06Jun

When the pandemic hit and Americans hunkered down, spending on essentials and entertainment, but on little else, brands naturally cut their marketing budgets.

One area that survived was social media influencers. After dipping slightly at the outset of the quarantine, social influencer spending quickly returned to pre-COVID levels. Meanwhile, other advertising, including digital, continued to decline so much that 7-in-10 CMOs have seen an average 19% cut in their marketing budgets.

From an almost accidental niche specialty, influencer marketing has become a big part of digital marketing. Spending on social influence was estimated to hit $9.7 billion this year.

Marketers report that for every $1 they spend on social influence they earn an average media value of $5.78. No surprise then that influencer jobs have become one of the hottest new marketing careers. By virtue of the relationship they’ve established with their audience, social media influencers can introduce their followers to a new brand, or boost an established brand’s sales simply by posting about them.

Until recently, influencers didn’t see what for many began as a hobby as a career. They wrote blogs, posted videos and images to YouTube and Instagram channels and otherwise produced content about what most interested them. As they gained followers, they gained influence and companies noticed.

Kylie Jenner, with 164 million Instagram followers, can drive huge sales for her cosmetics line and for other products she promotes. So effective is her influence that companies pay her hundreds of thousands, even up to a million to post about their products.

Social media influencer google trend.png

More typically, the average established influencer earns $30,000 to $100,000. Increasingly, brands are willing to work with nano-influencers who may only have a few thousand followers, but as authorities in their niche, exert an outsize influence on buying decisions.

The money is what makes a social media influencer career so appealing 54% of Gen Z and millennials say they’d become one given the opportunity. Increasingly, companies are offering those opportunities, opting to grow their own social media influencers.ProjectCasting.com found a job posting to become an influencer for a startup. The three positions reportedly pay $120,000.

That’s still the exception. For obvious reasons, brands want to work with established influencers. When they advertise influencer jobs, what they’re usually looking for are marketers to develop and manage a social media influencer program. These jobs may be described as “Influencer Strategist,” “Social Media Coordinator,” “Social Media and Influencer Manager,” “Brand Influencer” and other titles. These marketers identify, recruit and manage influencers, developing campaigns, often creating the content and always measuring and reporting on results.

If working in influencer marketing sounds interesting take a look at the many digital marketing and online creative positions we have available. Even if the right one for you isn’t there today submit your resume. We’re always looking for talented creative people. When the perfect job for you pops up, you’ll hear from us first.

Photo by dole777 on Unsplash

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Green Key

The Rising Star of Digital Marketers

Pandemic driven business closures, budget cuts and sweeping changes in consumer habits have forced marketers to throw out their playbook, developing new strategies on the fly and pivoting from quarterly plans to going week by week.

Forced to make-do without access to production teams or facilities, marketers have embraced digital media in new and unique ways, placing even greater reliance on social media to reach consumers.

“We can’t go get images and shoot videos for most clients. This situation calls for a lot of virtual communication, both externally and internally,” one marketer explained in a whitepaper produced by Social Media Today. “Just got off of a two hour Zoom call during which we solely discussed social media!”

But will these strategies survive in a post-COVID world? What will the future look like for digital marketers?

Those are the questions Social Media Today put to its 1 million+ audience, finding that many of the experiments the pandemic has forced upon marketers will become — in fact are already becoming — best practices.

Among the six trends Social Media Today’s readers identified is the rising value of social media jobs and creativity skills.

“Out of all marketing strategies, I believe that social media will be the main one to thrive in the post-COVID world,” said author and digital marketing consultant Lilach Bullock.

“For one thing,” she said, “It’s easier and cheaper for brands to leverage social media and for another, people all over the world are spending more time indoors than outdoors – and therefore, more time online.”

Her view was echoed by Esa Mbouw, deputy head of business administration at Swiss German University. “I see a huge positive shift towards the digital world post-COVID,” he says. “People of all backgrounds are adapting to the digital lifestyle and I predict they will be craving for more social media content.”

Data from The Harris Poll tells us Americans are already consuming more social media than before the virus outbreak. Harris found half of all consumers were using more social media with the largest increase (64%) among those 35-49.

As the world continues to open up, the time spent online will inevitably decline, but almost certainly not to previous levels. Exposed now to a broader range of content, consumers will want more. Marketers will fill that demand, Social Media Today found, with even greater and more innovative use of video.

But not just any content, say marketers. They predict brand communication will be more authentic, tinged with a sense of social consciousness that will be empathetic and compassionate and influenced by greater listening to what consumers are saying.

“Social media content will be created that better engages the consumer — asking questions, sharing polls, and hosting mini-events like Twitter chats and movie watch-along nights that are relevant to their industry on Twitter,” said Deborah Sweeney, CEO of the online business documents and services firm MyCorporation.com.

Finally, marketers predict that change will be constant.

As one marketer tweeted, “You gotta be constantly learning, innovating, & putting it out there. Not to be Captain Obvious but that must continue. Consumers want more.”

Photo by Szabo Viktor

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Green Key