Social media is growing rapidly, and 45% of the world’s population are now social media users. Brands rely on influencer campaigns to promote their products and increase their sales. And it is very effective. Take this example of Lord & Taylor, who got 50 influencers to post a picture of themselves wearing the same dress, which promptly sold out.
Customers are more likely to buy products when recommended by someone they follow, even if they don’t know them personally, than seeing them in an advertisement. So, let’s dig into the lucrative world of influencer marketing.
What is an Influencer?
An influencer is someone who has the ability to sway consumer decisions because of their position, knowledge or relationship with their audience. They can affect other people’s purchase decisions by uploading content they create while endorsing a brand’s product.
How can you identify an influencer?
They can be an authority in their niche, but this is not a prerequisite. Many are influencers because they are well-liked by their followers, not because they are experts in their niche or know more than others about a specific topic. But, there are niche-specific influencers who enjoy undisputed authority in their niche.
An influencer is a charismatic figure who enjoys their audience’s admiration and can influence their opinion. Characteristics common to all influencers are attention, loyalty, and authority. An influencer does not necessarily need to have a large fan following. Instead, an influencer can make people buy products or services because they trust their judgment and hold their recommendations in high regard.
How can you categorize influencers?
- Mega influencers
There are no fixed rules on the boundary between the different types of followers, but mega influencers have more than 1M followers/ subscribers. Many of these influencers are celebrities like movie stars, sportspeople, music artists and reality tv stars. Because of their fan-following, they partner up with major brands and are very fussy about who they choose to work with.
- Macro influencers
You would consider people with a follower count ranging between 100K and 1M to be macro-influencers. There are two types- those who are B-list celebrities and those who are successful online experts. The latter is more likely to be useful for firms that want to engage in influencer marketing. Macro influencers are more accessible and are excellent at raising awareness. While more macro-influencers than mega influencers exist, this category is more likely to engage in influencer fraud or attain a position by purchasing followers.
- Micro influencer
These influencers are everyday people who have chosen a niche subject to become experts in that field. While the number of followers is not indicative of the level of influence, they typically have less than 10K followers or subscribers. Some influencers are picky about who they collaborate with because they don’t want to harm their relationship with their followers. Now, micro-influencers are becoming more common as they rise from virtual obscurity to become well known and as famous as celebrities.
- Nano influencers
Even though they are relatively new and have a small following of less than 10K followers, nano influencers have a strong bond with their followers and consider them as peers rather than fans. Many brands would dismiss nano influencers as inconsequential, but they can be significant to those who make highly specialized and niche products.
Type of Content
Micro-bloggers have the most genuine, active bond with their followers, which brands recognize and encourage. Bloggers can actively praise or recommend a product and shine a spotlight on the brand. Also, by posting a blog as a guest, you can borrow the influencer’s audience to promote your brand. Sponsored blog posts are effective when the product aligns with the audience, and you can control the content by writing the post yourself.
People are more likely to consume content by watching videos than by reading blogs, which is why Youtubers create channels with quite an impressive fan following. This eliminates the need to create websites and also helps you build an audience quickly.
Podcasts are a relatively recent form of content but are quickly growing in popularity. If you haven’t had the opportunity to listen to a podcast, Time has put together the 50 best podcasts you should definitely listen to.
- Social media posts
Influencers can’t simply rely on their followers turning up on their site to be alerted to new posts or uploads. They promote new material heavily on their social media channels, which makes most of them fall under the category of micro-influencers.
What are the benefits of influencer marketing?
- Builds credibility and trust: Influencers have a loyal following who hold their recommendation in high regard. Twitter says that tweets from an influencer collaborating with a brand can double purchase intent to 5.2x.
- High relevance: Since influencers already choose a niche to build a following upon, they can provide exposure to the right audience if your product aligns with their niche. It is one of the top reasons why they can generate a high ROI.
- Effective marketing: The influencer’s audience has already expressed interest in their content, so it is easier and more effective to market a product. Two-thirds of consumers use ad-blockers, which makes the authentic content from influencers more reliable.
