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By: Liza Peiffer

Ah, the Instagram tangent, we’ve all been there. Twenty minutes in, and you’ve gotten through some sports highlights, Drake’s cousin at Homecoming, several women posing with coffee mugs, a stranger’s trip to Iceland, BuBu the Chinchilla at tea time, and — probably without intention — a ton of #ads.

When Southwest Airlines recruited 12 digital influencers for its recent influencer campaign, it wasn’t a niche roster. The airline sent hikers, foodies, lifestyle gurus, and mommy-bloggers to different destinations worldwide. The individuals documented their journeys across platforms using #SouthwestPassport to give followers a chance to win $500 airfare credit.

In traditional media, like television, advertisers are more conscious of choosing content that aligns perfectly with the product. They invest in shows proven to reach a target audience for their 30-second spot to make an impact. In the social media world, investing in varied content could put brands in an excellent position to achieve max ROI, especially with the help of algorithms/Search & Explore features. The Southwest ads were meant to be seen by direct followers as well as bonus viewers — for example, those who stumble upon Southwest ambassador @hapatime because of her Furla #ootd.

Jessica Ricks has 622k followers on Instagram and her blog cites a love for fashion. Southwest sent her to Cabo. She also incorporates fashion into her #SouthwestPassport post.

Another Southwest ambassador who shares “a little bit of everything,” as described in his social bios, is Daniel Preda. He currently has 721k Instagram followers, 160k on Twitter, and maintains a blog covering fashion, life advice, and travel. Preda shared his Southwest-sponsored trip to Costa Rica in on his blog and broadcast the experience across social outlets.

Scott Eddy spent his trip in Mexico City. He’s a seasoned traveler and foodie who reaches an older audience.

Mommy-blogger and family travel enthusiast @itisalovelylife got to spend her time in Aruba.

Smart social media advertising exposes brands to untapped, untraditional customers without alienating a core audience. In this case, Southwest Airlines hoped its assortment of influencers related to many and inspired dreams of flying to paradise. The sponsored content, disguised as stunning sunsets and impressive waterfalls, naturally integrated into each feed…sneaking right into your Sunday-evening Insta-tangent, but you weren’t even mad about it.

Julius is an influencer marketing platform that provides marketers with rich social data, advanced search capabilities, and the campaign management tools required to organize a successful influencer marketing strategy.

Request a demo of the Julius influencer marketing software, or read more about digital creators on our influencer marketing blog.