There are two types of users: Those who set trends and those who follow them. All the most widely used social sites have both. Twitter is a known hangout for celebrities, while Facebook is an obvious choice for brands. Instagram, however, appeals to both. While it’s obviously the new place to follow your favorite TV shows, it’s also no secret that popular brands are flocking to Instagram – the media-sharing app is being utilized not just to share photos of products, but to also forge relationships with consumers who use them.
As brands constantly look for new and creative ways to engage with their fans online, one company underwent a substantial makeover and has a new app targeting this user-brand intersection: Snapfluence.
Venueseen, a marketing platform that allows brands to start, promote, and track online campaigns on Twitter and Instagram, changed their company name to Seen this week, to better reflect their goals for their clients.””We’ve learned that one of the biggest challenges brands face is effectively activating their campaign. We’ve now eliminated that hurdle with Snapfluence,” says Seen CEO Brian Zuercher. “By connecting brands with Instagram influencers who already love their service or product, we help them expand their campaign’s reach and generate better results.”
Users can now go to the Snapfluence site and sign up to become an ambassador. As an ambassador, you become a lifestyle photographer of sorts – through your stream of photos, you produce content relevant to certain brands looking for unique photo campaign opportunities. While Snapfluence accepts applications from everyone, they do have a vetting process that analyzes the quality of media and engagement you have with your followers. People with a high follower count don’t automatically get accepted – while you need a minimum of 1,000 followers to qualify, you also have to be compatible with one of the brands Snapfluence is working with and you have to have a genuine repartee with your community.
Once you are accepted to become an ambassador, you will be matched with a brand whose product or service matches your interests and lifestyle. In return, brands can connect with you as an influencer for either a one-time campaign or a long-term partnership.
Every campaign comes with its own objective and hashtag. As an ambassador, you are required to compose and create photographic content that effectively portrays the brand’s lifestyle and conveys the campaign’s main message while also using the hashtag associated with it. Spamming your followers and overloading your Instagram feed with poorly thought out campaign-related entries are highly discouraged.
By effectively engaging with your audience, you may enjoy certain benefits that depend on the form of compensation package brands have in place. Depending on each unique campaign’s budget and focus, you may be rewarded with access to free products, monetary sponsorships, or more exposure for your personal brand. In return, brands don’t have to go through all the motions of networking and laboriously scouring the Internet for the right people to represent them in their online campaigns.
“Instagram campaigns lets brands tell their story visually through the eyes of their customer. It’s real content created by real fans providing real results,” says Zuercher, when asked why the company chose to concentrate more on Instagram as a launching pad for brand online marketing.
You have to admit, receiving freebies for your Instagram posts seems great, but Snapfluence does more than reward you for your growing social media addiction. Of course, there’s the potential downside: If everyone you follow wants to become a Snapfluence user, it essentially means that your feed would be an endless stream of ads. Very natural, pretty, uninterruptive ads – but ads nonetheless.
And obviously, unless you have 1K followers, there’s no point in applying. Snapfluence puts an emphasis on how many followers you have, for good reasons; brands want to reach a wide audience. But the setup means that more and more users will focus on growing their ranks, which can lead to a few things: Buying likes and followers, overhashtagging, 10+ images a day from one person.
It all highlights the challenge that faces Instagram. It’s a beloved app with an incredibly loyal community, but it’s also a huge opportunity for brands. Finding compromises between staying true to its roots and not isolating its original members while also giving marketers a crack at its platform remains a tough line to ride.
Snapfluence is a solution that can help find a happy medium, because it’s a way to give real users a chance to take real pictures that are “spun” as ads, instead of plain old … ads. But how we users end up trying to achieve Snapfluence status is something that could end up hurting the Instagram experience. Instagramming for fun is different than Instagramming for profit.
Of course the other way to look at it is the tide has turned: Instagram recently announced ads are in our near future and brands have clearly staked their claim. So hop aboard, regular users! The rewards are ours for the taking.