- Quicker conversions: Because most followers fit the brand’s target audience perfectly, they convert quickly. Influencer Marketing Hub says that influencer marketing is the fastest in customer acquisition online.
- Improve your content strategy: Creating fresh content that engages well is not an easy task. Influencers put a lot of effort into creating aesthetically pleasing, quality content, so collaborating with them to co-create can benefit your brand.
- Increase brand awareness: You can reach out to an audience that is already engaged in your industry when you collaborate with influencers whose niche aligns with your brand. When they recommend your product, it helps you gain visibility and boosts brand awareness among their followers.
- Suitable for any business: Regardless of the size or industry, your business can benefit from a person’s voice which has influence in the industry.
How does influencer marketing work?
Step 1: Do Your Research
The marketing team’s information on the target audience- what content they like to see, which platform they are active on, etc. is used to decide which type of influencer will be best for your business.
Step 2: Pick the Right Influencer
Asking the right questions is important before choosing an influencer to partner with your brand.
- Do they have enough followers to convey your message?
- Is the fraction of their followers that align with your target audience large enough?
- How many views does their content receive?
- Do people engage with their posts and comment on their chosen platform?
Step 3: Reach out to Them
Influencers can be very picky about which brand they choose to align with, so you need to show them how they can benefit from partnering with your brand. You can grab their attention by engaging with their posts and signing up for their newsletters. By doing so, you’d increase your chances of working with them and won’t be just another brand in their inbox.
Step 4: Define Your Goals
Decide what your goals are and what you wish to achieve with the campaign. Whether it is conversions, shares or brand awareness, discuss this with the influencer so you can draw up a contract with the specific expectations. Setting KPIs will help you measure the success of the campaign and help gain insights for future improvements.
Step 5: Plan a Strategy
Now that you know your KPIs, you can try to figure out how you will achieve them. Share those KPIs with the influencer, and they can provide the best creative solutions that will help your brand. You still have control over the content posted, but their experience can add a new perspective to your campaign.
When it comes to influencer marketing, the rules state that the influencer must reveal the relationship with the brand in their post so followers can differentiate between ads and organic posts. Having an “#ad” in the post is enough in most cases, demonstrating that the influencer is compensated for their post somehow. Generally, the audience doesn’t care, and the authenticity of the message is retained.
What are the types of influencer marketing campaigns?
- Giveaways and Contests
Giveaway campaigns are common due to their simplicity and mutual benefits. The brand provides the products that the influencer can give away to their followers. The campaign has a high degree of guaranteed growth and a potential generation of high ROI. Beware of fake accounts or bots and anticipate the risk of declining followers after the competition ends because some may be there only for the prize.
- Social Media Takeover
Influencers can also take over your social media accounts and share content for a set period, also known as a social media takeover. This is usually done only for a day but can extend up to a week for special events or occasions. This requires a high level of trust since you would be handing over confidential information like passwords, but platforms like Snapchat allow takeovers without exchanging login information.
- Affiliate Marketing
Working with multiple influencers who will simply promote a product onsite or redirect a customer to your website can help if you don’t have a big budget. The influencers you collaborate with earn a commission on all sales generated from their sources. For example, by giving about a dozen influencers a unique promotion code to share with their followers, they will get a commission depending on the sales generated.
- Sponsored Blog Post
Even if your content is excellent, you can get more traction by sponsoring influencers to create promotional content. All you need to do is share your expectations and provide guidelines to know what you want them to do. Alternative to payment, the compensation can be either a free or discounted product.
- Brand Ambassador Program
Brand ambassadors are influencers who share content for a brand regularly. These programs are long-term partnerships that could last for several months up to a year. Like celebrities spokespeople in traditional advertising, brand ambassadors act as the “face” of the brand. They actively share and promote brand content through their social media, which helps raise brand awareness consistently.
We’ve covered all the aspects of influencer marketing. For those who weren’t aware of it before, we hope this guide has been helpful. And if you want to drive more traffic to your site, feel free to get in touch with us.