insights feature, giving both creators and brands access to key analytics for branded posts, including Instagram Stories. This means your business will have the opportunity to see how well posts are really working, gaining metrics ranging from taps forward and backward, to exits, reach, replies, and of course likes and comments.
In addition to gaining more knowledge on the effectiveness of branded campaigns, your company also holds the power to remove tags that aren’t paid. While any user could have claimed a partnership with your brand in the past by adding #sp, #paid or #partner, you now have more control of unapproved affiliations. This is important, as having an influencer who does not align with your brand touting themselves as a partner could be potentially damaging.
Now, for the drawbacks. There’s no denying the value of a post singing your company’s praises without necessarily disclosing to users that the promotion was paid for. In fact, this omission is valuable for influencers as well, who can avoid appearing overly promotional to their followers. It’s for this reason that many influencers have toed the line of legality when posting sponsored content in the past.
However, transparency is important; especially in the age of social media. Misleading your audience is never a good marketing strategy, so communicating when a post is paid for is important for you and the influencer you’re working with. That’s not to say that the days of promotional posts without the “paid” sub-header are a thing of the past. Rather, you’ll just need to work a bit harder to encourage influencers to share your content or promote your business. Your focus should turn toward building a strong, mutually-beneficial relationship with individuals who can help further your marketing efforts. Paid posts will still play an important role in your strategy, but cultivating unsolicited endorsements through high quality products and services must also be one of your goals.
As social media marketing continues to evolve, having the right team on your side becomes more and more important. Particularly if you are engaging in Influencer marketing, expertise from an experienced South Florida digital marketing agency can ensure you are abiding by legal and platform-specific regulations.