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Published on: 24 Oct 2017 by vogue
One of the major challenges that marketers and brands face on a daily basis is how to have your message be the one that stands out in consumers minds. We are faced with more competition for our attention than ever and traditional media is decreasing in effectiveness because our attention lives in our cell phones. That attention has led to problems for some large brands but has allowed other smaller brands to flourish with the help of viral influencers.
Whether it's a popular vlogger, blogger or instagrammer, these influencers have become so valuable because they have built audiences of thousands who hang on their every post. Over the last year, influencers have become even more important because of FTC regulations regarding influencers suggesting they should disclose when they are promoting a product. It's hard to say how much this is being policed, but this is where the commonly used and often mocked at #ad #sponsored hashtags have come into play.
So when did Instagram go from a fun place to post pictures to a billion-dollar business? We had a chance to ask supermodel and influencer Alexa Collins, who has 183,000 followers, about when she started her Instagram and how it has grown over time.
"I started using Instagram when I was in high school and started taking it seriously when I gained a high following and realized that I could actually do something more with it."
It's interesting because up until a few years ago, it seemed almost everyone was starting an Instagram just for fun to post photos and share their lives. This is what has made influencers so effective as they gained their audiences by being themselves and sharing content about their life. That type of authenticity creates effective ads if done properly. Natural product placements can be so effective because influencers have engaged audiences that trust what they have to say.
However, there is a fine line between putting out natural content and spamming followers with ads of products you don't believe in. It's so important that influencers only work with products and brands that are great because an audience can quickly lose trust. It's also important to not overwhelm an audience with #ads because much like other forms of advertising, we have become very good at blocking them out.
So how does an influencer like Alexa choose which brands to work with?
"Before I work with a brand, I always make sure it has a good reputation. Any brand that I work with reflects the outcome of my own work. When we work together on a project, I always want to make sure its right for my audience."
Finding quality products certainly hasn't been an issue for Alexa, who works with world-renowned brands on an almost daily basis. The interesting part about the power of influence is what comes next. Smart influencers are already thinking about the next step. If brands appreciate their influence, why not use their own influence to start their own brands?
Many influencers are moving on from product placement, and also building their own brands around things they like. We asked Alexa her thoughts on what’s next for her as an influencer?
"I feel like in the next few years I want to work on something more personal in the social media world. Starting up my own brand is something that I've considered for a while now."
Influencers are starting to understand that they are the true brand and the reason businesses are reaching out, is that they want to be associated with personal brands like Alexa Collins. By associating with her, they are gaining consumers trust while also putting a beautiful face to their own product. Influencers are starting to understand their own influence, which is leading them to think ahead much like Alexa conveyed. Influencers are starting to build their own personal product lines and brands instead of just working with other brands. Instead of promoting an already famous fashion line, an Alexa product line would have an increased chance of success because of her influence and already large audience.
In 2018, we expect more that more influencers will be working with bigger brands, but we expect to see many personal branded companies that develop from already successful influencers creating their own brands. Whether it’s a fashion line, shoe brand or personal product, brands are starting to understand that the true value of influencer marketing, is the influencers themselves.