The rise of digital influencers has crushed marketing costs for startups like The Daily Edited

Kendall Jenner (L) and Kylie Jenner (R) in Melbourne, Australia. Photo: Scott Barbour /Getty Images.

With the rise in popularity of social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, businesses have had to develop new ways to leverage their online audience in a way that will promote their product but keep the masses engaged.

Enter the “digital influencer”.

Business Insider recently spoke with The Daily Edited founder Alyce Tran, about this new, but not so new, marketing strategy which has her startup – like many others – winning over new consumers and expanding the customer base.

Celebrity endorsements without the outrageous cost

Celebrity endorsement is not new, but social media is, and no longer do you have to be a “celebrity” to have a legion of loyal followers online.

You just need people to like the content you create.

This is particularly apparent with bloggers, YouTube stars and even those famous for being famous, such as the Kylie Jenners of the world who can rake in between $US100,000 to $US300,000 for a single Instagram post.

“It’s really just basics… and very old school in some ways,” Tran says.

“Think about Marlboro cigarettes, and having a James Dean figure smoking them – this sort of marketing is old.”

The difference now is that the digital influencers of the world are as important in the marketing mix as Hollywood actors or models.

Last year TDE collaborated with Lara Worthington on a LaraXTDE collection. In return Worthington posted photos of Tran’s products on her social media accounts.

@thedailyedited ✉️

A photo posted by Lara Worthington (@laraworthington) on

Worthington has almost half a million followers.

While Tran won’t talk numbers on the success of the collaboration, or sales, she did say that the business did three times what she had estimated it would do in December.

“We’re exceeding expectations, everyone who looks at our numbers are gobsmacked.”

But Instagram isn’t the only platform where these digital influencers are creating waves.

Another growing social media marketing trend is to hand over your brand’s Snapchat account to a digital influencer for an event, or day, and let their followers come to you.

“When you’re a business, selling product is just not Snapchatable,” says Tran, “it’s not like you’re going to a cool café and sitting down and enjoying yourself [as an influencer would].”

Such campaigns have been successful for brands such as McDonald’s who used behind-the-scenes footage of a commercial they were shooting with LeBron James to promote its products.

“We’re really excited to explore the ‘chat’ and ‘here’ features more,” Lainey Garcia, McDonald’s Snapchat lead in the US told Co.Create. “The instant face-to-face video chat has a number of possibilities for us, too. The more one-to-one conversations we’re able to have with our fans the better.”

Tran said the next step for TDE would be to work with influencers to create campaigns on video sharing platforms.

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