We’ve all heard of them… Influencers. Digital Creators. Online Creators.
It’s the buzzword in the marketing industry, but what exactly is Influencer Marketing, and what’s the big deal?
Influencer Marketing is a social media marketing strategy that involves endorsements from influencers. Companies will select content creators to promote their products and engage with the brand. Influencers will help increase brand awareness, which in turn creates new customers.
The term ‘Influencer’ has gained some negative connotations in the past; ‘creator’ and ‘expert in their field’ is better terminology and used more often these days. Even the latest comments from Instagram head, Adam Mosseri, following an IG algorithm update, asked ‘creators’ to be more creative.
Why consider Influencer Marketing?
To begin with, it helps increase new customers who bring more website traffic, but it is also another way to show your brand’s personality. Hiring the right influencers will build on the positive brand image you are trying to get across, as they will be representing your company and its products. You can also reach out to your specific target audience to know the right people see the right thing. 40% of consumers look to social media for advice on purchases, so we know that people will listen to influencers and trust them. Naturally, we want to know if the strategy we’re investing in will be worth it – which is why it is good to know that in 2020, the industry reached 10 billion in worth with figures staggering from Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.
What types of companies use Influencers?
You may think that influencers aren’t your thing because you’re a small business, but you’re mistaken. Influencer marketing works well for any business, small or large, b2c or b2b. It’s important to remember that time and money can vary from each individual, so it is really up to you how much you invest, which is also great for smaller companies on a budget. There are many positives for all types of business, such as:
– Authentic content
– Non-salesy advertising
– Trusted sources
– Vast reach
How to develop your strategy
Every marketing strategy needs a basic plan for achieving what you want. These are keys steps that you must consider when starting:
1. How do you know who you should hire?
When something is alien to you, research is your best friend. Firstly, choose the platform you want to work on, look at your online presence, where your customers are most interactive? Of course, you can select multiple platforms, but it’s best to play about with one and expand later if you’re starting.
Once you have done this, look for the type of influencers you’re interested in. Are you going for worldwide celebrities or keeping it local? Would you like them to have a massive following? When researching, it Is key to remember that the bigger you go, the more expensive it is. So, like with everything, consider your budget.
Study who you are considering to work with; are they micro-influencers? Do they work independently, or does an agency represent them? What type of companies have they collaborated with in the past? Are they legit? Do they have an excellent engagement to follower ratio, or are they just all numbers?
You don’t want to ruin their image too, so make sure you work with somebody who would generally use your product or service, this way, it comes across as more genuine. Don’t forget; this person represents your brand; you ideally want somebody with the same ethos and views. Your brand image is critical and something that can’t be compromised.
2. Decide on your goal
Not so much statistically, but what you want to do with your influencers? Do you want to increase your brand awareness, create a new customer base, or expand onto a new social media platform and talk about your company there?
3. How should I contact influencers?
This all depends on how large the influencers you are considering working with. For micro-influencers, you could get in contact personally through a private message. For more
significant influencers, look at their profiles and see their primary point of contact for their
4. Track your influencer marketing campaigns
This step is for further down the line, when you have established who you are collaborating with, and they have started working with you. Monitoring how well your strategy is doing is one of the main ways to identify if what you are doing is working and whether you should continue to invest more time and money. There are specific software that can aid you here; a popular one is #SproutPartner which allows you to follow what your influencers are doing and if it Is working. Sprout also has a reporting feature that makes it easy to look at how posts perform, including statistics on post impressions, post engagement, and post clicks.
What are the rules?
Like anything, some rules apply. Influencer marketing gives authenticity over advertising, but there can be blurred lines between what is acceptable and what is not, so you must make yourself aware of these before going ahead. Being transparent with your customers is essential here; it shows that your brand is ethical, which is necessary. There are not only rules for you as a business, but the influencer must follow specific guidelines too, which can be found on the government website, but not to worry, we’ve got you covered, they include –
1. Highlighting when you have been paid, given or loaned products/services
2. Working in line with the regulators such as ASA, CAP & CMA
3. Discuss your relationship with the brand or business
4. Don’t be misleading
5. Having disclosure on ads is very important. Use appropriate descriptions such as #AD, #Advert, and the ‘Paid partnership’ tool.
1. How do I measure impact?
Keeping track of likes, clicks, and comments is crucial to keep updated on how much interaction you are getting. Affiliate links are also a great way to track how many purchases you get from an influencer; you can also use promo codes to see how many purchases result from influencer marketing.
2. What software can I use?
Well, it all depends on what you want your software to do for you. There is a large selection you can choose from, so don’t worry, you won’t be short of choice! Grin, which contains 32m+ influencers, allows you to discover creators and manage your relationship and report and track ROI. This is excellent software If you would like everything in one place! However, if you want more specialist help, such as data, NeoReach and Klear software would be significant for you to consider.
Suppose you’re a smaller business, Creator. Co would also be worth researching, as it brings brands and creators together, targeting small and medium-sized companies looking to collaborate with nano and micro-influencers.
3. What type of Influencer should I work with?
There are now so many Influencer ‘types’ out there. This graph breaks down the key Instagram Influencer tiers, but who exactly are they and what can each of them offer when working in partnership?
Who is the Mega Influencer? | 1 million + followers
This is somebody who is more famous than influential and hasn’t grown their fame from the internet. These celebrities may not specialise in a specific area, but they have one of the largest followings, so work great if you want a one-time hit.
Who is the Macro Influencer? | 100,000 – 1 million followers
These influencers are typically famous through the internet, so they have gained fame through blogging, vlogging, and sharing their lives on the internet. These influencers are great if you still want to generate brand awareness and following.
Who is the Micro Influencer? | 10,000 – 100,000 followers
They may have a smaller following, but they are much more specialised. Their followers typically only follow for one thing, whether for fashion, food etc. This is a great base to invest in if you want people who are specialised in your product or service to get in touch.
Who is the Nano Influencer? | 10,000 followers or less
These influencers are the newest kid on the block, with typically less than 10,000 followers. Even though their reach is lower than the other influencer types, their influence among a small community of people is potentially much larger.
So there we have it, the big wide world of Influencer Marketing. The next time you’re looking to launch an exciting marketing campaign – maybe consider this trending marketing tactic. It’s certainly not going anywhere anytime soon, especially with an 165% increase in Instagram Reels last year!
Emily Stepney & Rachael Dines, Shake It Up Creative