Influencer marketing focuses on using influencers (key figures) to enhance your brand’s message and increase sales of products and services. Influencers usually have a large, engaged audience that your brand can tap into to reach a wider audience. Instead of marketing directly to a large group of consumers, your strategy is to inspire, hire, or pay influencers to spread the word. Influencer marketing often goes hand in hand with two other forms of marketing: Social Media Marketing and Content Marketing.
For example, most influencer marketing campaigns have social media elements, where influencers spread the word through their social profiles. In addition, they also contain a content element in which either you or the influencer create the content.
No, they are different. Influencers are not as famous as celebrities, but they are valued among their followers because of their unique perspectives. Influencers are likely to communicate with their followers to build a strong and long-term relationship that celebrities don’t do for publicity. Promoting your brand with celebrities will cost you a huge amount, whereas if you hire an Influencer for it, it will be cost-effective and time-saving for you.
Yes. Well, sorta.
There are different types of influencers that range from nano influencers with 1,000 followers to celebrity influencers (1 million or more followers). In fact, The Shelf platform automatically starts pulling social media profiles once a social media user hits 1,000 followers on a single platform.
There are 5 types of influencers: nano, micro, mid-tier, macro, and mega (celebs like Johnny Depp or Lizzo). The account should specialize in some topic (niche) and be a good/credible source of information, entertainment, etc.
This may be one of the influencer marketing questions that doesn’t have a clear-cut answer. However, accounts on Instagram with 1,000 followers or more can be a good starting point as a minimum for being considered an influencer.
In today’s internet climate, Instagram rules.
However, it is good to have a foot in the door on all platforms. So, choose the best channel for your audience and your campaign.
The short answer… YES! People are spending a lot of time consuming influencer content; data from 2019 shows that influencer content makes up 19% of all media consumption (think radio, TV, print, social media, etc.). It’s safe to assume that this number has only increased in 2020. Other research has unveiled that the general consumer feels a deeper connection with YouTube personalities over celebrities, especially when you’re looking at a teenage audience. So next time you’re considering dishing out the big bucks for that celebrity sponsorship, you may want to reconsider.
We also know that influencer content supports the purchase cycle of the customer journey. As you can see from the graphic below, 74% of people are using social media to make a purchase decision. And it’s not just social content, blogs are still a major part of the customer journey with 35% of people looking at blogs for new content and 47% consulting blogs for new ideas.
Influencer marketing can be used by varied brands in multiple ways. For example, a startup or a new product/service launch can be enabled via influencer marketing – e.g. Himalaya facial wipes launch. An existing brand can leverage it to promote a new communication to attract new target audiences – e.g. Wonderchef initiated the “Dear Man, Hold the pan” campaign with the help of influencers to encourage men to start using their products. Influencers are a great way to amplify an existing social media or integrated campaign – e.g. Khatabook is running an influencer campaign on TikTok to amplify their B2B reach among audiences in Tier 2 cities. Event marketing can also be an interesting use case for influencer marketing. Sometimes the goal can be to get a specific result – for e.g. RummyCulture’s influencer campaign had a specific goal to increase the number of app Installs.
Influencer marketing is forecasted to top $24 billion by 2025. Instagram has more than one billion monthly active users. Brands are also continuously spreading advertisement in cooperation with influencers via newer platforms such as TikTok. A BVDW survey shows how important influencer marketing has been as part of the marketing mix in Germany since 2018: 61% of the companies surveyed had estimated increasing budgets for the following year. 26% were willing to spend between 10,000 and 50,000 euros on influencer marketing, and for another 19% the budget was between 50,000 and 100,000 euros.
Many people want ads to feel, well, not so ads-y. And that’s where influencer marketing comes in. Not only does this type of marketing allow you to amplify your brand or company, but it comes off like a friend recommending something rather than them trying to sell you something. In fact, a Nielsen study found 92 percent of people trust recommendations — even from people they don’t know — more than brands.
A growing population is frankly sick of ads. Ad blocking software is installed on some six million devices around the world, reports the New York Times. In 2016, the use of ad blockers increased by 30 percent worldwide.
Most online ads are seen as intrusive or disruptive by Millennials who know how to avoid them. With ad blockers readily available, Juniper research anticipates digital publishers will lose $27 billion by 2020. So, it’s good to get ahead of the curve.
