What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is the relationship between a business or brand and an influencer(s) in which the influencers promote the brand’s products and/or services, usually on social media. Through influencer marketing, brands gain access to the influencer’s followers who interact with and trust what they share. This allows brands to utilize influencers who can expand their voice to a relevant and prequalified audience.
What is the Purpose of Influencer Marketing?
The purpose of influencer marketing is to strategically leverage the power of a given individual’s personal brand in order to affect the action and perception of their followers. This can help spread awareness about a brand’s products and services by utilizing social networks. When done correctly, this comes across as authentic and genuine. Platforms help simplify, scale, or automate the process. Influencer marketing works, but like everything else, it has its fair share of pros and cons.
Pros of influencer marketing:
• Builds awareness
• Strengthens brand image
• Increases engagement and interactions
• Increases traffic to the website.
• Can shorten the sales cycle
Cons of influencer marketing:
• Potential for low-quality content
• Large time commitment relative to traditional campaigns
• Tracking your ROI can be difficult (but we’ll get to that later)
Types of Influencers
Influencers come in all shapes and sizes, from mommy bloggers to celebrities, industry experts to social media stars. Don’t be afraid to get creative when you’re considering who to work with. In general, though, there are macro influencers, micro influencers, and nano influencers.
Macro influencers typically are celebrities, sports stars, or people with a similar social status who have large followings (100,000+) and are often considered experts in their field. Here are some of the pros and cons of working with a macro influencer.
• Wide audience range
• More brand control over messaging
• Selecting an influencer may take less time because there are fewer macro influencers to choose from
• Higher level of professionalism
Cons of working with macro influencers:
• Macro influencers are more expensive
• Some people are skeptical about celebrity endorsements
• Campaigns are harder to execute
Most micro influencers are experts in a specific niche and are usually unknown outside of that particular niche. They attract everyday people who value an influencer’s opinion on relevant topics. These influencers typically have between 1,000 and 100,000 followers. These influencers have a strong support base with a high level of engagement of followers who recognize their knowledge on their specific topic and become passionate supporters.
Pros of working with micro influencers:
• High level of engagement
• Cheaper to work with than macro influencers
• Can cover a wide range of industries and niches
• Often appear more authentic
Cons of working with micro influencers:
• They often have less reach
• Less brand recognition and awareness
• Finding the right micro influencers may take time
• Might require more effort on your end to successfully execute
Nano Influencers are a relatively new breed of influencers and they tend to have a much smaller number of followers, typically less than 1,000. Nano influencers are local community leaders who, despite their relatively low social media numbers have a large influence in their niche communities.
Pros of working with nano influencers:
• Their followers trust and respect them
• Very cost-effective to work with
• Excellent engagement
Cons of working with nano influencers:
• Even less reach than micro influencers
• They may be harder to identify
• They may have less experience and are therefore less experienced
• Where Can You Find Influencers?
• There are three ways you can start your search to find influencers.
An agency can be a great resource to help you find influencers that you can work with on your campaign. Agencies typically already have existing relationships with influencers and know which ones can help you get the results you’re looking for.
Influencer Tools and Websites
There are many tools and websites that are specifically geared to help businesses find influencers to work with. Some websites have influencers apply to their networks while others use algorithms to find them within a given social media platform. Upfluence, AspirelQ (Revfluence), Hypr, Advowire, Instabrand, Klear, Julius are just a few of the many platforms that can help you in your search.
It’s also possible to find influencers on your own. Look through social media networks and hashtags to find influencers that would be a great fit for your brand. This process takes a little longer than the other options we’ve mentioned, however, this process builds longer-lasting and more genuine relationships.
Whatever way you decide to use to find influencers, make sure you ask a few key questions to determine how well they will fit with your brand.
Here are a few examples of questions you can ask when deciding who to work with:
• How many followers do you have?
• What is your engagement rate (# of engagements per post/# of followers)?
• Have you worked with other brands before?
• Do your fans comment on their posts?
• What is your brand dip (engagement rate of branded posts/engagement rate of regular posts)?
There are pros and cons to all of these methods so you need to decide what your constraints (e.g. budget, deadlines, etc.) and goals are to decide the best course of action moving forward.
Planning Your Campaign
Before you do anything, you should define your goals for the campaign. As a reminder, a successful influencer marketing campaign will increase your brand’s exposure, establish your authority, reach new audiences, drive traffic to your website, and lead potential customers to your products and services.
You’ll then want to identify and define your audience. Outline the specific details of who you want to connect with through your campaign and where you can find them. When you have defined your target audience you should start looking for influencers who share the same goals and can easily connect with your target market. When you’ve found the type of influencers you are looking for, start researching them and their brands.
Next, you will want to qualify your influencers by looking at their engagement rate, how they interact with their fans and the quality of their posts. Targeting influencers who have engaged audiences that frequently comment and interact with their post will benefit the campaign you are creating.
Measuring Influencer Marketing Campaigns
With any marketing campaign, it’s important to have a goal and a way to track it. You’ll be able to track some of these key metrics on your end, but others you’ll need to get from the influencer. Here are a few important metrics to track.
Reach is the total number of people who see your content. Impressions are the number of times your content is displayed, no matter if it was clicked or not. This can be difficult to track on your own so it is okay to ask the influencer directly for these numbers.
Brand lift is an increase in interaction with a brand as a result of an advertising campaign. It is typically measured by awareness (of the brand, product, or offering), attitude (opinion on quality, value, and appeal), recall (ability to remember), favorability (likelihood to recommend), and intent (likelihood to purchase).
Social mentions are the number of times your brand is specifically mentioned in relation to the fall under engagement goals because mentions show that more people are aware of your brand and are taking the next step to talk about your brand.
Engagement is measured through likes, comments, shares, retweets, and reactions show how many people were actively engaged with the content, message, and brand. This is one of the primary metrics that is utilized by influencers in evaluating the success of a campaign.
This metric is simply the number of website visitors to your website as a result of your campaign efforts.
Conversions can be classified under many different categories but ultimately, what is it that you want the audience to do? Do you want them to fill out a form? Sign up for a contest? Purchase a product? Call into your business? Any of these results could constitute a conversion. As for measuring these conversions, you can use a specific promo code to monitor which purchases come from influencer campaigns. You can create trackable links to your website or landing page and you can have influencers include the link in their posts. You can even create unique links for each influencer, social channel, or product.
Brand Awareness vs Direct Response ROI
Though there are many approaches to advertising, the end goal is always the same. The hope is that any advertising campaign will build a business by increasing certain variables such as traffic, brand consideration, sales revenue, brand advocacy or others.
When looking to increase sales leads, many advertisers opt for a direct response campaign. This approach offers a quantifiable and direct correlation between media investments to sales. Every direct response campaign has a limited promotional shelf life, the length of which varies from situation to situation.
Brand awareness is harder to quantify than the leads or sales generated from a direct response campaign. A brand awareness campaign, as the name implies, works to build knowledge of and affinity for a brand.
Influencer marketing can play a critical role in breaking up the online clutter, creating relevant, customer dialogue and bringing trust to your brand. No two influencer campaigns are alike and each campaign needs to be tailored to the specific goals of the company. While there is a lot more we could go over, this guide should give you the knowledge you need to plan, launch, and measure a successful campaign.