| Mar 16, 2021

Using the Voice of the People: How Social Media Influencers Can Grow Your Brand

For the best marketing results in this modern age, put forward your buyers as your biggest advocates. It's not just economical -- it's effective.
Marketing
By Dylan Duke |

4 minutes

It’s a common path in marketing — you pay thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars to get your message out. But what if there were a way for you to save most or even all of that money and get better results?

If you really want to market well and see results in the digital era, then you have to take advantage of the voice of the people and let your buyers be your biggest advocates. There’s probably no better venue to do this right now than through social media and the use of influencer marketing.

Why Is the Voice of the People So Much Better?

When you look at influencers on social media, what’s really happening? They’re sharing their lives with their followers in ways that resonate with other people. They’re tapping into core emotions and paying attention to what the people like. And then those people see the influencers’ posts and feel connected, wanting to engage by sharing the content with their own follower base. On a simple level, this is the beginning step of content going viral.

So, you can think of influencers as representatives for the masses. They can work like middlemen and promote brands they believe in while also connecting those brands with their fan base, which can translate to thousands, if not millions, of new eyes. Because they’re the voice of the people, your campaigns can see exponential organic growth without you having to throw tons of money at them.

Social media isn’t the only way to promote your product, but it’s got an edge in that you have a chance to get real feedback from real people in real-time. People comment on the posts that the influencers deploy as well as the posts curated by the brand. Brands can direct message users who engage and communicate via comments in the conversation with the crowd online. It’s easy to promote what you’re doing as a brand and what the influencers are doing for their communities simultaneously. You just don’t have that with traditional marketing options like TV ads, print, and billboards.

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How Does This Look in Real Life?

If you want a sense of how all this can actually play out, think of Instagram. Let’s say somebody buys your product, maybe a sweater. Perhaps they pair the product with their best outfit, fitting their unique aesthetic, and then go take a really beautiful photo with the coolest background they can find, post it, and tag the brand.

Instead of just sitting there, identifying that as an additional sale, you have the option to like, comment on, or even repost their picture, which basically turns the post into a user-created digital billboard. Instead of just seeing the photo of the customer in the product, you can actually engage with it. They feel validated that you shared their content, the post gains engagement, and it naturally influences viewers to want the new product — and you didn’t have to do any casting calls or hire any models or actors (to say nothing of equipment, sets, a director, etc.). It’s just done. For free. Easy.

A good example here is Alex LaBeouf, probably better known as Alex from Target. Back in 2014, a Target shopper snapped a photo of him working as a cashier because of his good looks. The photo went everywhere. People started coming into the store to see him before his shift even ended. He started doing tours and hanging out with other social media influencers. Target never worked for that publicity. It just happened because people shared a picture.

An even better example is Nathan “Doggface” Apodaca. In September 2020, Apodaca had some car trouble trying to get to work. He ended up taking a video of himself drinking Ocean Spray while singing Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” and using his skateboard to get to his job. The TikTok video went viral on multiple platforms because of the laid-back, positive vibe, and everybody started impersonating it.

But what was truly awesome was that Ocean Spray then reached out to Apodaca. They gifted him a bunch of Ocean Spray and a brand new truck. They had him do a national commercial during the NBA Finals, and after song sales for “Dreams” spiked and the song reached chart-topping status yet again, Fleetwood Mac co-founder Mick Fleetwood reached out, too. Needless to say, there was a shortage of Ocean Spray juice for weeks across the country following the growth of the trend and replication factor of the video. Talk. About. Validating.

These examples show that everyday people can have a major effect on brands. And it doesn’t just work for the big guys. If you’re just your average person sitting in a coffee shop and you share a picture of that business and experience, and people near you see it and feel influenced to be a part of the experience you shared, well, then you’ve made a difference to that business. And think about what happens if those new customers post about their time which brings in more people, too. It all spiderwebs out. So, even smaller, local companies can tap into the voice of the people, too.

For Real Success, Authenticity Works Best

Any brand of any size can let regular people represent them. Social media makes this incredibly easy. The key to doing it efficiently, though, is to find people who really come off as authentic while matching the values or ideas your company has — which stay true no matter how many followers the influencer may happen to have. Let transparent people who really have faith in you advocate for you, and the partnerships can be mutually beneficial for years into the future.

By Dylan Duke
Executive Author

Founder and CEO, The Glew

Dylan Duke is Founder and CEO of The Glew — where Brands and Influencers collaborate to connect and execute campaigns. view profile

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