WHEN it comes to social media marketing in 2017, there's no question that influencers hold the power.
Influencer marketing is so popular these days that brands tapping into the Kim Kardashians and Kylie Jenners of the world shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars just to get a single product seen in the same snapshot.
However, this kind of super-fame endorsement not only burns an extremely large hole in the pocket, it often also comes at another cost. Authenticity.
Anthony Svirskis (pictured above) is the CEO of Tribe, a marketing platform which connects brands with 'micro-influencers' or people who have built an intimate following of 3,000+ people to promote products and services.
Tribe was founded on the belief that endorsements from the everyday person are more persuasive than those from a superstar who gets paid $50,000 to promote a product they don't truly believe in.
"When we launched we made quite an important decision in the way the business model worked," he says.
"We thought to ourselves, if the influencers don't already own [a product], or they're not willing to spend money on it, then they have no right to tell their audience to spend money on it."
This meant that influencers would have to buy a product, create an original post around the product and have it approved by the brand before getting paid.
Svirskis says that initially people doubted Tribe's business model as it was the first platform of its kind which didn't offer free samples or pay its influencers up front.
Although it may have been perceived as a weakness in the early days, this model turned out to be Tribe's biggest strength.
"It was really powerful for us, because it created the stronger brand of authenticity," he said.
"We got so much push-back from people who didn't accept the business model, but we chose not to listen to them because the data was telling us people were really liking it."
"Because it was a very accessible platform for brands and it reduced their risk, and because we were giving opportunities to influencers who had never had many opportunities before, people just came flooding in."
Tribe is the brainchild of former TV host and radio personality Jules Lund who became an influencer in his own right.
Interview with Tribe founder Jules Lund
Lund started exploring the idea of sellable media when his radio show's Facebook page became one of the highest engaged brand pages in Australia at the time.
After founding Tribe, Lund received an initial funding of $750,000 to take things to the next level and bring Svirskis on as CEO.
The biggest leap came in 2016 when the platform received $5.35 million in series A funding. Svirskis says this was a major turning point which helped Tribe launch its business in the UK.
"The model was always built with international expansion in mind but this helped us realise it," he says.
"It was a tick of confidence for what we've done in Australia and also for what investors saw we could do out of Australia."
Tribe has now run more than 4,100 campaigns for brands including Cadbury, Spotify and Guzman y Gomez.
Svirskis says the brand will remain focused on growing its offering in Australia and the UK, also exploring the Asian market in the near future.
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