You know who they are.
They are the models, photographers, tricksters, reviewers and Instagram reposters of the vape world. And they’re out there grabbing your attention on social media to show off the latest hardware and e-juice brands.
From my past experience, the most dominant formats have been the use of YouTube and Instagram. I know this because Instagram has been the driving force to Vape Chemist’s early success. Back in 2013, it was used to introduce our lineup of e-juices to the world. It was at one point responsible for 90% of how we reached new retailers nationwide. 9000 followers later, Instagram is still our most used outlet in reaching new customers.
Our climb to a steady following didn’t come easy…
Since launching, we have stepped up our photography by hiring freelance photographers to provide professional imagery. Along with the help of some of the more well known accounts such as the VapePorns of the industry and some very stunning vaping beauties has garnered attention for the Vape Chemist brand.
But like all things, the use of influencer marketing in the vape industry definitely come at a price.
The Price of Success
Much like other niche markets such as popular food bloggers, it’s common practice to pay for the exposure to reach larger audiences quickly. Pricing may vary based on engagement and real followers but industry pricing typically starts at $20 per post and can go upwards of $150 per listing!
Some influencers sometimes post anywhere from 10-20 times a day. Do the math on that!
Hell I’ll do it for you to save the 3 calories it would burn to pull up your calculator – these influencers are making $200-$3000 per day. That comes out to $73,000-$450,000 annual salaries. Do you know anyone who gets paid that much for using his or her IPhone?
You really can’t hate on that, because if we were in that position, we would be doing the same thing!
The independent social media hustle is a real thing, and while most try to dupe companies with bought followers, the true winners are the ones that put in the work with quality content.
The Future of Vape Influencers
Though things may not seem as clear for the future since the ban on 18- to 21-year-old vapers (in some states) has certainly affected the market especially here in California; we’re looked upon as the industry leaders of the Vaping world.
We’re now post August 8th and one step closer to a vape prohibition. The FDA’s stringent rules are in place, and everyone from the industry, including customers, is getting a little antsy.
Do these vape influencers remain relevant in today’s market?
The vape bubble is bound to burst, as stores are tightening up their inventory (GCC anyone?) and e-liquid and hardware companies lower their marketing budget to save for a possible exit strategy.
At Vape Chemist, we knew it was a necessary move to pay for these influencers pre-August 8th but with Instagram’s algorithm change this past June, we’re seeing less and less ROI. The plan like most businesses is to pivot and figure out how to stretch those marketing dollars.
Organic traffic seems to be the answer at least for our website, as we are still getting consistent traffic flow from blog posts from a year ago.
Although other industries are just now jumping on the bandwagon to declare influencer marketing the next big thing in advertising, the vape industry grew in a different manner. Many vape companies are just recently hiring SEO and content marketing agencies to focus on solid search engine strategies, something other industries have used for decades.
Most marketing professionals agree that content marketing and marketing automation are the keys to success in today’s digital world.
With that said, what is the future for the vape influencer market?
What it comes down to is what makes a vape company stand out to you as a consumer?
Getting our brands featured in traditional print, TV, and terrestrial platforms is difficult because of the anti-tobacco, drugs, and alcohol restrictions.
Live event marketing is possible, but much more expensive. To sponsor a festival, concert, sporting event, or cloud chasing competition, you not only have to pay hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars for sponsorship rights, you have to purchase branded banners and other crap to remind people you’re the sponsor.
And you can’t track the ROI of that because you have no way of associating someone’s attendance at the event with an actual purchase. I’ve been to a million baseball games and still don’t drink Bud Light. Even if I did, they’d have no way of connecting the two dots.
An average NFL game draws 68,776 fans, making it king among live sports attendance. By comparison, Instagram has 430 million users, YouTube has 1 billion, and Facebook has 1.6 billion, and none of these social networks has an offseason.
These users are mostly younger, with over half of 18-to 29-year-olds using Instagram and 80 percent of 18- to 49-year-olds active on Facebook, according to Pew Research.
Reaching large social media followings on these platforms does get your brand out there, but so does ranking in search engines for long-tail keyword searches, which make up 70 percent of all online searches.
Since vape companies can’t use Google Adwords and are limited in affiliate and banner advertising methods, our marketing avenues are currently limited. The FDA (or subsequent state and local) regulations are cracking down on the vape industry, but they’re not limiting the ways we can market our products any more than they already were.
So what draws you to a particular vape brand? How did you discover your favorite ejuice? What do you think about vape influencers?
We seriously want to know what you think because every corner of this industry is important to us. We’re not one of those fly-by-night vape companies that cowers at government regulations or bows down to big tobacco.
Vape Chemist is independent and proud to be a part of the vape industry, so let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
Also, check out the interview we did with Vape influencer Dose of Farrah here.