Table of contents
- What’s Influencer marketing?
- Choose the best platform
- Benefits of Influencer Marketing
- Building a Strategy
- Choosing the Right Influencer
75 percent of marketers use influencers as a marketing tool, and 43 percent plan to increase their spending on it over the next year. So, what is Influencer marketing? How does it work? And how do you choose the best influencer to reach the right audience?
[K-Pop star, Lisa is a top-level influencer with almost 75 million followers, seen here promoting French luxury brand Céline]
Influencer marketing is when businesses pay ‘influencers’ (people with lots of followers on Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, etc.) to promote the brand or products on the influencer’s own social media profile. The promotion can be as subtle as strategically showing a certain logo in the background of a post, or more overt, like dedicating an entire YouTube video to a product and its features.
Whether it’s #instamoms endorsing kids wear brands on their Instagram feeds, or #vanlife couples promoting tourism boards on YouTube, there are influencers representing brands in every sector you can imagine, and they are a staple of the social media landscape. Marketing through influencers on social media started around 2006 and while a lot has changed since then, the general idea has not. At first, social media users started posting about products just because they wanted to share it with their friends, soon it became a great source of additional income, but today, many careers are built around influencer marketing.
Marketers can choose exactly which audience they want to target and what kind of voice and image is most suited to their brand and product, ensuring that it fits their budget, of course. If you’d like Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo to give your product a shout out, for example, that will reportedly cost you $1.6 million! Ronaldo can charge brands $1.6 million for an Instagram post because his 400+ million followers will regard that much more favorably than any other form of advertising.
Source: Cristiano Ronaldo (Instagram Account)
[Cristiano Ronaldo has over 400 million Instagram followers and is considered the highest-paid social influencer]
Global football stars and entertainers are the upper end of the influencer range, but even those without a blue checkmark next to their name can still monetize their content. With as few as 1,000 followers, ‘nano-influencers’ can charge a modest fee for a sponsored post, and this is great news for SMEs or entrepreneurs without large budget. The investment costs for a nano influencer campaign are low, but when chosen correctly, the audience can be perfectly aligned to a certain product niche. Influencers are grouped into these 5 tiers:
These tiers are only a rough guide though, and just because someone has a lot of followers, doesn’t necessarily make them a valuable influencer. You also have to look at engagement metrics (how many likes, comments, and shares their posts receive), so even someone with few followers might be a great influencer if they get strong engagement on every post, for example.
Ever since cave people first picked up rocks and started trading them with each other, one fact of selling has remained true: there’s nothing more powerful than word-of-mouth. Fast forward to 2022 and mass-marketing and billion-dollar ad campaigns, people are still more likely to listen to those they know and trust when making buying decisions. You just can’t beat word of mouth, and this is one of the reasons influencer marketing is so effective. Social media is different from other forms of media; it’s real-time, personal, and interactive, it breaks down the barrier between the messenger and the audience. We’re interacting with those we know and trust in a way that closely resembles a social conversation.
[Word-of-mouth is a more powerful driver of sales than any other form of marketing]
This might explain why 90% of marketers favor influencer marketing over any other form, a study by Marketing Hub shows. Everyone from small start-ups to giant corporations have realized the potential of social media influencers to achieve rapid grow in a short period, but choosing the right people isn’t straightforward and marketers need to do their due diligence. So, let’s dive deeper into the influencer marketing world, understand why you should have a strong influencer marketing strategy and how to choose the perfect influencer.
Even though influencers are found across all social media platforms, Instagram has dominated the market over the last decade. It remains to be seen whether growing rival, Tiktok can ever challenge Instagram as the HQ of influencer marketing. Tiktok has proven itself incredibly popular with the younger generations and is known for its viral content, but there are still many unknowns and challenges on this less established app. Youtube is also a very effective platform for influencer marketing, and there are even plenty of influencers on Facebook and Twitter. It’s important for marketers to know which platform their target audience uses and engages with the most, this can be done using Mandala Analytics by searching the brand and related keywords.
If done right, the return on investment can be excellent. Influencer marketing is unique and powerful because it capitalizes on the bond between influencer and their followers; given the intimate nature of social media posting, where followers see influencers as ‘friends’ sharing glimpses of their everyday lives in their timeline, influencer marketing is like a perfect hybrid of celebrity endorsement and word-of-mouth.
Source: Chloe Kim (Instagram Account)
Source: Chloe Kim (Instagram Account)
[Chloe Kim is a professional snowboarder with 900k+ followers on Instagram. Here she’s showing the Toyota that was ‘gifted’ to her.]
- Raising brand awareness: when it comes to raising awareness influencer marketing is the fastest and most powerful way to spread the word to large audiences. A single post or 24-hour story could raise awareness about any topic in a matter of hours if the influencer is chosen wisely depending on the product and service.
- Lead generation: Media influencers mostly have a substantial impact on their active followers, subscribers, and supporters in general which is built on the trust and competence of the influencer. So, when a person who is looked up to and whose competence in a certain niche is valid promotes some brand, followers naturally gain trust toward the product or service. Influencer marketing does not only expand awareness but also generates increasing interest with the goal of leading it to sales. So, influencers have the power to turn followers into leads and interested potential consumers into real consumers.
- Maintaining customer engagement: influencer marketing comes in handy not only when the influencers promote products and services but also when the brand enriches any social media platforms by posting and reposting collaborations with the influencers. In order to keep the customers loyal brand needs to keep them engaged and constantly updated about new services through influencers.
