What Is Influencer Marketing?
Over the last few years, influencer marketing has become the most popular and robust marketing method, but many people don’t know what exactly influencer marketing is and how they can use it successfully?
# Definition of Influencer Marketing
In human terms, influencer marketing is the action of advertising/promoting and selling services or products through influencers or people who will have the ability to make an effect on the brand.
To make it simpler, let’s define it in another way “Influencer marketing is the form of collaboration between brands and influencers. A brand collaborates with the potential influencers to promote something. It could be a product, campaign or service.”
In influencer marketing, an influencer or a person who has a large amount of following online will be paid to post about any brand on social media networks to their followers. In the market, you’ll find plenty of influencers, and you can hire them, but their hiring cost will depend on their number of followers and reach.
Influencer marketing is much similar to word-of-mouth marketing. As we know, when it comes to buying any product, people trust their family and friends. They ask them about the product. Similarly, many online personalities and celebrities are like a trusted friend.
Influencers work as trusted sources within niche communities. They have trustworthy following because of their interesting content and capability to engage with the target audience.
# Types of Influencers
As we know, there are plenty of influencers in the market, but apart from this, you should also know all influencers are not created equally. To make it simpler, let’s discuss it with an example, suppose you have a digital marketing website, and you want to promote your digital marketing services through an influencer. And, if you choose a fitness blogger, then it doesn’t make any sense, and their audience will also get confused that why this influencer is posting your content or promoting irrelevant content. They will lose their interest, and it would hurt both of you. So, it is necessary to choose an appropriate influencer that matches with your requirements and find one that will help you to promote your services.
Let’s start discussing each influencer one by one:
1. Mega Influencer
Celebrities come under the category of mega influencers, as they will have a huge following, but it is quite difficult for you to reach your customers. Even though many people follow them, it doesn’t mean that their followers will absolutely purchase any product or use the service they suggest.
2. Macro Influencer
Those people come in this category that has a moderate following and having a lot of respect in their niche, but still, other brands competitively approach them. If you have just started your business yet, then it will be expensive for you to work with them and because of the multitude of other brands they often endorse, it might not be worth the money.
In this category, only those influencers come that have followers between 1,000 to 10,000 with high authenticity established between them. It will be efficient to work with the micro-influencers, and it has become more popular since they have gained an audience relevant to yours.
4. Nano Influencer
However they may not have the best followers, fewer than 1000, with a comparatively narrow market, these influencers have an enormous impact, and it makes them more trustworthy in that market.
# Need for influencer marketing
Have you ever looked at the banner ad? If yes, then when? Most people even don’t notice them now. Many of you would have installed AdBlockers to remove those ads, right?
Well! Being a marketer you probably have tried social media marketing, because it has some potential. Nowadays, people spend their most of time by scrolling their social media posts up and down. But still, there is a problem. You know what? Let me tell you, you know who will be going to see your social media posts or status unless you have built a large number of audiences. Having massive audiences are likely to have much reached.
As you know, there are some people who will have a few hundreds of followers, and some of them will be their friends or family members. All will have different tastes and interests. In that case, marketing is difficult.
Now, influencers come, they are different. They’ll have cultivated audiences of like-minded viewers. So, it is much easier to identify influencers in your niche and work with them and their audiences to increase your brand awareness and spread your message instead of building a substantial engaged audience on your own.
Influencer marketing is different from conventional marketing, and it is overtaking traditional marketing methods. One key difference is that the type of relationship or partnership you need to maintain with your influencers.
Many businesses, especially large organizations have tight control over their brand and marketing. That method is not overly useful in influencer marketing.
If you have a popular brand even then, you can’t expect to leverage much control over your chosen influencer. You will pay for them, but you don’t employ them. They don’t search for your opportunity.
If your influencer marketing has created a win/win/win situation. Your brand wins, the influencer wins, and the followers of your influencer win, and then your influencer marketing campaign will be successful.
