Influencer marketing has become a mainstream tactic within the marketing mix. Download PDF Version
Influencer Marketing Defined
Marketers are strategically incorporating influencer marketing as a main campaign tactic, and for good reason. In a digital world of ad-blockers and live streaming, it’s time to hop on this bandwagon if you haven’t already. Influencer marketing allows a deeper relationship to be established between the brand and the consumer. It helps consumers feel confident in their choices while allowing brands to cut through the clutter and stand out. Brands are able to leverage influencer marketing to build awareness and reach new audiences in a way they are receptive and trusting toward.
The reality to remember is that organic reach is dead and paid reach is cluttered, leaving influencer marketing as a strong avenue to thrive.
People Trust People
This type of word-of-mouth marketing is powerful and eﬀective as it takes advantage of what works: People trusting people. Influencers give marketers a way to tap into new audiences in a substantial way. Subtle promotion of brands and products intertwined into the unique story of a trusted community leader has been proven to be impactful in reaching consumers.
However, a mistake brands can often make is being too demanding and restricting of the influencer, which can lead to content that doesn’t feel authentic. And in the case of influencers, authenticity is key. This fundamental component is why influencer marketing works—the influencer’s story is being connected to a brand and that is what the audience is engaging with. Taking away their tone or story is a great way to put your campaign at a disadvantage. Instead, lean on these influencers and take their direction as they know their audience best. Doing this is essential to developing a successful campaign.
As the old saying goes, bigger is not always better. Micro-influencers, creators on social media platforms who typically have between 1,000 and 100,000 followers, is a term creating a lot of buzz nowadays and here’s why:
Micro-influencers are personally invested in their niche. This makes them trustworthy sources, and consumers rely on that to make informed purchases. Paying top dollar for celebrity endorsements is not feasible for most brands, and now proven not always necessary. Celebrity endorsers can promise you millions of impressions, but a micro-influencer can promise you an active audience. It’s simple, since these creators typically don’t have millions of followers, they are able to be much more engaged and connected with their followers, which in turn creates a relationship that is often more influential than that of a macro-influencer. What’s more, there is little belief from consumers today that celebrities truly believe in the products they sponsor. In fact, 30% of people are more likely to purchase a product based on a recommendation from a blogger than a celebrity.
By utilizing micro-influencers, brands can make the most out of their budgets since this tactic often has a larger impact over top-tier influencers since their audience is more engaged and niche, making a more eﬀective use of the dollars spent.
Where To Start
Identifying the right social influencers for your campaign is about taking the time to find the voices in your niche that are established and trustworthy. Reputation plays a huge role here. Who’s your audience talking to? Who’s influential in your industry?
A simple search on Twitter and Instagram for common keywords related to your brand will help you discover profiles with high activity. Start there, examine their audiences—who’s interacting with them and engaging with the content? Does their number of followers significantly outweigh their engagement performance?
Don’t be afraid to reach out to influencers just to have a conversation. Shoot them an email and ask to learn more about their story. Building a relationship with them allows you to get a better understanding of their influence and if they’re compatible with your brand.
Don’t confuse reach with influence
- Look at engagement metrics, not just the number of followers when choosing your influencers. A high following with a low engagement rate suggests an influencer is a fraud with fake followers and fake engagement
- Finding the right influencer is a crucial piece in solving the influencer marketing puzzle. Get to know the influencer and their audience to ensure it’s a good fit for your brand. Having formed a relationship with the influencer will make this identification process easier.
- Be clear and specific with what your goals for the campaign are from the beginning.
- Developing a relationship can only serve as a benefit as it lessens the chances of running into any issues during the campaign. Creating a partnership dynamic also allows you to leverage the relationship in the future.
- Be proactive and upfront to protect usage rights over any content created through an influencer partnership. This way the content can be used across all brand social channels in addition to the influencers channels.
Paying an influencer
- Cash reward is the most common approach for building strong partnerships, but they are not always incentivized with money.
- Other returns such as increasing their audience, shaping their image, discounts or free samples, can outweigh cash rewards for many influencers.
Tracking the success of influencer campaigns
- With appropriate tracking given to influencers to implement in their content, successes like website visits and search activity is measurable.
- Know disclosure requirements and make sure you reiterate them to the influencers. Ensure that both your team as well as the influencer implements the most current FTC guidelines.
- When in doubt, disclose.
Common pitfalls to avoid
- Lack of measurable goals
- Lack of valuable content/unauthentic content
- Focusing on the wrong influencers
- Using the same content across diﬀerent influencers
- Shared content that is undisclosed
With the evolution of social channels making strides with live video, chatbots and artificial reality, we’ll start to see influencers publish content using features like these. In 2018 we’ll see marketing strategies continue to move in the direction of becoming focused on the connection between the brand and a consumer rather than about a promotion.
Influencer marketing is just the beginning of the shift towards a new kind of advertising. These collaboration strategies will grow over the next few years and we’ll see this idea of personal branding continue to dominate.