Anna Edge

January 19, 2023

< back

In today's world of digital media and social networking, influencer marketing has quickly become one of the most popular and effective ways for brands to reach their target audiences. Influencer marketing involves leveraging the reach and influence of individuals with a robust online presence who are often paid to post promotional content on their channels. This type of marketing is seen as a cost-effective way of reaching many potential customers, creating brand awareness, and driving sales.

The main reason for this recent rise in influencer marketing is the increase in social media consumption among the younger generations. Platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube have made it easy for influencers to connect with their audience and for brands to reach out to them. Influencers also typically charge much less than a traditional ad campaign, making it a cost-effective option for businesses on a budget. Lastly, influencers have an established relationship with their followers and can genuinely engage with them. Because of this, followers tend to trust their opinions more than traditional advertising, making influencer marketing an excellent way for a brand to build trust and credibility.

In recent years, a new trend emerged in the influencer marketing space entitled Name, Image, and Likeness, or NIL. In 2021, the NCAA ruled to allow college athletes to profit from themselves, opening up a world of possibilities for the marketing industry. Through NIL, college athletes can engage in activities such as sponsorships, endorsement deals, and other forms of influencer marketing, which allows them to leverage their talents and popularity to generate income in ways that aren't available to them as student-athletes.

In addition to providing college athletes the opportunity to make money, NIL can also benefit businesses, including smaller, local ones. Student-athletes can often be considered "local celebrities" as they significantly influence their peers and generate excitement among the community whenever they enter the field or court. This locally-concentrated level of recognition is one practically only college athletes can attain, making them a prime target for businesses looking to attract a younger, local demographic. Additionally, NIL allows fans to follow their favorite athletes beyond the traditional sports landscape.

Partnering with student-athletes can also offer businesses an opportunity to support diversity, equity, and inclusion within their marketing efforts. From raising awareness of the racial disparities in sports to bringing closer attention to women's sports, there are multiple ways NIL partnerships can mutually benefit both the athlete and the business. A great example of influencer marketing/NIL working comes from one of our clients, Made Equal Clothing Co. Made Equal is a clothing brand that raises awareness and financial support for local organizations working to bring positive change for racial and color discrimination. At the same time, it is a platform for people from all walks of life to talk about race, diversity, and facing adversity in a safe place. We secured NIL deals with FSU Running Back, Treshaun Ward, and FSU Softball Catcher, Michaela Edenfield, through our partnership. Because of that, Made Equal's social media following has increased by several thousand, and online orders have doubled in a matter of months.

As influencer marketing and NIL continue to grow, there is a unique opportunity for brands, influencers, and college athletes. While there are still challenges associated with this new form of marketing, it is clear that influencer marketing and NIL are here to stay and will continue to grow in importance in the future. If you're interested in learning more about influencer marketing and NIL, contact us today!