One of the biggest reasons for doing influencer marketing is that it’s drastically different from traditional methods of marketing. The major difference is that the brand isn’t tooting its own horn. Instead, a third-party is promoting it, and that doesn’t come across as being outrightly promotional.
Hence, influencer marketing is word-of-mouth marketing at scale in the digital world.
Additionally, influencer marketing is great if you want to reach younger audiences.
The younger generation does not watch TV or read print magazines anymore. They use social media and spend most of their time on their mobile phones.
Influencer marketing agencies support brands and companies in creating and managing influencer marketing campaigns. An influencer marketing agency helps in finding the best influencers, contracting them signing an agreement to commit to the deliverables. An influencer marketing agency will help your brand create concepts and content that will make the influencers’ followers interact with. Finally, tracking results is the most important thing to do when your company wants to understand the success of an Influencer Marketing campaign. We will put in place tracking pixels and tools that will provide you extensive reporting and tangible metrics for any of the activities.
Influencer marketing allows you to make your brand a part of the conversations that are happening online. It’s also more authentic and effective than ads. What’s more?
The followers of influencers trust them and their recommendations. This makes them very likely to start trusting your brand. Many of them might become your leads, and some of them may even end up purchasing from you. This is perhaps the reason why 84% of marketers in the previously-cited SocialPubli study say that influencer marketing is effective or very effective.
Last but not least: content is king. You are for sure well-aware that you need a ton of fresh content. Content on your website, blog, and social channels. You can either produce it yourself (which often results in rather static product pictures), or you can leverage people who are content creators themselves: influencers. When done correctly, influencer marketing can scale up your content marketing activities and results in a constant flow of fresh, social media and mobile-optimized content for all your channels.
For our purposes, a social influencer is an influencer that exists on social media (their platform is thus a social media platform) and their audience is digital.
What makes social influence unique is that following someone on social media is entirely voluntary. Unlike other types of influencers, who might occupy positions where their actions affect others regardless, social influencers earn their “follow” directly. It’s a choice.
This direct form of following means that their audience isn’t just an audience, it’s a community.
Why do people follow others on social media? It all relates back to niche. The more pressing question we should be asking is: why do people continue to follow an influencer over time? The answer is surely complex but one thing we can conclude is that there is a level of trust occurring between the influencer and the voluntary influencee. Whether it’s information or entertainment, the audience anticipates future content to be valuable. They trust their influencer to continue being relevant, otherwise they would unfollow. Furthermore, if they accord any importance to this influencer, it is likely that they trust their opinions. Various studies show this to be the case.
Influencer relationships are thus characterized by community and trust, two incredibly valuable commodities in the marketing world.
Influencer marketing is not suitable for every brand.
Here are three questions to check if influencer marketing could fit your brand:
Does your product or service have mass appeal?
Does your brand have a social media presence?
Are there relevant influencers for your target market?
Influencer, Amanda Claesson, reckons there are five reasons why your brand shouldn’t ignore influencer marketing.
Your brand is losing power to influencers and consumers.
Consumers trust recommendations from influencers.
The shift of influencers from celebrities to opinion leaders.
The continued growth of social media.
People are blocking ads.
Furthermore, the benefits of working with influencers also include:
Influencers understand their target audience on a personal level.
You can broaden your brand’s reach.
You can repurpose content that influencers produce.
It can be comparatively less expensive than traditional marketing.
Various industries are now using influencer marketing as a part of their digital marketing strategy to increase their brand value and sales within a short period. Due to its effectiveness every day, more brands are coming forward with a new campaign strategy, which involves influencers for increased engagement.
Brands typically conenct with influencers in one of five ways:
Contacting influencers directly
Subscribing to an influencer database or search tool
Subscribing to an influencer marketing platforms with searchROI and capabilitites
Hiring an influencer agent who represents influencers, or
Bringing in an influencer marketing platform like The VIMPaaS that manages influencer marketing campaigns.
That said, there are steps you should take ahead of time to make the influencer selection process more effective. First, make sure you have set out your goals or desired outcomes and campaign ROI you expect to see, as this will influence your selection process.
The key traits brands are looking for in influencers are likability, creativity, and authority.
