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What Is An Influencer: How To Make Money On Social Media

Breaking Old Industry Practices

Over the past few decades the consumer market has seen a major shift in the ways the public consumes advertising content, align their brand loyalties, and make product purchasing decisions.

We have seen an unraveling of the traditional retail era as brands and companies like Neiman Marcus, Barnies, J. Crew, and J.C. Penney have either gone out of business or filed for Chapter 11. In the age of the budding entrepreneur, there is a major shift in how starting businesses are reaching faster returns and building sustainable businesses off of the backs of their social media following. Before going into the power of influencer and social media marketing, it’s important to understand how traditional advertising and marketing practices have changed to make way for these new practices.

Marketing Consumer Products In The Past

In the past the barrier of entry to start a business was much higher, especially if you hoped to reach a wide audience. If an entrepreneur had a product they wanted to offer a large demographic area, they were usually having to invest in print advertisements in periodicals that were relevant to the demographic. Brands would invest millions of dollars into building and maintaining brand awareness in prominent magazines and publications. As part of a two-pronged strategy those same brands would invest in PR agencies to get editorial and product placement. Marketing to a consumer demographic happened mostly through non-digital mediums such as print, and this is how most customers consumed brand communications. Millions of dollars were spent on what is called “PR Impressions,” which is a relatively weak leading indicator and did not translate to dollars. ROI was tough to tie to any particular ad unless it was either wildly successful or controversial. Companies like Calvin Klein became infamous for publishing controversial advertising in hopes of generating conversation and pushing the brand awareness and sales.

Nancy Berger, founder of Grace Group Marketing, and VP of Sales and Marketing for consumer brands Calvin Klein, DKNY (Donna Karan), Dolce & Gabbana, and Valentino, has been at the forefront of the retail industry noting consumer trends and brand communications for more than 25 years. She states in her interview with the podcast Advertising Stories with Peter Levitan, “The past was you ran beautiful ads, and ran them often to create awareness. You used the PR machine to be in magazines to get editorial placement. And you used fashion shows to fuel the PR machine… It was the era of print and spending millions of dollars on a single page in a magazine because that’s how people consumed content. A page in Vogue was $100k, photographer was minimum $25k a day, a model was at least that much, fashion shows were $1-2 million and [we did] those 4-5 times a year. The purpose of the fashion show was the way to get press. You would show the collection and get the buzz.”

It is important to note how the fashion industry marketed in particular because when we take a look at the evolution of the influencer role in digital media and marketing--influencers were born from the fashion industry. Before we look at influencers, let’s look at how digital media broke the fashion industry that Nancy Berger helped build.

Dawn Of The Digital Age

The trend with any marketing effort is that brands want to always be aware of consumer trends; trends in behaviors and how the target demographic consumes content. Brands want a presence in the outlets where their customers can be found. With that being said, as Facebook became the definitive online community, brands slowly began to consider a presence on the platform. Initially it wasn’t apparent how the platform might be used to generate revenue but was actually approached by brands in the way of having a “microsite”. In comparison to a website which held your business’ information as well as all products and services, a microsite concentrates on a very specific component of what it is your business does.

Brands weren’t able to effectively utilize the social media platform until Twitter in 2006 when they were able to communicate directly with their customers. Now a dialog could take place and brands were held accountable for their actions and advertising practices.

It wasn’t until Instagram in 2010 that brands really found a platform that they could relate to. They could continue to put focus into beautiful imagery and content, while building and engaging a growing audience in a meaningful way. The pace at which content was created had increased to keep the audience engaged. As brands became savvy on social media, influencer popularity began to rise and changed the way consumers viewed products, brands, and content forever.

The First School of Influencers, And What They Learned

To understand the opportunity of influencer marketing you have to consider how the role came to be. It’s difficult to track it down to a single individual responsible for developing the “influencer” role, considering the Instagram community is such a viral and constantly expanding platform, but one of the pioneering influencers on the platform was Tezza. In a February 2020 interview with The Influencer Podcast, Tezza says, “I think that’s the one cool part of being an influencer, is you have access to what people want. People are constantly telling you what to think, what they want. That was the number one question that I got is, ‘How do you edit your pictures?’ I did not think that it would take the life that it did, but a lot of our products just came from listening to what people want, what questions they have, and that’s really just a cool space to work in and build products off of.” She goes on to advise that people should be leaning into what makes them unique and stand out. In this digital age of consumerism, people understood that marketing and advertising machines were communicating to them in the past and so what they crave is authenticity. People are craving authenticity, and direct communication with a “brand” or person that they can trust, believe in, and ultimately buy into. In a way, theInfluencer role is a product of a broken and disingenuous marketing industry.

Where You Fit In

However the role came to be, and whatever opinions someone might have about it, individuals that have access to an audience are able to expand upon that platform to build lucrative brands and product lines that are building a strong value for their audience. Here are a few examples of various social media professionals that are currently taking advantage of their platforms to build vitamins supplement brands:

How Gummi World Can Help

At Gummi World we have front row seats to see influencers contact us and build a recipe and brand that fits their audience. It’s important that we share trends that we see happening in the market not only to get your own minds thinking about possibly partnering with us or even just start a conversation and see what’s possible, but we really like to consider ourselves a true partner to the people that build their brands with us. We are constantly looking for new opportunities and trends that are happening in the market and sharing that with our partners so that they are constantly aware of what’s happening in the market, and growing their brands and business. If you are considering the opportunity of building a brand or building a new outlet for passive income, please contact one of our Partner Satisfaction Experts to learn more about how your colleagues may be doing that with Gummi World today!



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