Influencer Marketing 101: A Guide to Getting Started

In today’s dynamic digital landscape, social media platforms have become a multipurpose spectrum where individuals can get everything from national news to the latest trending beauty products. Influencer marketing has emerged as a powerful force shaping consumer behavior and brand strategies. The intersection of technology and social influence has given rise to a new era in marketing, where individuals with significant online followings hold the key to reaching and engaging millions of people in some cases. 

As we delve into the realm of influencer marketing, it’s essential to explore its pros and cons, how influencer marketing has changed over time, strategies brands are implementing, and whether brands should be incorporating influencer marketing into their marketing budgets.

Influencer Marketing: Pros and Cons

There are equally as many pros to influencer marketing as there are cons. Brands must weigh whether or not they should be investing more time and money into their influencer marketing strategy. The initial investment may  potentially be small, but the return on impressions, engagement, and eventually conversions should ideally surpass partnership fees. For the Gen Z audience, influencers are their main source of truth when it comes to where to get the best products for various categories, offer the best tips, and make an overall powerful impact on the purchases they ultimately make – aka what we used to know as “word-of-mouth” marketing. 

More than ⅓ of Gen Z customers have purchased products based on an influencer’s social media content. However, a notable drawback that’s been gaining traction revolves around the perceived lack of authenticity in promoted content. The key lies in seamlessly integrating promotional material, a practice that has garnered positive responses from audiences as seen in the engagement. In essence, it becomes imperative for brands to collaborate with influencers whose message, audience alignment, and overall synergy align with their own values.

The Evolution of Influencers

Over the last 10 years or so,  influencer marketing has changed in many ways. Early collaborations were based on personal relationships between brands and content creators on various platforms, including blogs. Surprising personal collaborations often yielded the best results, captivating audiences with unexpected connections. The element of surprise, stemming from previously unknown associations, generated considerable buzz around these collaborations. 

As these collaborations gained traction, influencers began to see their value in the amount of engagement and impressions their partnership content received. They developed media kits, set prices, and established guidelines. Brands saw the impact this had on sales, and they began to understand the value partnerships brought to their business – and so they began to carve out influencer marketing and brand partnership budgets. 

What to Consider with an Influencer Marketing Strategy 

Choosing the right type of campaign, message, and influencer partnership is essential to a successful collaboration on either end. Partnering with an influencer who can effectively communicate your brand’s message while maintaining authenticity with their own voice and identity is crucial. This is especially important as a significant number of individuals consuming advertising content tend to avoid posts that appear overly promotional or lack a seamless integration. It plays better when followers don’t even notice ad content on platforms such as TikTok and Instagram. 

Before diving into any sort of influencer marketing strategy, you must define your brand’s target audience and goals, and find a personality to mesh well with these. Collaborations now more than ever need to be genuine and seamless to elicit better engagement and increased brand awareness to lead to conversions.  

So, is Influencer Marketing Right for Your Brand? 

Does every brand need to utilize or include influencer marketing in their overall brand marketing strategy? The short answer is no. As with all aspects of marketing, it depends on the brand, your goals, and your audience. 

And, you have to understand that this strategy is often part of a long game. An initial surge in results may diminish over time, especially in the ever-changing and fast-evolving social media landscape. 

Influencer marketing is all about building sustainable success over time. Take charge by optimizing your strategies and allocating your resources. But don’t let perceived cost or workload prevent you from exploring influencer marketing. It doesn’t have to be expensive, and you’d be surprised at just how well the right micro-influencer can work for your audience vs. vying for the attention of a major personality. 

Ultimately, you want to focus on getting your product into the hands of someone who has an audience and can authentically weave your brand, your product, and your messaging into their lifestyle. 

Ready to get started? Reach out to us to explore strategies that make sense for your brand. 

The Best Super Bowl Ads This Year

Super Bowl 2024 will be etched into history as “The One with Taylor Swift,” but that doesn’t mean the ads won’t get their fair share of attention. While many brands paid big bucks to get their 30 seconds of fame, these are the favorites chosen by the All Points Social team.

Super Bowl Ad with the Biggest Gut Punch: Dove, “Let’s #KeepHerConfident” 

This Super Bowl commercial starts strong, showing how tough young girl athletes are as they bounce back from stumbles and falls to “It’s a Hard Knock Life.” As Dove says, the knocks don’t stop girls from playing sports… low body confidence does. And then the music stops, and your visceral reaction begins. This is an effective launch of a campaign to boost the confidence of young athletes everywhere.

