An Influencer Revolution: Social Media Stars To Be Able To Sell Directly To Followers
Using a well-known voice to directly endorse or sell a particular brand or service is an age-old adage. Before the dawn of the internet, the royal warrant was sought after for centuries as a mark and guarantee of quality and premium product.
Today, although royalty is still well-regarded, it is a new seal of approval that the modern brand is after: the social media influencer.
This week, it was announced that Facebook, which also owns WhatsApp and Instagram, will soon allow influencers to push products directly to their followers across the company's’ apps.
Although the idea of influencer marketing is nothing new, this directly commercial initiative is the latest in a series of moves that place social media stars at the centre of retail’s future.
What Does This New Opportunity Mean For Influencers?
As one of the most effective marketing tools for many brands, influencers have already had a huge impact on the marketing industry. Whether their followers are in the hundreds, thousands or millions, influencers are continuing to provide brands with huge opportunities to grow online. But will what this latest development mean for the future of the relationships of brands influencers?
Undoubtedly this step by Facebook is only continuing the trend to make shopping online easy and convenient. They are following suit in providing users with another way to easily buy products endorsed by their favourite influencers in a matter of clicks.
However, whilst both brands and consumers love quick and easy sales, one worry is that the trust and transparency with influencers could be lost.
As consumers learn that platforms like Facebook and Instagram are providing influencers with the opportunity to earn some serious revenue by selling directly, you may wonder whether users will start to question how genuine a post may be.
This is something that is on the minds of many online shoppers and conscientious influencers.
Well-known travel blogger Travel Mad Mum has expressed support for Facebook’s new development but echoes the importance of influencers remaining honest with their followers.
Travel goals achieved! I have been wanting to visit Petra for as long as I can remember. It came with highs and lows! The walk to get there was completely stunning and of course this rose coloured architectural wonder is pretty impressive. That said I did get into an argument with a local for accidentally taking a picture of his camel and not paying him to ride on it. Every cloud has a silver lining though hey? ?? @gopro @goprouk
She said: I feel it’s really important to work with clients and products you genuinely endorse. There is a definite feeling that followers ‘don't’ like the blurring or lines between real life and marketing or endorsing products.
“It’s a difficult balance to achieve and I feel followers respond best when I have creative freedom. If the content is staged or doesn’t have my tone, they know and they don’t engage as well.
“Like I say the most important thing is to work with brands that are genuinely aligned with your lifestyle.”
Sharing a similar view on the matter, Em Sheldon is a beauty and lifestyle blogger who believes that whilst Facebook is providing a new way to sell, ‘influencing’ is about ‘more than just making sales’.
She said: “Influencing is about building brand awareness too. Some people may buy instantly but some may mull over it and in 6 months place an order because of that person.
“You don’t need millions of followers to make sales but just a genuine audience who trust you and your opinions.”
Will This New Way to Shop Change Influencer Marketing?
There is no doubt that these new easier links to purchase will help provide consumers with a bigger incentive to shop online and make an instant purchase. The result? An even greater return on investment for brands who decide to collaborate with influencers.
Yet, from shoppable posts that allow consumers to purchase through their Instagram profiles, tighter regulations around declaring ads, social media influencers are being progressively encouraged to be transparent when selling to their audience.
At present, retail is going through a cataclysmic series of changes that is seeing the industry explore a range of bold new mediums that are better suited to the digital age.
Influencers were already an integral part of this, so simply giving them the means to sell directly rather than having to double back to another page, seems to be the next logical step in this new age of marketing and selling.
As long as brands and influencers continue to value their followers trust and loyalty, we are excited to see how this new development impacts the market.
Why Not Start Working With an Influencer Today?
If you are a brand or influencer in need of guidance on how you can form a successful partnership, speak to our influencer marketing experts today.
Taking your campaign from concept to completion, we specialise in creating the perfect collaboration for your brand.