We spent the last year telling you that Instagram is the biggest up-and-coming platform, both for regular businesses and for influencer marketers. Now, we’re about to turn that advice on its head and suggest that Facebook may be a serious contender for second place by the end of the year.
Facebook officially launched a new marketing tool called “Brand Collabs Manager” just last week. This interactive plugin gives businesses the power to identify, explore, and connect with influencers who can seriously boost their brand.
Supply and Demand
After glancing over the details surrounding the new tool, it’s pretty obvious that Facebook wants a shift – and that shift is to make their platform more friendly to influencer marketing efforts. It’s a change many of us saw coming after Facebook bought Instagram for a record-breaking $1 billion back in 2012. Granted, the change did take a little bit longer to arrive than we expected.
Influencer marketing is on the rise. Nearly 90 percent of all users trust word of mouth, including influencer content, over advertising alone. Around 30 percent are compelled not by celebrities, but by small-time bloggers and non-celebrity bloggers they feel are “more like them.” Around 19 percent find Facebook to be the most compelling and engaging platform for influencing users.
That’s a significant amount of demand for a platform that stereotypically made it more cumbersome to collaborate instead.
Additionally, we know that Facebook saw a dramatic slump in stocks after Cambridge Analytica. More than just a few businesses jumped ship out of fears about insecure user data, often heading off to more reliable platforms. While the user base hasn’t dropped (in fact, it’s grown), businesses are still feeling nervous about the social media giant’s intentions.
Facebook clearly saw a massive opportunity to serve a relatively untapped demand while also ironing out negative opinions and fears. In tandem with their efforts to fix privacy concerns, it could be exactly what they need to bounce back.
Brand Collabs Manager
“Brand Collabs Manager makes it easier for brands and influential content creators to find each other.”
Sounds simple, right? That’s Facebook’s tagline on the new tool, and honestly, I can’t say it much simpler than that. What I can do is go beyond the tagline to tell you about the features I’m seeing and how they work.
The tool, which is currently operating on limited list access as they ramp up, has two distinct sections – one for creators, and one for businesses. Both must apply and indicate their Facebook profile, website, and information, after which a review takes place to determine whether they’re suitable. It isn’t yet clear whether this application process is a product of the beta testing or whether it will remain in place long-term.
What’s Under the Hood: Businesses
On the business side of the platform is an aesthetically-pleasing, clean dashboard with an easy-to-scan grid of influencers. A set of filters at the top lets you add promotional requirements and drill down through the presented influencers to find someone who really matches your business.
Facebook gives the example of filtering for “Creators who really like my brand;” useful, given that pages can’t see the names of likes anymore.
Even more helpfully, every influencer has a percentage profile listed on their account beside their information. That number tells you how closely the influencer matches up with your niche, business, product, or service based on a number of in-depth factors ranging from interests to age and other standard demographics.
Once you find someone you think is a good fit, just click their picture. The tool will take you to a short profile listing information like age, gender, preferred post types, content categories or niches, location, language, and sometimes, links to their website or Instagram. You can also review all of their past collaborations, making it easier to judge the quality of the content and their interactions at the same time.
All of these features shorten the length of time it takes to link up with influencers. It’s much easier to find who you’re looking for quickly, rather than hashtag surfing or relying on your own analytics. It’s also far more straightforward to get into contact or make a connection.
What’s Under the Hood: Creators
So, what about creators and influencers? Whether you’re an industry influencer or a true online celebrity, Brand Collabs Manager has features you’ll love, too. Moreover, they go far beyond the simple recognition and visibility improvements mentioned in the previous section.
When creators are approved for the platform and log in, they’re presented with their own brand collaborator profile. Like a traditional Facebook profile, this section has room for basic information, contact info, a cover photo, a profile photo, gender, and more. It also provides room for intro videos, case studies, pitch decks, and original content explicitly created for review by brands.
As a creator, you can also use your influencer profile to “like” specific companies on Facebook you want to work with. They’ll get a message letting them know you like them, and that you may make a good partner for future content.
Will it Work?
Whether or not Brand Collabs Manager will turn out the way Facebook hopes it will remains to be seen. Until they officially launch the platform and open it up to all creators and businesses, you should consider it more like a growing experiment or case study. Don’t jump in feet-first just yet expecting perfection – but don’t be afraid to apply and get those feet wet, either.
Something else to consider is that Facebook isn’t charging anything for the tool, nor are they taking a cut of the profits creators and businesses make when they work together. That’s encouraging because it means the platform really cares more about the connection than any potential profits. That said, Facebook will still benefit from ad campaigns created as a result of those partnerships.
It makes sense for Facebook to move in this direction on multiple levels. The open willingness to find solutions, the desire to make it easier for creators to get noticed, and even the desire to provide the tool free of charge are all a sign of positive growth and rebounding.
Another influence (pun intended) is whether Facebook might move forward in the future toward monetization like YouTube, Vimeo, and other content platforms. A monetized Brand Collabs Manager could become very lucrative for businesses and influencers alike, especially if they can maintain quality of options.