Social media advertising on platforms like Instagram has evolved into an essential part of a brand’s marketing strategy. Another major aspect that has become an essential part of a brand's strategy is influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is by definition the balance between talent and brands. Brands aim to get visibility for their products while content creators are focused on creating authentic content that will monetize their accounts. This equilibrium can be hard to maintain as partnerships are often one-time and influencers who monetize their accounts too often can lose engagement. This is one of the main reasons why more and more brands are using ad spend to further the reach of their influencer partnerships.
While the influencer’s followers are helpful when it comes to seeing the original (unboosted) post, boosting allows the brand to target specific demographics of profiles on the account, such as gender, age group, location, etc. These posts feature organic content from an influencer with the brand’s product, so no additional advertising or marketing content strategy is required. Boosting an influencer’s post is also helpful in regards to increasing brand loyalty. Users who see the post are more likely to buy from the company organically, and in return, start to associate it with themselves and even their day to day lifestyle. The action of boosting a post also mutually benefits the influencer and the company, as the wider audience gains knowledge of both parties.
The terms “whitelisting” and “blacklisting” have evolved in meaning in terms of social media. When an influencer’s account is “whitelisted,” this means that a brand has established a partnership with a specific influencer/influencers and has access to their account. This benefits the brand because they are able to use an influencer’s engagement at their disposal, and this benefits the influencer because they create the content and the brand gets to post it at ideal times for their followers. Lumanu InfluencerDB suggests that “sponsored posts tend to generate higher engagement than non-sponsored posts, likely because influencers put more effort into creating high-quality content when they're being sponsored and because Instagram's algorithms give higher precedence to “higher quality” posts.”
Blacklisting, when talking influencers, is when a company puts ads spend on the influencer post on their own account. This, for example, happens when a company wants the message to come from their own channels rather than the influencer ones. It can also happen when brands own the rights to all content (i.e. TikTok) and therefore have the ability to use influencer content to their liking. While the term blacklisting in this aspect is relatively new, this practice is often frowned upon. Another way to interpret this is when an influencer gets paid by a brand to boost its own branded posts without making it known that it's a paid partnership. This can happen when influencers and brands want to get more reach out of their posts and, although it goes against the IG community guidelines, it has become a common way for smaller influencers to achieve higher reach numbers while working with brands.
As influencer marketing and social media work hand in hand, it is important to notice the effect that influencer involvement has on advertising, and engagement as a whole.