How loop marketing campaigns can increase authentic followers
Any business that uses Instagram knows the social media platform frequently changes its algorithms. There are many reasons for this, but one recent change was focused on eliminating fake or “bot” followers. Why?
Undoubtedly, Instagram realizes that followers on its platform are like currency for brands. In fact, Millenial and Gen Z consumers equate the number of Instagram followers with the strength of a brand.
Viewed through that lens, fake followers look a lot like fake currency — they’re worthless but they can be used unabashedly to deceive others.
As Tiffany Rose of Lux Life Now (an agency specializing in loop marketing) puts it, “One of the pitfalls I have seen is when businesses purchase fake followers to gain instant social proof.
In reality, they’re only hurting their brand as technology continues to expose fake accounts and fake followers.” There may be no worse fate than a campaign that persuades consumers a brand is built on deceit.
Thus, it is safe to say a brand can no longer simply pay an agency to generate a false following.
That’s great news for stalwart brands with strong numbers that have to deal with rogue competitors stealing attention.
But what about legitimate brands that want to quickly and authentically grow their following? Fortunately, there’s a new, cost-effective way to do this that is gaining momentum in the Instagram universe.
It’s called loop marketing. In short, it leverages the power of celebrity endorsements through a collective group of like-minded brands.
Before we explain loop marketing, however, let’s first take a look at why celebrity endorsements matter.
The power of celebrity endorsements
The idea of using celebrities to sell products is time-tested. Indeed, Mark Twain was capitalizing on his popularity in order to sell pens over a hundred years ago. Since then, scores of celebrities have sold everything from roach traps (Muhammad Ali) to fake butter (Ozzy Osbourne) .
The era of social media has increased the trend. In fact, many celebrities now promote their own brand in venues like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Even the President of the United States has used Twitter some 11,000 times since his inauguration .
And, without a doubt, a nod from a celebrity on Instagram can make a brand’s following grow exponentially seemingly overnight.
But what does that mean for brands without celebrity connections? Instagram promotions from a celebrity with 7 million followers can cost upwards of $150,000 . For many, that figure is far outside their marketing budget.
And, even if they could pay for it, “normal” people like CMOs rarely have access to celebrities in order to make the pitch. So, how does a legitimate brand leverage the power of celebrity endorsements to authentically grow their Instagram following?
Loop marketing seems to be the answer.
What is loop marketing?
The best way to explain loop marketing is to break it down, point by point. We’ll use the example of a teeth-whitening business that is looking to increase its Instagram following:
● The brand contacts an agency specializing in celebrity loop marketing campaigns.
● The agency then reaches out to 30 to 40 similar businesses. Using our example, the agency might contact high-end salons, orthodontists, and skin care lines.
● The agency asks each business to make a limited investment to the loop marketing campaign (let’s say $6,000 for each of 35 businesses participating).
● The agency now has $210,000 to invest in the campaign.
● Using that money, the agency comes up with a pool of prizes. Depending on the type of audience the businesses hope to grow (in our case, people concerned with beauty), the prizes could include cash, handbags, or spa services. For our example, let’s say the agency plans to offer a $10,000 cash reward, in addition to $5,000 worth of designer luggage.
● The agency, which has existing relationships with celebrities and their agents, now looks for a celebrity to participate in the loop marketing campaign. For this campaign, perhaps they choose Jennifer Anniston (she recently joined Instagram but quickly grew her following to 15 million+). They offer her $175,000 to participate in the campaign.
● Once she agrees, Ms. Anniston will make a post on Instagram announcing a giveaway of the prizes. To be eligible to win, however, her followers will have to do several things, including following each of the businesses participating in the loop marketing campaign.
(Note, this is a fictional example and is not intended to imply that Jennifer Anniston would participate in such a campaign.)
Do you see what just happened? For a small investment of $6,000, each participating business just had Jennifer Anniston tell her Instagram fans to follow them.
Rather than just blindly heeding her advice, those fans are given an incentive via the opportunity to win prizes. Better yet, each new follower is an authentic one — not a “bot” follower that will be rejected by Instagram’s algorithms.
Why loop marketing works
Loop marketing works because it leverages the power of human-driven artificial intelligence.
The marketing agency will deploy targeted AI to identify appropriate participants in each stage of the process — from locating compatible businesses to fill the pool to analyzing a potential celebrity’s followers to ensure that their interests are aligned with participating brands.
Brands can then increase engagement by making loop marketing part of an overall content strategy. This includes post-campaign posts that keeps new followers interested in the brand’s
Instagram posts and encourages them to search for brand content across multiple channels.
Loop marketing is a legitimate way to turn a small investment into a large Instagram following.
Given that the number of brand followers on any given day can greatly influence how
consumers perceive the brand, this is an invaluable commodity.