It’s 2017 and influencer marketing is one of the fastest growing sectors in the social media landscape. If you haven’t heard of it by now you’re kind of late to the party. Influencers are essentially popular people who use their social media followings to drive attention to their exciting lives and the brands they love. A recent study done by eMarketer showed that consumer behavior is changing and that 71% percent of today’s consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on a social media reference. With model influencers like Alexis Ren (@alexisren) and Iskra Lawrence (@iskra) receiving thousands of dollars to post a picture ad on Instagram it’s no wonder every teenage girl wants to be an influencer.
Before I continue, I’d like to note that I am in no way opposed to influencer marketing. Here at Creative Conversations, we work with influencers and brands on a daily basis. I’m writing this article because I want to teach aspiring model influencers how to do it the right way.
I’m a guy, and I use Tinder. Say what you will about the app, but Tinder has over 50 million active users world-wide and with Instagram-integration it has become a hot topic for marketing your feed. Here’s the thing about Tinder- men swipe at almost every picture while girls take their time swiping selectively. There are over 1.6 billion swipes per day, but only 26 million matches. While Tinder is responsible for millions of relationships world-wide, the app is still associated with hook-ups and one-night-stands. The statistics show that men are much more active on the application which leads us to the issue at hand.
Have you ever heard the expression “Sex Sells”? The famous expression is backed by a history of advertising campaigns and billions of dollars in sales revenue. Sex obviously sells, but do you want to use it to market yourself as an influencer? Using Tinder is using your sexuality to sell your image, and it can create big problems for monetizing your platform going forward. When you use a dating-app to build your following you slowly start building a large male audience, which can make it very difficult to attain product sponsorships and brand deals in the future.
When asked what a successful marketing campaign looked like, Fanatics Media marketing director, Mark Fidelman stressed that he always hires influencers with engagement rather than big numbers. He said a creator could “have two million views, but 0.5 percent engagement, while the opposite could be true for someone with just 50,000 views who will also be cheaper to work with.” The point is you need to spend time building an audience that will actively engage with you and the products that surround your life. Numbers will catch someone’s attention, but what they’ll care about is how much your audience cares about the things you care about.
Ask yourself why you became an influencer and keep that answer with you whenever you make any decision. Many influencers I talk to were inspired by celebrities and other influencers before deciding to follow this path. They wanted the endless clothing and skin care product endorsements, but more so the ability to be financially secure as people simply living their lives. With a mostly male following your platform becomes unattractive to most female product retailers, and branding yourself out of this situation can be next to impossible.
Pornography actresses are a great example of influencers stuck in this brand deal limbo. In exchange for incredibly fast growth and tons of money, these actresses are stuck with skewed male audiences which forces them to either upkeep their image or rebrand themselves completely. Not everyone can be like Asa Akira and shift the focus of their brand to attract a female audience. Rather than find yourself in the same hole, don’t pick up the shovel to begin with!
Men buy products like alcohol, junk food, video games, and other things your average female model wouldn’t be too interested in receiving as endorsement gifts. To make matters worst, many of these products (like alcohol) are very difficult or impossible to track into sales through Instagram promotions making monetization opportunities very limited. If you’re into those products then continue building your male audience, but if you’re looking for Estée Lauder endorsements like Kendall Jenner, you need to rethink your marketing strategy.
Being an influencer is not easy. It takes more than having a pretty face or a unique talent. You need to find a strong message that’s relatable to your desired audience, and then learn everything imaginable about that audience in order to reach them. If you spend some time learning about your audience’s interests and hobbies you can figure out a way to naturally insert yourself into their lives and convince them to follow yours. Whenever you get stuck, you have the Creative Conversations team to help.
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