# Why to start with influencer marketing?
When working with the influencers, the most important thing to remember is to develop a long-term relationship with them. Many brands make this silly mistake of switching one influencer to another to reach more customers. Don’t forget the influencer you’ve already chosen is working for your brand new, and he/she is making full efforts to expand his/her reach. Getting associated with the same influencer in several ads shows the viewer a genuine connection between the influencer and you, making it feel less like a one-time paid advertisement. Now let’s discuss why to start with influencer marketing:
Enable others to promote your brand
Whether it’s offline or online, you probably want to mention your brand in conversation that is relevant to your niche. Form connections with the right influencers and they will provide and reinforce the story of your brand in areas that you wish that you could be in and others you didn’t even know about.
Get more attention
Over the years, the effectiveness of ads has decreased dramatically. People are subconsciously avoiding advertising, despite too much noise. Influencer marketing is an effective method of authentically getting the brand noticed.
Get higher ranking on Google
This is frequently ignored, but there are significant SEO advantages of influencer marketing. Reliable source mentions on the web boost your brand on search engines.
Helps in brand awareness
Many consumers trust suggestions from social influencers over all forms of advertising. Basically, suggestions from trusted influencers produce traffic, brand awareness as well as increase sales.
# How can any influencer help your brand?
What level of help you expect from your influencer will be based on the type of working relationship you establish with him/her. If you want to use influencer outreach or an organic approach, then you may get less help from your influencer than if you pay your influencer for a distinct influencer marketing campaign. But yes, the price will vary too. If you go for influencer outreach, then it may result in an influencer helping you for free or at the most cost of some free products. If you go for paid influencer marketing, then obviously in return you will receive more, and it will depend on the influencer’s star power.
The influencer with whom you have built a relationship could help you by:
- Creating a blog post/article, or video content about your service or product.
- Sharing information about your product or services on their social media accounts. For example, you have a blogging website so they can share a post written by you on your own website.
- Providing you with access to their website so that you can write a guest blog post.
By choosing a paid influencer for your brand’s promotion will be more beneficial for you and your business. They can utilize their popularity by posting some pictures on their social media channels to promote your products or services, they could post a video on their YouTube channel demonstrating them using your product. In this case, they are not promoting your services because you have built a relationship with them, but you have paid them that’s why they are doing this.
# How to find an influencer?
Identifying the right influencer for your brand is quite difficult, so that’s why I’ve gathered some points you can use to find the right influencer to help you to increase your brand awareness and reach.
1. Google Search
The most common and best method to find the right influencer is with the help of Google or any other search engine. Don’t forget an influencer has already created content in your niche and reached out to your target audience. So, being a marketer, you can search for industry-related terms and keywords to get expert influencer in those areas.
You can review various articles related to plenty of topics in your niche and conduct individual searches for influencers you already have heard of or know they are already high impact contributors. You can also scan industry-specific sites and web pages for influencers.
2. Social Media Platforms
You can also search on social media platforms to find the right influencer for your brand. Whether you are using social media channels or not, but most of the high impact influencers will have some sort of social media presence, you can view their profiles to know more about them.
On social media channels, you can search for keywords and phrases, hashtags, tagged audience members on particular posts, and specific users. Remember to search in the comment section of a post that drives a high volume of traffic and related to your niche or type of work as influencers may post comments and interact with your target audience there. Although you can also get some ideas from influencer posts on your competitor’s account.
Reading blogs is another method of finding influencers – that is both the author of the blog and their source. Don’t forget to scan for the people that are mentioned in the blog post. Perhaps the blogger reviews their work, mention a quote from them, or ask them to contribute to the piece.
In addition to this, themed publications such as business art, fashion, or beauty frequently do expert round-ups where they can feature plenty of influencers. You can also do individual research to determine whether they are appropriate for your brand or not.
4. Influencer Marketing Tools
Due to the popularity of influencer marketing, various technologies have emerged to help brands identify influencers and measure their success. Some tools are listed below to find the right influencer for your brand:
LinkedIn is one of the most popular tools that can help you to find influencers in your niche. All you need to do is type your niche or industry into the LinkedIn search bar, and then choose people. You can also modify other options to refine your selections.
One of the most effective methods to make contact with the people on LinkedIn is through LinkedIn Groups.
