The Future of Influencers, Twitter and Social Marketing

As the convergence of paid, earned, owned and shared media has increased over the past decade, influencer marketing KPIs are closely linked to social media KPIs. Digital platforms are in the midst of (continuous) rapid change. Brand marketers must curate their platforms in a way that satisfies the preferences of users and culture, and Twitter can very well help them achieve this. 

Given its recent boom in downloads, using Twitter as a method of engaging and uniting your community may very well be a game-changer in using a method of communication that is authentic, purposeful and engaging.

More Real, Less Fake

Authenticity, proximity and a collective sense of community are core values ​​that guide many brand marketing activities. In this context, social networks can serve multiple purposes, from creative canvas to connector to sophisticated targeted advertising platform to data provider. 

So how do brand marketers reconcile these different opportunities and objectives? As social platforms evolved from peer communities to marketing powerhouses, their roles as cultural filters and curation tools also changed. Each has its different specialized features and products, but they all attempt to provide and integrate more “contextual reality” into users’ feeds. Content and creative must transcend aspirational aesthetics to satisfy their target’s desire for truth: real personalities, real experiences and real conversations

However, creating and posting content and creative that satisfies your target’s desire for authenticity is not enough, even with exciting, compelling and new content formats, such as live “broadcasts,” stories, filters, and (however you’d describe) TikTok, whose tagline is “Real people, real videos“. The need for a more concrete user experience, and set of authentic interactions, is more important than ever. As a result, all of the leading social platforms have made it a priority to engage its users in a way that parallels their target’s organic and natural interests. And Twitter, yes Twitter, is crushing it.

Along with Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have committed to new security protocols that are working to regularly delete inactive accounts – dummy or duplicated.  These regulations will also help brand marketers confirm and verify that they are interacting with real, active accounts. These regulations are now resulting in broader, deeper strategic shifts to evolve the role of media platforms in marketing and society, overall.

Twitter’s Growing Influence in B2C Marketing

Of all of these platforms, however, Twitter’s role as an influencer marketing platform is certainly the most interesting. Over the past decade, Twitter has been used less by brands as an influencer marketing channel or for more traditional customer review management. Even with the great 1:1 potential for customer service, Twitter’s main reputation is for engaging with people – and less with products.

Personally, Twitter is one of our favorite social platforms and where we spend the bulk of time personally. But even with significant enhancements to its video and live and embeddable features, most branded tweets typically contain less visual curb appeal than what Instagram or Pinterest can offer. As a result, it may be perceived by marketers as less “fun” than TikTok and less family-centric and friendly than Snapchat or Facebook. 

Although Twitter may be perceived by marketers as less “fun” than its competing platforms, it has experienced a full renaissance. Just last month, in June 2020, the Twitter application experienced a boom and recorded 1 million new downloads.

A few events also took place last month that may have contributed to this surge in downloads and engagements include:

  • The rollout of a policy of labeling and tagging news as potentially inaccurate or, at the very least, questions. The most prominent of these labels were affixed to several of President Donald Trump’s, including “manipulated media” and “inappropriate content.”
  • The delivery of direct and continuous news and live developments regarding the COVID situation.
  • The unique responsiveness of Twitter as a platform to discuss, cover, mobilize and amplify events following the shocking, tragic death of George Floyd, and the proliferation of protests, rallies and support for the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Even if Twitter is used more often to express personal or social opinions, it is clear that an interaction on Twitter often continues offline. During a recent event, the Kantar Institute, in partnership with Sampleo, proclaimed that “in a world that has become ‘phygital,’ opinion leaders [now] have as much impact on the lives of people online than offline” (“Future of Influence). 

The continuous use of Twitter, and its online and offline impact, would allow brand marketers to give a whole new meaning of the concept of commitment loyalty, and the virality of the campaigns that incorporate Twitter. This is truly a value-add platform for influence

Influence and Social Networks in 2020

The future of influencer marketing is very much rooted in, and dependent upon, these developments in transparency and evolving consumer needs. Which platforms best enable marketers to leverage authenticity and virality, while limiting potential negative buzz or fallout? Twitter is certainly capable of performing in this way, but strategically, selectively and with the right balance for the “flow” of content and support within broader marketing campaigns.  

Kantar reminds us that the consumer of 2020 is receptive to the spread of “desirable” content. The concept of “desirable” (purposeful) content becomes of special importance when considering the sheer volume of content that we are bombarded with on a daily basis. The heightened anxiety around health and social issues over the past couple of months has also caused consumers to have a different understanding of what content truly informs them in a purposeful, meaningful and reliable way. 

So, what role can (and should) brands play in offering their communities more of this “desirable” content, that makeups this social conversation? Understanding this concept, and how purposeful content will be reflected in the brand’s products, services, communication and creative is increasingly at the forefront of this role.

The introduction of a Twitter feature that allows users to confirm that they have read the content or the message that they are retweeting is one way that Twitter has increased its accountability and strides in validating what type of content is deemed “desirable” and purposeful by its users. So if TikTok is building its model around “attention time,” relaxation and creativity, Twitter’s focus for marketers mobilizes “intention” time, passion and proactivity. Both can certainly co-exist in brands’ marketing diets and produce meaningful results.

Ultimately, the Twitter audience remains the same active community with the potential for virality. What continues to expand is the driving force of user sentiment and passion to spur meaningful action beyond controversy and sensationalism.

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Article adapted from Noémie MERCIER’s original blog post for webedia’s Sampleo.

 

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