- Cost-effective strategy: other than the swift effectiveness of influencer marketing, we need to look at the costs of it and compare it to other forms of marketing to make sure we’re concentrating on the most optimal one. Influencer marketing carries significantly lower costs, as advertisements, search engine marketing, and other often-used marketing options require a constant cash outflow. Whereas influencer marketing tends to be less costly. In many cases, brands can even pay influencers in products and services, like a free trip, or a supply of product.
There are lots other potential benefits, depending on your needs and objectives as a marketer. Whether it’s raising awareness, generating leads and attracting potential customers, keeping up with the media trends, engaging customers, it’s important to be focused on your intended result.
Source: Popeye The Foodie(Instagram Account)
[Influencers don’t have to be humans. Popeye is a foodie dog with 400k followers.]
The main benefits of influencer marketing are simple and coherent but in order to reach the results, you need to have an effective marketing strategy. Let’s go through some of the rudimentary steps of building a successful influencer marketing strategy.
1. Define the Goal of Your Marketing Strategy
Depending on what level a business is at the moment, you need to determine the next logical step for the brand in the marketing sector. As we already know, there are various campaigns to choose from. So, the first step of forming a strong marketing strategy is studying the current situation and defining the goal of this specific strategy.
The goal may be introducing a new product or service to a certain audience, spreading awareness about an existing product in new communities to widen the audience, attracting leads, increasing engagement and sales, and so on.
After determining the main aim of your strategy, the next step is to pinpoint the KPIs (key performance indicators), which lets you supervise the progress through assessing the number of leads and views, website visits, engagement rate, sales, promo code usage, and other indicators. It helps you plan the following steps more precisely.
Try not to set several goals at the same time, it may divert your focus from the most important one. The message of your influence marketing should be clear so that it doesn’t confuse potential buyers.
2. Choose the Channel
Decide where you want to promote the brand before looking for influencers. A survey, conducted by MediaKix, reveals that 90% of marketers prefer Instagram over any other social media platform to promote brands and businesses. You can concentrate on a single platform or choose more than one channel.
3. Provide Value
Think about what you’re offering the influencer. You need to create an incentive for them no matter what level they are on. The collaboration may increase their following, increase engagement and interest, gain legitimacy. The partnership shouldn’t be based solely on monetary purposes to last long and have a powerful impact.
4. Create a simple contract sample
In order to be safe and not waste spending on scammers or unprofessional candidates, make sure to have a simple contract template. It may seem unnecessary at the first glance, especially for smaller businesses but you never know what may go wrong. So, it’s best if you’re legally backed up.
5. Manage your Budget
Determine your budget for marketing before you start looking for influencers so that you find an appropriate candidate and set a payment management plan.
If you’re a little tight on the budget focus on micro and nano influencers with a smaller follower base. Also, try concentrating on the nonmonetary beneficial factors of your partnership when talking to a potential influencer.
Three Rs of Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing should comply with the following 3 components (relevance, reach, and resonance) for the purpose of building an effective marketing strategy.
Determine who’s your target audience, who will be interested in your product or service. You’ll need to find a specific target before you start looking for influencers. When choosing an influencer, you should make sure that they already have an audience that includes your targeted people.
Focus on the age, generation, sex, geography, interests, professions, and average salaries of your targeted audience, so that your product or service is relevant to a certain influencer’s community. An under researched target audience may lead to pointless expenses and negative results in sales.
Decide approximately how many people you want to reach and choose an influencer depending on their statistics. For example, if you’re planning to promote the brand through an Instagram story, ask your chosen influencers for their story statistics.
Resonance in influencer marketing indicates the engagement level of an influencer with their followers. Big numbers mean nothing unless the people actually read and listen to what the influencer has to recommend and promote. Some of the most successful influencers in that sense are niche influencers as they have smaller and closer groups of people.
Small communities don’t necessarily imply a lower chance of increasing sales as you might benefit more from them than from a bigger influencer’s audience if they are less likely to show interest through clicking on a link or trust the influencer’s recommended brands. So, determine the reach but keep in mind that more doesn’t always mean better.
Source: Djpatthai (Instagram Account)
Source: Djpatthai (Instagram Account)
[Djpattthai is a nano influencer]
Hit up Different Influencer Platforms and Narrow Down the List
You can find influencers on any social media platform but how do you look for candidates with specific characteristics?
One way is using hashtags with your niche words such as #skigear, #sportswear, or anything that involves your product or service. Us a social analytics tool like Mandala to discover which influencers get the best engagement and on which social media channels. Other than that, there are influencer network platforms where you can filter location, age, sex, niche, follower count, and many other characteristics to look through a more specific list.
Research the Shortlist More Closely
Once you’ve selected some influencers from network sites or social media platforms, it’s time to choose the right one from the shortlist. Depending on the time you have, it’s best to private message everyone and find out their requirements and proposals. Ask them for their statistics and recent partnerships. You can create a message/email template but make sure you customize it before sending it to a candidate.
If you don’t have much time to talk to every candidate, try surfing their posts, stories, reading their post captions and bio. It should give you the first impression of their niche and style.
Source: Mai (Instagram Account)
[Mai is a content creator on Instagram with huge following. Her videos are quirky and fun in nature.]
Choosing the right influencer for your brand may take some time and effort, but the rewards can be phenomenal, as companies large and small have discovered. Taking a clear and analytical approach, with the right knowledge and tools, there’s no reason why you can’t leverage this powerful technique for your business.