By using Twitter, you can also search for influencers who have referred to your industry in their profile. When you got the right influencers on Twitter, you need to build a relationship with them. You can’t expect too much that if you follow them in return, they follow you back because most of the influencers have a large amount of followers than the people they follow.
Twitter offers us a social media dashboard in the form of Tweetdeck. With Tweetdeck, you can use it to show any of your Twitter timeline items, direct messages, mentions, lists, favorites, trends and hashtags.
You can use that hashtags that are used by influencers in your niche. This dashboard tells you how many followers influencers have along with their engagement level and it can be an indication to Twitter influence.
Buzzsumo offers information about content sharing, including indicating influencers who have shared content about that specific topic. Buzzsumo helps to monitor competitor’s content marketing, it will have influencers and outreach section. You can search for a topic that Buzzsumo will display a list of influencers or people it considers influential on that specific topic.
You can use BuzzStream software to make a list of influencers and build a relationship with them. You can easily find contact details of the influencer in your niche through this tool. It provides you with extensive information like physical address, email address as well as phone number.
# How to hire an influencer?
If you want to hire an influencer to promote your services or products, the following are the important steps you should consider before making any decision:
1. Identify influencer
Find influencers that are relevant to you, instead of just looking at their numbers. But keep one thing in your mind while identifying any influencer, determine your budget as well before hiring any influencer, because sometimes we hire only because they have a large following. Having a large following will often end up with a high cost.
Identify influencer in your niche, as in the above section I’ve given an example if you are from different brands, and choosing an influencer from different niche will not worth the money. So, while identifying an influencer ensure you are shortlisting relevant influencer for your brand.
2. Choose influencer
After shortlisting a list of influencers, start reaching out. You can reach out to them by checking their profile for a link in their bio because they provide a website with a contact form so that you can establish a connection with them for further work. You can also check out their Instagram profile and message them to ask them for an email address to correspond with.
You can tell them that you like their content and would like to work with them. If they seem like they are interested, then clearly offer them a proposal and let them know what your expectations are.
3. Make a contract
Once you and your influencer are ready to work together, then you can send them a contract. It is basically a legal document that will protect both parties, and you can clearly state on which statement you both parties are agreed, it will also help you a lot in every further process. You can make a contract as per your requirements.
While making a contract, don’t forget to tell your influencer on what metrics you intend to measure results. You can also set a date for the person to send final numbers, for example, after 15 days when a post is published, etc. You can ask for:
Social media post metric for influencer marketing
- How many people have seen your post?
- How many people liked your post?
- How many comments did you get?
- Engagement rate
4. Check out results
Once you have done all this, you can measure the results. You can share a special code with your influencer to share it with their followers to offer a discount. In this way, you can track the results.
# How to make an influencer marketing strategy?
Like any marketing strategy, influencer marketing also requires planning. Without any strategy, you won’t get success, so here, I’ve listed some points that will be beneficial in influencer marketing strategy. Take a look at the following points:
1. Find and pay social media influencer
Similar to any other strategy, here also you need to do research. The first thing you should do is choose a network where you want to focus on. You will not be restricted to a specific network, you can expand to other networks later when you want, and it is recommended if you already started up then try to first stick with one.
Consider your industry in which you are working when you plan to implement influencer marketing. While searching for an influencer, look into the type of influencer and consider one influencer type you’re interested in. Whatever you choose, determine your budget also.
The price of each influencer varies widely, too, so ensure you are looking at the influencer with a common rate. If you want to go with micro-influencer, then remember they focus on a few topics and accept products. But some micro-influencer work independently, on the other hand, some may be represented by a network or an agency.
2. Determine your budget and management strategy
After knowing the type of influencer with their corresponding rates, you can set your budget. While working on influencer marketing, make sure you know each phase of this strategy because only choosing an influencer and running influencer marketing is not enough, you have to be careful at each stage, you have to monitor everything and follow-up.
3. Decide your brand’s goals
It doesn’t make any sense if you don’t know why you are using influencer marketing, obviously, for brand awareness and to increase sales as well. Right? Basically, you need to set up a brand’s needs and goals. Initially, you want to increase your customer base or expand into a new user group with a new product or service. Or you want to utilize influencer to promote your product and skip trends.
