If you haven’t heard, Facebook’s made some big changes to better accommodate brand needs when it comes to influencer marketing. This isn’t that big of a surprise as we’re very used to seeing social media platforms constantly changing and updating capabilities to develop new useful advertising and marketing solutions for brands that are also profitable for the platform. On the surface, these new capabilities sound great, brands will have more direct access to influencer posts with an inside look into the data behind them and the new-found ability to directly boost posts to key audiences. But what impact will this have on traditional influencer marketing moving forward?
As we predicted earlier in the year, brands want more control over the data and their audience reach with influencer marketing campaigns and that’s what Facebook, like many other companies dealing with influencer marketing – including ourselves – aim to deliver through new services. As platforms start to provide brands with more direct access to influencers and their posts, allowing them to become the true drivers behind these campaigns, its begs the question of whether or not this shift in control will create a new look for influencer marketing on Facebook.
One of the most beneficial things about influencer marketing is that it can fit into almost any budget due to the wide array of options brands have for their campaigns. Whether you’re a well-known brand looking for celebrity endorsements to reach millions of followers, or if you’re a smaller company looking to work with micro-influencers in a niche area – there’s an influencer campaign (in your budget) for that.
Micro-influencer content and celebrity content, while the reach can be very different due to the follower bases, have historically had a level playing field in terms of post visibility as the posts were coming from individual accounts instead of company or brand accounts. The fact that these were classified by Facebook as individual posts instead of sponsored content helped to avoid the dreaded Facebook algorithm which gives priority to those companies who pay to boost their posts. The challenge now will be whether or not all influencer posts will have an equal chance for visibility in the news stream as a company’s ability to directly boost an influencer’s post pulls their content into the ‘pay-for-play’ realm where priority is given to those who sponsor posts.
Boosting posts not only helps with visibility but it can also help to better target consumers who are more apt to purchase the product or service being featured – better positioning brands for their overall goal of increasing sales. With brands having direct access to boost an influencer’s post like they would their own, it not only helps to hit the influencer’s audience but it also creates a second, more focused audience who may be outside of the influencer’s initial scope.
This ability to target niche audiences is crucial to creating a genuine connection with your target audience, which is why we saw the rise of the micro-influencers last year. Some fear that being able to leverage Facebook’s user targeting will minimize the value of influencer’s followings, rendering them obsolete but at Markerly we just don’t see that happening. In fact, this new boost capability can help brands expand beyond the group of loyal influencer followers, creating awareness among consumers who might be interested in either the brand and/or the influencer, leading to new followers and making it a win-win for all groups involved.
Contrary to recent belief, Facebook’s new capabilities will not be the death of influencer marketing but more of a metamorphosis into the next phase of influencer marketing on this specific platform. Brands will now have the capability to expand beyond traditional influencer followers and add their own level of targeting as a supplement to existing influencer campaigns. As for influencer marketing on other platforms including Instagram and Snapchat, we’ll soon see if the pay-for-play solution becomes a more common option.