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September 12, 2023

Back-to-School: You’ve Been Influenced!

The social media landscape has undeniably shifted, changing the way brands execute marketing strategies and allocate budgets to meet their marketing goals. This has caused a complete 180 in the roles of social media and community managers, which are subject to the ebbs and flows of social platforms!

In the last five years specifically, Influencer Marketing has been the talk of the town when it comes to social media as it has soared with the rising popularity of video content and platforms like YouTube and TikTok. Gen Z consumers have entered the marketplace, creating additional demand and craze surrounding influencer marketing and its success. (P.S. We have already shared our thoughts on Gen Z marketing and capitalizing on authenticity as a content strategy in our Five Ways to Market Towards Gen Z blog, so make sure you catch up!). 

But, recent trends have truly showcased how social media has gone from stressing exclusivity and closed-off niches to an all-encompassing and inclusive space. The biggest factor continues to be that micro and macro influencers are creating content for brands and businesses, eliminating the need to invest in this specific area. Instead, the focus is investing in influencers and creators who align with their community and letting the rest come naturally.

So, let’s break this all down and talk about some of the ways you’ve been influenced by this evolution in media and may not have even noticed!

Go Greek!

Are you opening your social media every day during the first week of August to find out what house accepted Mary Grace? What about purchasing the dress Anna wore on Sisterhood Day 1 from her Amazon storefront? Then, you’ve been influenced by Bama Rush Tok!

College-age social media users have turned OOTDs (AKA outfits of the week) and the Panhellenic recruitment process into the opportunity to become influencers. TikTok’s algorithm, which enables anyone to go “viral” and boosts many niche creators and topics seemingly overnight, has put many brands on a pedestal by helping their content reach consumers whom they may never have in the first place. As a response, they have created marketing strategies capitalizing on this one week by gifting products like jewelry, clothing, personal care and more to creators sharing their recruitment journeys.

For example, Kendra Scott hosted pop-up shops on campuses across the United States so others in the same demographic beyond their typical sales regions could get their iconic looks. They even created an AI advertisement showcasing their “Elisa” pendant necklace hanging from the roof of a sorority house, all because a few social media users shared videos mentioning their products! They have also prioritized this demographic in their content, and continually integrate college lifestyle UGC and photos to keep this demographic engaged beyond recruitment week. 

It’s All About The U!

If you immediately knew this catchy jingle for the University of Miami, then you’ve been influenced by the latest TikTok “it girl,” Alix Earle! 

She blew up for her authenticity and organic-natured content, posting chatty videos while sharing details about her life as a college student. Her approach to social media is centered on making her audience feel like her friends, bridging the gap between a person in the public eye experiencing luxury opportunities and the average social media user. Through her platform, she shares her go-to products and outfits, showcasing how her followers can live the same lifestyle!

Earle’s popularity created an unprecedented opportunity for The University of Miami to capitalize on influencer marketing. They teamed up as the TikToker agreed to fund the Herbert Scholarship for juniors and seniors enrolled in the Miami College of Business as Earle once was, leveraging her personal experience and following to promote the university’s program to current and prospective students. This deal also allows them to continue to use her name, image and platform to embody the typical University of Miami student and the potential you can unlock in their programs. 

In Our Social Media Era! 

Did the word “Era” make you start humming the nostalgic tunes of “Love Story” or “Shake It Off’? You’ve been influenced by Taylor Swift and The Eras Tour!

Set to become the highest-grossing tour ever, The Eras Tour is the latest and greatest social media craze. The Swiftie takeover has been anything but swift, from the debacle with Ticketmaster over record-setting ticket demand to the upcoming release of The Eras Tour concert film. 

The US leg of The Eras Tour saw the rise of “Swiftie influencers,” or macro-influencers, who gained a following for being superfans, posting about the tour stops and sharing their experiences of attending concerts. Yes, you read that right; people were able to develop followings by just being a fan! Other brands, like Rare Beauty, were also able to capitalize on creators and influencers being fans by bringing them to shows and exclusive events to tie their brand to the Swift community.

This is truly the crux of the marketing behind The Eras Tour- just like brands have utilized influencer marketing to propel their reach, Taylor Swift has propelled her reach globally via the fan perspective as their content is doing all of the word-of-mouth marketing for her. This ties back to our main point about the social media shift toward inclusivity, as it has made it possible for anyone to discover her music, connect with other fans, experience her concert and become a Swiftie.

The power of the ever-evolving social media continues to even amaze us. We love that it is moving away from exclusivity and has opened up a new form of marketing allowing any and all to experience content based on interests!


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