Influencers can reach out to the target audience. Instead of you depend on thousands of followers, influencers can help you ensure a targeted audience who tends to be interested in your product and engage with your content.
4. Shortlist your influencer
One another important thing you need to focus on is to find the right influencer to work with. During the research phase, you should consider the following things:
- Identify whether the influencer already posting similar things to your product or service? For example, you have an educational academy, and then you should be looking who regularly post about new courses etc.
- Identify whether the influencer has worked with a similar brand before? Because you would give a contract to those influencers who are best in their work.
Next, you need to contact them for work, so for micro-influencer, you can push direct messages on the same platform. For more detail, you can check out their profile that usually contains the contact information for business inquiries in their bio.
5. Review and make changes in your strategy
Even if you have already decided your influencer strategy and this process is on-going, still you can review pre-determined dates to measure its progress.
# How you can get the best outcomes from your chosen influencers?
As we know, influencers are those people who have built up their following, put up a lot of energy, time as well as thought into the content. So, don’t take this for granted, if you are using their platforms to promote your brand’s product.
There will be a lot of opinions on how much you should pay to an influencer? If you have just started a new company and paying a large sum of money for influencer marketing may not be possible. So, due to this reason I’ve gathered some options for you. Take a look:
Offer discount or free products
If you get an influencer to promote your brand’s products, for example, you have an online store of beauty products, then why not give them some free of cost? Or you can also offer them a large discount to use whatever they wish. This could be a beneficial deal for both of you, and it could be another form of payment.
Giving commission to the influencers is a favourite deal for brands. The business owner won’t lose money that they haven’t gained already, and the influencer gets paid a proportionate sum to the number of sales they’ve generated.
Allow influencers to add value to your brand
You can allow your influencer to be creative with how and what they post because it will not only make this more authentic, but it can also give them an opportunity to add value to your brand and make the post relevant to their followers.
# Why influencer marketing works so well?
There are various reasons why influencer marketing works:
Influencers are a trustworthy source for consumers
Trust act as the base and most important thing to make any campaign successful. Whenever people go for buying any product, they ask their friends about that specific product and when they see other people are using it, especially those whom they trust, they purchase that product immediately.
Influencers provide high-quality content
Influencers know how to build trust and how to grab the attention of their audience. So, you don’t need to think of how it would be beneficial for you to promote your product, event or service through influencers. The content creator will make 100% efforts based on their practical experience and generate sales of your product in the best possible way.
Influencers doesn’t suffer from ads blocking
As we know people use Adblock apps, but they never block blogger’s post, even if that post contain promotional content. Moreover, even they wouldn’t think of that- instead, they will read, engage and discuss.
Influencer marketing will provide you with useful information about your customers and their requirements
When you work with content creators, you always receive feedback from customers in the form of likes, comments, and shares. Sometimes, influencers give you their tips and insights for better future cooperation and engagement.
And this method of getting feedback from your customers is beneficial for your business, and instead of spending a lot of money for receiving actual market feedback, this is the method where you can receive instant feedback. You can see what are your customer’s reviews about your product or service, and you can use this information for marketing, product development and to increase sales in future.
# Influencer marketing trends in 2020
Social media influencers grab customer’s attention by producing relevant, entertaining, or educational content. Brands look for influencers that can help them to increase their sales and brand awareness.
There are plenty of influencer marketing trends to look for in 2020. Take a look at the following points:
Consider nano influencer and micro-influencer
Marketers are more reasonable with the budget, so they are changing how they work with the influencer. If you focus on mega influencers, then your budget should be high because they charge higher. On the other hand, nano and micro-influencers are becoming more popular because of their increased personal engagement with their followers or audience. If you are looking for genuine engagement, then nano and micro-influencers are at the top.
Follow storytelling approach
Storytelling is a good approach because you can create an atmosphere that resonates with your customers when you share a story that reflects human struggles. This is the reason for adopting the storytelling approach.
Your influencer can help you by promoting your product and demonstrating your product to the audience how your product can solve the problems they are facing for a longer period of time.
As you know, it is quite common for the influencer to share their personal experiences with their audiences, including their problems. They can share how your brand can fulfil their requirements and makes it better.
