This week in influencer marketing news, Chipotle and Disney kick off new influencer initiatives while nano-influencers continue proving their value.
A brand’s first instinct might be to team up with a macro-influencer or celery influencers, but marketing experts say that nano-influencers, those with 10,000 or less followers, have some of the most highly engaged followings. For example, nano-influencers like mom bloggers might have a niche following and thereby provide strong targeting.
Why it matters: SwayGroup has seen engagement rates reach up to 34 percent with nano-influencers’ sponsored content. In addition, according to a January 2020 report by Bazaarvoice, “haul” videos were more impactful from influencers with an audience between 1,000 and 100,000 than posted from celebrity influencers—5 percent compared with 2 percent for celebs.
To coincide with the start of football season, American Eagle has launched the #AEAthleticDept program to partner with student-athlete influencers, including a Louisiana State University gymnast with 4.4 million TikTok followers, Olivia Dunne.
The program will foster the creation of content to be featured on national marketing channels, and every athlete the brand signs will be highlighted on its website and blog.
Why it matters: For decades, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) restricted athletes’ ability to make money, but recently a narrow ruling by the US Supreme Court in June, the NCAA granted student-athletes the right to monetize their names, images and likenesses beginning in July. As soon as the NCAA relaxed its guidelines, American Eagle started receiving direct messages on social media from student-athletes who wanted to partner with the brand, which inspired the program’s creation.
Disney’s new Creators Lab will bring together 20 social influencers who are already sharing content related to The Walt Disney Company. The influencers chosen for the first round come from diverse backgrounds and will be taken through eight online courses with lessons, led by a popular TikTok star, on how to promote their content on social media more effectively.
Why it matters: Though the initiative isn’t Disney’s first foray into influencer marketing, it seems Disney is following in the steps of Instagram and TikTok, which launched major influencer programs in recent years. The difference is, Disney won’t be paying the creators for participating in its Creators Lab.
Teens and 20-somethings with engaged followings on social media have found their way into finance to educate people on concepts like passive investing and early retirement. The surge in new ‘finfluencers’ comes after the pandemic pushed hours spent on finance apps up 90 percent in the US compared with the previous year, and downloads of such apps jumped 20 percent, according to App Annie.
Why it matters: After Austin Hankwitz, a 25-year-old TikToker from Tennessee with half a million followers, started posting videos describing how to retire a millionaire using the Betterment platform, the company received 10,000 sign-ups in one day.
Hankwitz charges between $4,500 and $8,000 per post on his TikTok profile. He told Bloomberg that Fundrise pays him monthly to post two videos on his TikTok, and also offers him a monthly bonus of as much as $2,000 based on how many followers he pushes to the platform. In addition, BlockFi offers him $25 per person pushed to the platform through his unique code, while Public.com offered him a monthly retainer and company equity for a contract that includes replacing the Yahoo Finance stock charts on his videos with theirs.
Social media influencers who receive payment from brands to promote products must clearly label such posts as ads, a top German court ruled recently. If the influencers aren’t paid, they can show products without the ad label, the Federal Court of Justice ruled in the cases of three influencers on Instagram.
Why it matters: Last year, Instagram inked a deal with Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to get a grip on hidden ads by influencers on the platform.
Chipotle is turning to TikTok to recruit an influencer to work with the chain on its digital strategy. The company recently ran a contest on TikTok inviting megafans to submit creative videos about Chipotle; the video with the highest number of votes from Chipotle and the chain’s Creator Class will earn the 15th spot in the group.
Why it matters: Chipotle’s Creator Class meets three times a year to share concepts, ideas and strategies about the chain’s future and the creator economy, according to Chipotle. Participants are compensated and can also earn 50 free entrees, a catered Chipotle party, exclusive merch, a promo code for their followers, priority consideration for future sponsorship deals and a visit to the chain’s test kitchen in Irvine, California.