Super Bowl Ad That Produced the Most Tears: Google Pixel, “Javier in Frame”

Google’s Super Bowl spot hones in on one of Google Pixel’s latest AI-enabled features, Guided Frame, and masterfully demonstrates how it helps enhance the life of a disabled person – all while the audience views it through the eyes of someone with blindness or low vision. The tagline “Capture life, no matter how you experience it” is perfection. Cue the tears.

Super Bowl Ad with the Most Fun: Kawasaki, “Mullets” 

Sometimes, a solid Super Bowl commercial is all about having fun. Kawasaki nailed this with its homage to mullets – business in the front, party in the back – to advertise the new Ridge sport utility UTV. Let the good times roll indeed.

Super Bowl Ad with the Best Cameos: e.l.f. Cosmetics, “In e.l.f. We Trust” 

“Suits” was the most-streamed show in 2023. e.l.f. Cosmetics leveraged everyone’s favorite legal drama by dropping two of its characters into the courtroom of Judge Beauty (no other than Judge Judy) to litigate against overspending on beauty in favor of affordable, cruelty-free e.l.f. products. Joining Louis Litt and Jessica Pearson is a star-studded courtroom, including “Jury Duty’s” Ronald Gladden, Meghan Trainor, HeidiNCloset of “Ru Paul’s Drag Race,” comedian Benito Skinner (aka Benny Drama), and more. Shoutout to Donna (Sarah Rafferty) as the court stenographer. This just might become one of the most memorable Super Bowl 2024 ads.

Super Bowl Ad with the Most Slapstick Comedy: Reese’s, “Yes!” 

Reese’s cranked up the funny factor and focused on slapstick comedy as part of its new product reveal, the Caramel Big Cup.

Super Bowl Ad with the Most Uncomfortable Mirror of Reality: Pluto TV, “Couch Potato Farms” 

As prices for streaming services rise, more and more Americans are canceling their accounts and embracing a subscription-less TV and movie life. Enter Pluto TV, a free ad-supported streaming service that’s kind of like how TV used to be, but with many, many more channels at your fingertips. There is a non-monetary cost, though –the more free TV you watch, the more likely you are to morph into a literal couch potato.

Super Bowl Ad with the Most Compelling Puppy-to-Dog Storyline (and Clydesdales): Budweiser, “Old School Delivery” 

Budweiser’s Super Bowl commercial leverages its beloved Clydesdale tradition. This time, the Clydesdales help deliver kegs of Budweiser “the old-fashioned way” after a big snowstorm hits. But there’s a deeper layer of meaning to this spot in the form of the Yellow lab that greets the horses upon their arrival. Could it be the puppy from 2014’s “Best Buds” – arguably one of the best Super Bowl ads of all time – all grown up and reuniting with his old friend?

Super Bowl Ad with the Best Use of Weird Barbie: Hellmann’s, “Mayo Cat” 

What’s weirder than Weird Barbie? A cat acting as spokesperson for mayonnaise? It’s as good a guess as any. Hellmann’s captures Kate McKinnon’s trademark goofiness and well-documented love for cats in this very funny Super Bowl spot. It’s complete with a hilarious cameo by Pete Davidson.

Super Bowl Ad with the Best Big Game Punchline: UberEats, “Don’t Forget”

With this Super Bowl commercial, UberEats positions itself as the solution for when you forget all about dinner/errands and have nowhere else to turn. It shows various celebrities and people in real-life situations forgetting key aspects of their lives: Jennifer Aniston forgot working with David Schwimmer for a decade on “Friends,” Victoria and David Beckham can’t remember what the “Spice Girls” were called (“Paprika Girls?”), a person with a peanut allergy realizes too late that peanuts are the main ingredient of peanut butter, and so on. In the end, Usher says he wishes he could play the Super Bowl half-time show someday. It’s funny unless you don’t know who Usher is.

Super Bowl Ads with the Best Nod to Meme Culture: Dunkin’, “PopStar” and “The DunKings”

Once again, New England icon Ben Affleck stars in a “Dunkin'” Super Bowl ad. This time, the two-part ad storyline riffs off of the “Sad Ben Affleck” memes that make up much of the social media lexicon. Ben is fueling himself with Dunkin’ to fight back against his “Sad Ben” status by becoming a pop star. This Super Bowl spot also gets an honorable mention for the best use of celebrities to bridge the generational divide, with TikTok queen Charli D’Amelio showing Ben how it’s done these days.

Later, we see Ben’s efforts on display when his boy band, “The DunKings,” enters J.Lo’s recording studio. It doesn’t go well, but at least Matt Damon has Ben’s back.

So there you have it: All Points Social’s picks for the best Super Bowl 2024 ads. Some will be forgotten by Monday; others will become Super Bowl lore. Only time will tell.