Use alternative platforms
Choose the appropriate platform for your brand, it is another thing you should follow while developing your influencer strategy. While choosing the best social media platforms for your strategy, it is important to know that every platform will offer its own unique audience, the difference in influencer style and engagement, as well as its own specific advantages.
The best option is to choose that platform where your audience spends most of the time. May be your chosen platform will not work for other businesses and while one brand might have a large amount of engagement on a certain platform.
The influencer will create more video content
As we know, video marketing is one of the best marketing platforms, and if you want to implement it into your marketing strategy, then it will become a key in getting your customer’s attention. Therefore, influencers can use video marketing in many ways. They can engage their audience via review of the product, by posting “how-to” videos and engaging live streams.
Instagram continues to grow in influencer marketing
If you are not aware, Instagram is the most important platform when it comes to influencer marketing. As you know influencer marketing is important on all social media networks, Instagram is the topmost priority for the brands.
The most impressive part of Instagram is it’s visual and easy to use tools and layouts. Instagram users share their photos, videos, and send stories and scroll up and down to see what their friends have posted. Instagram users buy products on this platform now.
Twitch is on the rise in influencer marketing
While you are learning the latest influencer marketing trends, a few platforms will come into your minds such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. In fact, there are several influencer marketing campaigns are conducted on Instagram now.
But it is not guaranteed that these platforms will stay at the top in 2020 because there are plenty of other platforms that are making their own place in influencer marketing.
Twitch is the platform that is on the rise, and it is used for live video streaming, and it is a subsidiary of Amazon. It is a perfect match for gamers, it has also expanded its scope to cater to all manner of tasks and interests including cooking, painting, and music.
Brands invest in longer-term influencer partnership
It has become more important for brands to foster long-term influencer partnerships. Just like any relationship where trust and mutual interest is important, brands and influencer know how important it is to establish a strong relationship. In other words, marketers move away from the transactional approach of paying for a single post.
There are plenty of other advantages of investing in long-term influencer partnerships. Brands can set their expectations within a certain time period and they will be able to know what does work and what doesn’t work for their campaigns and have an on-going and stable endorsement for the future. Apart from this, brands have a chance to establish trust between themselves, the influencer and their audience. This is an important component of influencer marketing helping the brand to establish trust and loyalty among the audience.
If the influencers invest in the partnership, then they are more likely to engage in and generate high-quality content. A longer-term relationship can mean a greater incentive to perform well than a one-off or short-term endorsement.
If brands want a successful campaign, then they need to focus on a long-term partnership.
Brands are giving priority to high-quality content and safety when finding influencers
Influencer marketing is a tricky business where brands have to be careful when they choose influencers. As you know there are various influencers in the market, but choosing that influencer who will well fit for your brand and audience you are trying to reach. Whether it is Instagram, YouTube or any social media platform, finding the right influencer to endorse is an important step in ensuring that brand’s safety is ensured.
If you have chosen the right person for promotion of your brand’s product, then it will be ensured that your brand will be positioned better to manage brand safety and it will be guaranteed of high-quality content.
A small mistake can lead to failure, so it is important to choose a perfect influencer for your brand that fits into your niche. And make sure the influencer produce high-quality content for your brand.
Influencer marketing is on the rise and overtaking traditional and paid marketing
We already know influencer marketing is on the rise and but the question arises, “Is it overtaking traditional and paid marketing?”
Marketers are agreed that influencer marketing is an important tool for marketing – and nearly 90% of marketers overwhelmingly agree that the quality of customers from it is much better than other traditional channels.
As we know, influencers have diminished many barriers that marketers have been accustomed to with conventional marketing methods. Stories, blogs, and everything in-between has broken down normal barriers that exist between celebrities and fans.
Unlike celebrities, influencers are more approachable, more open, and offer better ways for engagement. The power of influencer marketing is that social media stars have a strong relationship with their fans and audience that a conventional as could never achieve.
The arrival of new social media platforms and new features
Everyone knows the importance of social media platforms, and these social media platforms are places where marketers focus on their marketing efforts to reach the widest audience and choose influencers. In 2020, the top most social media platforms include Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest at least. But other new platforms are coming into the market with advanced features and those social media platforms are worthy of attention too.