According to Courtni Casanova of Copy Press, businesses look for likeability because they want “an influencer who takes the time to build a positive reputation for themselves to clients and customers alike.”
ISN’T BIGGER BETTER? WHY WOULDN’T I USE THE BIGGEST INFLUENCERS I CAN AFFORD?
Bigger = Better! Right?
Wrong. There are 5 different types of social media influencers (6 if you include the average Janes and Joes with smaller audiences), and when you dive into the backgrounds of each one and what a partnership looks like there are multiple variables that change from category to category. When it comes to considering what type of influencer you want to partner with, we recommend that brands look for those individuals who carry an even balance of having a large reach while still being credible as a representative of your brand.
Consider which type of influencer you want to partner with by referencing the chart below. As follower count increases, costs increase and quality of the content should increase (however some celebrity content can be very low quality) but the authenticity of the influencer decreases. Micro-influencers and Macro-influencers fall into what we call “The Power Middle” because they have that even balance of reach and authenticity.
Influencers are broadly divided into 3 categories – Key/Celebrity Influencers, Social Influencers, and Peer Influencers. Key Influencers include celebrities, industry thought leaders and leading bloggers. Social influencers are individuals with significant online influence like social media celebrities. Peer influencers are closest to the consumer circle like – family, friends, colleagues. This is a very relevant circle and closest to the conversion funnel. The influencers typically focus on a particular area like food, parenting, fitness, fashion, E-Commerce, or technology. Relevant influencers are usually shortlisted based on the brand, its business and the marketing objective. Depending on the target audience, geography and demographics, the right set of influencers are chosen. For Example – A new restaurant looking to launch an influencer campaign will engage with food bloggers who can help them cover their brand on blogs and social media channels. Social and peer influencers work the best for contests based on Twitter or Facebook to help create a buzz about the brand.
Influencer marketing makes sense for almost every company. Whether B2B or B2C, there are influencers and a target group on the social web for nearly every topic. It is only important that companies define exactly which target group they want to reach and what the goals of the campaign are. The posts of the influencers on the couch at home or while walking the dog make them seem approachable and create a connection with followers because they are allowed to participate in the life of the influencers, even if only in some parts. Influencers are close to their followers and appear authentic and trustworthy to them, precisely because their actions are so similar to them. It is not for nothing that influencers and followers often belong to the same generation. They have the same interests and a similar way of expressing themselves. Naturally, brands cannot offer that, especially since the decision-makers in the company are often too far away from the desired target group. Influencing marketing closes the gap between companies and customers.
Money is not the only form of compensation that influencers can receive for their work. Again, the type of compensation can depend on the influencer you are working with, and your budget. Other types of compensation include discounts, commissions on sales, or free products/services! Most influencers prefer to get compensated with money because they can’t all survive off of A&W gift cards or a lifetime supply of whitestrips, but again, all influencers are different.
Interestingly enough, the SOCE found that there is a significant gap between the perceived price brands expect to pay and the price influencers expect to earn. Knowing what influencers expect to earn and adjusting your prices accordingly can save your brand a considerable amount.
For example, marketers often assign costs that are up to 13 times the actual amount influencers charge. A marketer might expect to pay $345 for a sponsored blog post, while the typical influencer only charges $238.
Although influencers and brand ambassadors both partner with your brand to promote it, brand ambassador partnerships tend to be longer. Influencer marketing campaigns can be short-term ones and may be one-off campaigns too.
However, brand ambassadors are more integrated into the brand’s marketing strategy, and they might even become the face of the brand.
As a result, the way they are compensated varies, as well.
While influencers may be paid a fixed fee for a particular campaign, brand ambassadors might get paid on a retainer basis. Many brands pay brand ambassadors a specific commission for every sale that they drive as well.
For instance, Pura Vida has a brand ambassador program where the brand ambassadors are given a 10% commission for every sale that they drive.
Influencer marketing agencies make money mostly thanks to influencer marketing campaigns and talent management. Generally, an influencer marketing agency will work with a monthly management fee for executing all the brand’s influencer marketing campaigns or with a % fee on influencers for a specific influencer marketing campaign.
An influencer marketing agency is a creative agency that will help your company create a successful influencer marketing campaign: the agency will take care of talent selection and influencers management, from contracting them to receiving deliverable. An influencer marketing agency will support your brand also in setting up KPIs and goals and tracking the results of the influencer marketing campaign.
