The world of social media is changing and getting more complicated.
The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the proliferation of social-media-driven businesses has made it easier for marketers to connect with their audiences, and more lucrative to reach those audiences through social.
But for many, the challenge remains that it can be hard to monetize an influencer’s presence in your site, blog or YouTube channel.
And as the influencer-marketing landscape shifts from ad-based platforms like Facebook to a new generation of mobile-first platforms like YouTube and Instagram, it can become difficult to differentiate yourself from your competitors, says David L. Karp, an influencers marketing consultant who has worked with brands in the field for nearly 15 years.
“I can’t tell you how many influencers have been left behind,” he says.
“It’s just a fact.”
In a bid to bridge the gap between influencer marketing and traditional media, Karp and his business partner, Jason C. Zwicker, recently launched a social media marketing platform, Pro Social Media.
The two are offering paid accounts to influencers to connect them with viewers and share content.
Pro Social is available for free to both brands and influencers, with a $5 monthly fee, and is the first paid social media platform to offer influencers a platform for monetization.
“Our goal is to provide you with the tools to engage your audiences, build your business, and create an audience that is as engaged as possible,” Pro Social’s creators say on the site.
“We’ll also offer the tools for you to get noticed on social media.”
To learn more, see our video about how influencer accounts work, and to learn how to connect your site to a paid account, visit pro-social.com.
The new platform also offers an option to set up an influent accounts for free, but it’s still up in the air whether influencers will be willing to pay for access to the platform.
The Pro Social founders say it’s possible to setup paid accounts for influencers and reach more people without having to invest in the product, but for many influencer marketers, paying for an account is just not an option.
“It’s like a new car.
You have to buy it before you drive it,” says Karp.
“If you just do it online, then it’s probably going to cost a lot of money.”
Karp says he’s confident that Pro Social will help the industry move toward a more sustainable approach to social media, and says the new platform has the potential to help more marketers reach their potential audiences and monetize influencers more efficiently.
“You’re going to see more and more influencers get more attention,” he predicts.
“The number of people that you can reach is going to increase dramatically.”
As the number of users and eyeballs on a brand grows, it’s important to take the time to build relationships and establish a sense of trust with your audience, says Zwickers, who also works for Pro Social.
“The best thing you can do is establish a rapport with your influencers.
You can tell them you care about them and have their back,” he explains.
“Then, if they are doing well, they will start to share more of their content with you.
And that will lead to more of that conversation.””
You can connect with your customers on the page, on Instagram, or on Facebook,” says Zweicker.
“There are so many ways you can connect, from email, to phone calls, to social.
I’m not saying you should do all of those, but I’m just saying, there’s so many options.”
The new app is a step in the right direction for influencer monetization, but even if influencers like Karp get their accounts paid, they’re still left with the challenge of creating the type of content that appeals to their audience.
“As influencers grow, the more they see and read, the less they will care about their product,” says Cramer.
“So, they’ll be less likely to subscribe to a product.”
Follow Rachel on Twitter at @rachel_cramer and on Google+ at google+.com/rachel.cramer.