The trend of influencer marketing is taking off. In recent years, we’ve seen many brands look to popular leaders in a field, or influencers, to drive their message to their consumers. The benefits of an influencer are clear and can send your brand awareness soaring!
What is an influencer?
An influencer is person who is active online and has a following. Whether this is on social media sites, such as Instagram, or on YouTube, this person is followed by your target audience and has an influence over their decision-making process. Identifying these individuals who have influence over your potential buyers helps you orientate your marketing around this market. Through using influencers, who are usually individuals passionate about the industry they focus on, they can persuade a large audience to buy through their authenticity and reach.
According to a study by Collective Bias, 30% of consumers are more likely to buy a product if it is recommended by a non-celebrity blogger. With more consumers turning to influencers for guidance on how a product works and whether it’s worth investing in, influencer marketing helps to guide consumers to your product.
Having influencers to help spread your brand’s message, product and services can make a difference to your bottom line too.
So, it pays to have a good influencer strategy.
Influencer marketing is fast-changing. This is because an influencer’s reach is based on popularity that can change rapidly as styles change. There are many changes that you could encounter with influencers, so it’s best to understand as much as possible about them before starting. Here are the main areas you should then focus your research on before executing your influencer marketing strategy.
- Understand your target audience: Before you create a strategy, you’ll need to identify who you are trying to reach. Once factors such as demographic and interests have been identified, it becomes easier to find an influencer suited to your audience.
- Vet influencers: When picking your influencer, make sure to scrutinize their online and offline activity. You want to make sure that the influencer will align well with your brand. Any negative press they have could reflect badly on you. Researching them and their history will help to eliminate any potential threat. It’s important to also vet influencers’ audiences. You want their followers to be a part of your target audience so you can be sure you will benefit from the campaign. Make sure that they fit your brand and its needs.
- Check the competition: It is vital you understand whether influencer marketing can work for your company. By looking to previous examples of influencer marketing done by both your influencer and your sector, you can gain a better understanding of whether influencer marketing is worthwhile for you.
How to create an influencer strategy
Once you’ve researched everything, it is time to contact the influencer. As influencer marketing is all about building working relationships with influencers, nurture your relationship first. By doing this, you’re more likely to create an environment the influencer wants to work in. You’re not dealing with big companies here, but individuals. Through showing genuine passion in your marketing approach, filed and topics, you’ll stand out.
Make sure there’s something in it for the influencer. While it’s important to make sure that you’re getting what you need out of this transaction, your influencer is unlikely to help without something in return. Whether this is samples, money or even a genuine love of the product they are promoting, make sure the campaign is appealing to the influencer.
A great way to do this is involving them in the creation of the campaign. Through bringing them into the planning process, you’re more likely to achieve better results. Firstly, they’ll show more interest and enthusiasm in the project, as it becomes personal. Secondly, your influencer already has a good idea of what is appealing to their audience. You’ll be able to better target your campaign to its intended audience with your influencer’s help. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, it will feel genuine. Your potential buyers are more likely to trust marketing that feels authentic.
Remember to budget for your influencers
A common misconception of influencer marketing is that it is cheap. While this may have been the case a few years ago, its popularity means it’s now a booming business. As influencer marketing grows, so do the fees. It’s important that you budget for it – include it as part of your advertising spend.
How much will, or should, it cost? This really depends on the platform and influencer. It could be anything from $250 per Instagram post for social stars with less than 50,000 followers to anything around $1,000 per 100,000 followers per post. For well-known celebrity influencers the fees are much higher and you could be looking at $250,000 per post. So, it’s important to factor your budget into your strategy and be realistic.
Top tip: Knowing what your money can buy you can help to set your expectations at a more realistic level. It’s vital you understand your budget before taking part in influencer marketing. Even if your budget is limited, you can still achieve results. Research for the biggest market you can reach for your money. Even smaller accounts can have a more appropriate market for your company. A financially planned and direct approach is more likely to pay off.
Prioritise engagement over follower count
Just because influencers have a large audience, it doesn’t mean that it is right for your business. Learning how to research and identify influencers that reach your target audience and have solid engagement metrics is key.
You may want to consider micro-influencers. These are people who do not have a large following but still attract a lot of engagement. According to a study by AdWeek, engagement tends to drop the more followers an influencer has. Those with audiences smaller than 1,000 typically have engagement rates of around 15 percent. That means a person with 1,000 engaged fans might earn 150 likes on each post.
While influencers reach a bigger number of people, micro-influencers tend to have a strong, engaged following that can be more effective. If this following is aligned with your business and target demographic, the results can be better than using large influencers. This is because their followers are more connected to and more likely to respond to a micro-influencer. Another benefit of micro-influencers with high engagement is the cost. They often don’t require a large payment for sponsorship. With this, the returns can be better and you’re better positioned to build a stable and beneficial partnership with them.
Top tip: When measuring engagement, a simple method is to check ‘likes’, ‘comments’ and ‘shares’. If their audience is often interacting with a post through these methods, it will usually mean better value for business. This is also a useful way to separate out accounts with spam, fake or bought followers.
To check if your influencer marketing is successful, have a method of measurement in place. As a unique style of marketing, it can be difficult to gauge how successful the campaign is. It, therefore, needs to be measured based on its true objective. As influencer marketing can take longer to work, it should not necessarily be measured through sales. If you don’t seem more sales as a result in a short time frame, this is not a reason to cut budget. Instead, look to measure your success against what you want to achieve. This can be impressions, engagement, web traffic or even conversations.
Top tip: Reach is an essential return on investment (ROI) element for your influencer marketing campaign. You want to see how far your message has travelled. It is useful to keep track of your social media metrics. By looking at how many impressions or how much traffic comes to your site and comparing it to the influencers number of followers, you can see how successful your campaign is. This will be done on a reach to follow ratio.
Success in influencer marketing – Glossier
Glossier is a global cult beauty brand that exists mainly online, with just 1 physical shop in New York. The sought-after brand is using the power of influencers to convince consumers to buy their beauty products online. Eschewing the traditional route of well-known personalities, Glossier is relying on authentic devotion to promote its business. Using fans with high social media followings, the company creates buzz around their product by sending free testers to influencers before they’re widely available. This is encouraging organic reviews, blogs and Instagram posts, leading to excitement and hype surrounding the brand.
With its undeniable success, Glossier has continued to use this method for the release of all its products. While they do not use traditional forms of marketing, this subtle approach to marketing is leading to immense success of the brand. Opening in 2014, the company has seen exponential growth, noting a 600% year-on-year growth in 2016, surpassing this again in 2017. Its word of mouth influencer marketing has seen its fan following market the brand itself.
What can be learnt: The success of Glossier really demonstrates the power of influencer marketing. Through using influencers who are fans of the brand, the company has created an organic marketing strategy. The more organic your campaign feels, the more likely your consumers are to have a genuine connection to it.
Using social media effectively is a vital skill for influencer marketing. Looking for influencers who aren’t necessarily big names but have a large follower base can help to push your numbers, reach a wide range of people and lead to natural positive reviews.
Implementing your influencer campaign before you release your products or services can help to create interest around them. Influencers will post reviews, videos and pictures that help to build organic hype for your products and services. Done well, this can have a bigger impact than traditional marketing alone, as it is providing reassurance on the quality of the product.
An influencer can help to expose your company and reach your consumer base in a quick and natural way. Influencer marketing drives more sales than any other form of digital advertising, according to a study by tapinfluence. Increasing awareness and sales, influencer marketing is a growing trend for marketing and can lead to impressive results.