Influencer marketers and influencer themselves are looking for new social media platforms with advanced features to diversify their efforts. Consider the given below examples:
Many of you will be aware of this application, as it is used to share videos, so it is becoming more popular because of its features of sharing media with your friends and relative. In addition to this, it is on the rise and making an impact in 2020. Being a marketer you can collaborate with a Snapchat influencer in all typical avenues, including contests, product release, events and so on.
It is not a separate platform from its creator, Instagram, IGTV comes with new features that can engage more audience in 2020. It is a video sharing application that helps you to share long-form, vertical videos and storytelling.
IGTV allows brands to focus on their niche as they collaborate with the Instagram influencers. It is another way to engage more audience for brands to connect with their audience and have an extended time of 10 to 60 minutes to share their valuable content.
# How can you run a successful influencer marketing campaign?
If you think by running influencer marketing you will quickly get rich, then here you are wrong, because it often requires a slow build-up of networking, especially if you choose the organic method of finding followers.
If you are working with an agency, it can speed up the process but the downside of this, you have to pay a higher cost.
No matter which method you choose, but you can expect to see a return on your investment.
Now, consider the following points to run a successful influencer marketing campaign:
How to handle your campaign
If you want to manage your campaign very well, then you need to give freedom to your influencer. When you choose paid influencer, then you’ll have more control over the influencer and remember to make your expectations clear to your influencer.
It is very essential for your brand to make them aware of what you expect and what your goals are so they can help you better to achieve all goals.
The cost of the influencer will depend on how experienced an influencer is. There are some factors listed below that can help you to know the affect how much you should pay an influencer:
- Identify how well the influencer’s audience fits your target market.
- Has the influencer built a solid online reputation?
- How well he/she has a reputation for creating and sharing high-quality content?
These are some factors you need to consider before paying. If you satisfied with all of the above factors only then go for that specific influencer.
After that, you can start monitoring the progress of the campaign and don’t forget to keep in touch with the influencer.
Make a checklist for a successful campaign
The list of steps you need to create or perform will depend on the method you choose to follow for influencer selection. You can search influencer organically or you could pay so that you can have more control over a campaign, either searching for an influencer on a platform or working with an agency.
- Define your goals and performance metrics.
- Select a method of finding an influencer – organically, working with an agency, or using a platform.
- Determine your campaign manager, resources, budget, and potential influencer incentives.
- Determine what process you want to use for influencer research and outreach.
- Negotiate with influencers you want to have a formal working relationship and offer them a contract.
- Keep in touch with your influencer.
- Monitor your influencer’s activity.
- Monitor your performance metrics for the campaign and compare it against your actual goals.
Common mistakes you should avoid in your campaigns
The most common mistake done by businesses is to choose influencers that don’t appeal to their target market.
Another crucial mistake is when you try to have more control over the content of your influencers. Their followers believe in their content and they follow them, not you and they believe in their authenticity.
If you are concerned that your chosen influencer is damaging your brand’s image, then probably you have chosen a wrong influencer for your brand.
How to measure engagement, reach, ROI and leads
Once you have found a perfect influencer and start working with him/her, then the next step is to measure the performance, engagement, reach and return on investment.
As we know ROI varies from campaign to campaign, and you may use plenty of analytical measures over a specified time period.
You may want to measure whether the campaign is meeting your specified goals or not. There are some common statistics that most businesses like to know their influencer marketing:
- Reach and engagement with each post that is created by your influencer.
- The number of additional website visitors received by your campaign.
- How much sale is generated as compared to the cost you have spent on working with influencers?
You can gather these statistics from your website’s Google Analytics. Maybe many of you know there are lots of platforms and agencies which provide you dashboards that help you with accurate analytics for campaign they manage.
It is very important for your brand and especially for you to keep an eye on your campaign. To run successful influencer marketing, brands need to trust that their influencers will represent them and their brand appropriately. But it will depend on the selection of an influencer. If you have selected the right influencer for your brand who has followers that match to your target market, then you are very close to the success.