All commercial interactions with influencers can be considered influencer relations. In order to work with an influencer, you must have a way of communicating with them, compensating them, reviewing their content, and measuring their results. Influencers are communication professionals. Depending on the campaign type and style of content desired, the services rendered can vary as well. With all of these components to manage, a need for more structure to support these interactions has arisen.
Here are six significant benefits to using influencer marketing:
Builds trust quickly.
Improves brand awareness.
Enriches your content strategy.
Effectively reaches your target audience.
Provides terrific value to your audience.
Builds winning partnerships.
Influencer marketing is ideal for start-ups and mid-sized businesses, as in most cases, they suffer from budget issues. Furthermore, it is a proven method to create a buzz within a selected location. That is why it is recommended for small businesses to go for influencer marketing instead of traditional marketing. An influencer marketing campaign will not bombard you with a hefty amount.
Brands create detailed personas or criteria to keep them on track during the influencer selection process. While following or engagement are key influencer marketing metrics, there are other aspects that many brands overlook.
Alignment is critical, which means elements like values or style should naturally coincide with the brand. You might seek out experienced influencers that are professional, responsive, and offer analytics or a portfolio.
Think of this influencer draft as your hype team that acts more like long-term ambassadors for your brand as opposed to fulfilling the needs of a single campaign.
Is there a difference between an influencer and a brand ambassador?
This is one of the more advanced influencer questions, but the answer is rather simple.
The difference was said best by Caroline Lauder of gShift: “An influencer is someone who treats their blog and their social networks as a business, protects their personal brand, and has a loyal, engaged following. Influencers typically work with brands they have an affinity for and run short-term campaigns. In return, influencers receive some form of compensation.”
In contrast, a brand ambassador, “may, or may not have a large, engaged following and work with brands on a more long-term basis. In return, ambassadors are typically paid on a retainer basis for being loud and proud to represent a brand. Ideally, an influencer turns into a brand ambassador as they represent higher authenticity and credibility.”
With all that’s gone on in the influencer marketing industry, it’s normal to be hesitant and put up safeguards to protect your brand. We recommend three key items to keep your brand safe.
1. Set Clear Expectations: By setting expectations upfront, you’ll prevent the influencer from misrepresenting your brand and also ensure you get what you need from the relationship.
2. Implement a Binding Contract: This is the most important asset that protects your brand. It should include more just payment negotiations, but include your clear expectations, important delivery dates, and the behavior expected of the influencer while you’re partnering with them. Including items about what the influencer cannot do during the partnership is often left out of most influencer contracts. Another common mistake we see in most contracts comes when legal teams get involved. While there’s nothing wrong with having your brand legal team review the contract, they tend to favor the brand and include language that makes the contract very one-sided. Influencers can see this and are likely to decline work or increase their fees as a result.
3. Monitor for Compliance: Simply put, influencers don’t always read everything you send them. This isn’t out of disrespect, but many influencers are constantly on the go and working from their phones. Even though there’s a 10-page contract and multiple emails with back and forth information, they simply don’t have the time or resources to go through all of those assets when they’re publishing their content from a cell phone. Because of this, mistakes happen, but if you’re team is monitoring the content after publication you should be able to catch mistakes before they become a big deal.
Depending on their channels, reach and platform, Influencers are shortlisted based on the following metrics-
Moz Domain Authority– It reflects the popularity of the blog. Basically, it is a link popularity score that represents the importance of the web page on the internet as compared to others. A good Moz rank is between 50-60.
Quality of content – The quality of the content is very crucial. The right quality of content can inspire the audience to take the right action.
Unique visitors to the Blog – In addition to the page views and traffic that a blogger draws to his website, Unique visitors help spread the brand story to a larger target audience. Size and quality of followers is an important metric to consider while shortlisting.
Relevance to the brand – It is very important to pick the relevant blogger for the relevant campaign. The relevant blogger helps push the brand message to the right audience.
Previous work – This gives you an understanding of the blogger’s work. Previous performance data like – social media engagement, like on their blogs, shares help you narrow your choice.
Depending on your campaign goals, you can adjust some of your criteria as you seek out influencers that match your checklist with followings that include current or soon-to-be customers.