Will Social Media #Influencers Completely Replace Ad Agencies?

I read #Influencers are the new ad agencies.  I agree. In part.

When it comes to advertising, creativity is important, but relevance is everything. While traditional ad agencies are great at concocting engaging messages to grab an audience’s attention, social media influencers don’t have to grab — they already have a loyal audience waiting eagerly for their next post.

This is why brands have been increasingly turning to influencers over ad agencies to handle their creative marketing campaigns.

The old process and the power shift.

Agencies would create detailed storyboards for specific photo or video campaigns, and approach influencers to simply post that content on their channels. The influencer was essentially a secondary medium for the content rather than a contributor.

Influencers are now being given creative license and taking the reigns on brands’ social media initiatives.

Brands come directly to them with briefs and RFPs (request for proposal), then the influencer prepares and executes the entire campaign. This is more powerful since the content will be entirely in the influencer’s style, their voice, resonating with their followers, so seeming more legit, less “advertisey”.  At the same time, it’s more cost effective than hiring an ad agency, which, with all its fees, essentially serves as the middle man.

So is this a wise move for brands?

Absolutely.

First, working directly with influencers gives a brand far more control over brand experience. It’s easy to lose control of communication when too many people are involved, such as an agent and their agency. Working closely with them makes the process less commercial and more collaborative and personal.

Second, the audience reach is far greater with social media influencers. Content created by social stars lives not only on the company site, but also on social channels and other retail channels – Australia is soon to see just how amazingly good Amazon are at this.

Fans love to like, comment on and share posts from their favourite stars, so influencer-created advertisements have a virtually limitless reach.

When they’re created by the influencer themselves, they fit seamlessly into the rest of the influencer’s posts, so to a follower it doesn’t feel like advertising at all — and that’s the genius of it.

Campaigns with credibility.

Influencers are social proof that a brand is legit. There’s no need for catchy tag-lines or provocative themes when the information source is beloved by millions. Their word (right or wrong) is law, and their opinions set trends. Recognising the unique value influencers possess, brands aim to develop ongoing relationships with influencers rather than a just one-and-done campaign.

This way, they can become mutually associated with popular social icons and expand brand presence exponentially.

There are already companies out there (Remarkables, Moda Creative) that help brands find influencers to serve as their creative ad agency.  Most influencers working through these ‘influencer agencies” to create storyboards to present to brands rather than the other way around, then produce content for paid posts on social channels.

Several corporations are already on board with this movement. L’Oreal has numerous contracts with social media influencers, and Viacom has even hired Snapchat creator Shaun McBride as a creative strategy consultant for all its social media advertising initiatives.

Where are we at?

It comes down to this:

Traditional advertising is fading into obscurity as online review sites and social media take over and word-of-mouth prevails.

Influencer-driven advertising is a smart way to capitalise on this trend. Rather than scrambling to master social media marketing best practices yourself, let someone who’s done it already take the wheel.  The right influencers know your target audience maybe even better than you do, and face it: they’re just way cooler, dude. 🙂

#influencers #are #cool

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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