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Facebook Tests Search Engine for Influencer Marketing – Genevieve Dietz

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Facebook is tapping into the growing popularity of influencer marketing by testing a new tool that will match marketers with social media influencers.

The search engine, still in its early developmental stages, will be dubbed “Branded Content Matching.” It will let marketers choose creators based on their fan’s characteristics, see stats about their audience, and reach out to them to forge partnership deals and collaborations.

Facebook will initially be focusing on lifestyle influencers and brands. Creators that choose to participate in the test can set up a portfolio that includes their audience size, metrics, and branded content samples – ensuring a perfect influencer/marketer fit.

Marketers will also be able to search for creators based on numerous audience demographics including age, gender, education history, life events, relationship status, home type, top countries where they’re popular, and more. Based on this information, the search engine will compile a list of creators that shows how their audience aligns with a brand’s.

Marketers can save their top matches to private lists where they can go to contact them later. According to TechCrunch, Facebook is still debating whether or not it will connect marketers with influencers through their Facebook contact info or provide traditional contact info.

Facebook is Banking on Increased Ad Spend

Facebook will take a laissez-faire approach to influencer/marketer negotiations. They will not be involved in product placement, content marketing, or collaborated content creation and sharing deals. TechCruch reports that Facebook will not take any cut of revenue during the testing period but may once the search engine is officially launched.

It’s possible that marketers may be compelled to spend more on ads to promote influencer content so Facebook will get their revenue cuts that way. TechCrunch also mentioned that Facebook will prohibit re-sharing deals so marketers will not be able to pay influencers to post branded content they didn’t help create.

It’s important to mention that the search engine will only pull influencer’s audience metrics from Facebook and will not take into account their YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, or any of their other channel followings. This could prove to be detrimental to brands looking to connect with influencers who are more popular on another platform.

For example, marketers won’t be able to get the true value and reach of popular Youtube creators like FBE (Fine Brothers Entertainment), Jenna Marbles, Markiplier, or Vanoss Gaming (to name a few) who have enormous followings on Youtube but lower audience bases on Facebook.

“Branded Content Matching” Will Not Include Instagram (For Now)

Even though Facebook owns Instagram, one of the more popular platforms amongst influencers and creators, they will not be including Instagram influencers on the search engine either (at least not at first).

Considering that Facebook currently allows marketers to create and promote ads on Facebook and Instagram within the same ad creator, the move is questionable. The company may add Instagram influencers to “Branded Content Matching” later on but for now, this decision severely limits the search engine.

“Branded Content Matching” is still in its early testing stages so there are plenty of kinks that still need to be smoothed out. Once the search engine has launched, it’s likely that brands will jump at the opportunity to forge mutually beneficial relationships with artists, comedians, gamers, and other creators.

A Word on the Timelessness of Influencer Marketing

What makes influencer marketing so priceless is that creators are able to put an inspired spin on a branded message in their own wholly original way. From a simple one minute shoutout to an entire sponsored video dedicated to your brand, handing the reins to a social media influencer in your niche could showcase your brand in a positive, authentic, and less salesy, light.

For example, special fx makeup artist Madeyewlook recently created an entire look made in partnership with a TV show and popular Youtube creators Dan and Phil created a sponsored ‘let’s play’ video on their gaming channel. Check out both videos below.

Both videos were well received and none of the commenters seemed to care that the videos were technically ads. The possibilities for influencer marketing are endless and it remains one of the best ways to promote content in an engaging, fun, and natural way.

Whether you’re looking to negotiate million dollar deals with the world’s top social media creators or build a mutually beneficial partnership with a content marketing thought leader, influencer marketing can get your brand in front of thousands of faces.

People tend to buy into branded messages more when they are authentic and when they come from people they trust. Oftentimes, social media creators have intimate, strong, relationships with their fans.

Because most creators are so open to sharing aspects of their personal lives with their fans, their audience can usually tell when they are interested in a product they’re promoting or if it’s just a job to them. The more freedom you give to an influencer to re-contextualize your branded message, the more likely their audience will like and respect you.

If you play your cards right and give enough freedom to influencers to promote your brand in their own unique style, a one-off could turn into an ongoing sponsorship and your brand’s reach could skyrocket.

Final Thoughts

Influencer marketing is lucrative, timeless, and more relevant than it’s ever been. This is why Facebook, and other platforms, are so eager to give brands and influencers tools that make it easy for those relationships to bloom.

In an age where social media influencers are trusted more than movie stars, it’s never been more important for brands to be in touch with internet culture and collaborate with emerging creators. Stay current and your audience, and views, will thank you for it.

For more on influencer marketing check out Chad Pollitt’s article, “Everything You Need to Know About Influencer Marketing and Artificial Intelligence,” and review some of his influencer marketing templates here.

Do you think Facebook’s “Branded Content Matching” tool will make influencer marketing easier? Let us know in the comments.

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