The influencer marketing trend is growing rapidly. More than 60% of companies in the US used this method within their digital marketing strategies in 2020 and the global market value of influencer marketing more than doubled between 2019 and 2021.
It is no surprise that more and more businesses are exploring the possibility to collaborate with these digital creators. Influencer marketing is authentic and more human than other ways of reaching consumers, such as traditional advertising. When partnering with influencers, a brand aligns with people who are passionate about their craft. This reflects the business in a positive light, demonstrating authenticity and sincerity.
Influencer marketing focuses on building relationships with people who already have a meaningful and sizable online presence, reducing the investment required for advertising. With that in mind, this article provides an overview of how organisations can incorporate influencer marketing into their overall strategy.
Developing an Influencer Strategy
As with any strategy, determining the objectives is the starting point and the KPIs that will be used for measurement.
An example of a well-thought out campaign with tangible numbers to demonstrate its effectiveness would be the collaboration between the clothing line Adore Me and TikTok influencer, Remi Bader.
Remi Bader is a body positive plus-size woman creating video content which has gained more than 3.2 million views on her TikTok alone, along with over 8,800 likes on her Instagram reels. The Adore Me brand, specialising in lingerie, nightwear and swimwear decided to join forces with this creator to showcase their range of size-inclusive swimwear, with a highly favourable outcome.
The results were determined for the campaign spanning from 23rd March to 15th April 2021, revealing that the sponsored reels drove much stronger results over a more traditional ad campaign:
- 16% lower cost per new customer
- 15% higher conversion rate for site visitiors
- 25% increase in subscription opt-ins
- 26% higher reach
The ways in which influencers can help brands achieve some key objectives are as follows:
- Increasing brand awareness: With their sizable social media following, influencers can reach new audiences that are not already exposed to a brand’s existing channels. In some cases, individuals who do not normally fall into the brand’s niche can become interested in the products or services offered, allowing it to expand into new markets.
- Increasing sales and leads: Recommendations made by trusted and beloved creators are powerful. The right person can skyrocket a brand’s revenue simply by having genuine appreciation for a product and recommending it to their viewers.
- Improving SEO: The value of backlinks needs no introduction, and a business may just get plenty of them depending on the type of content the influencer provides. Even without backlinks, The company’s website can benefit from an increased number of visits and longer view times.
- Social media growth: People who become interested in a brand as part of an influencer marketing strategy will often go on to follow the brand’s own social media. This means they will be directly exposed to all future campaigns, whether or not the influencer is part of them.
Finding the Right Influencers
Types of Influencers
Before launching on a search for influencers, businesses will need to have a clear strategy in place so as to make the most out of the partnership. Once the objectives have been determined, it is important to define the type of influencer required.
Vloggers are effective in targeting a younger audience who respond well to audio-visual content, while bloggers can be more versatile. There are vloggers of all ages working on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. Bloggers may have their own websites or be ongoing guests on a few different outlets.
Within a good marketing strategy, the right platform will be established based on where the target audience spends most of their time. A brand may also decide to work with several influencers at a time based on the segmentation of their audience.
Selecting the Right Influencers
A suitable influencer should be engaging and have a sizable audience. A brand should partner with people who are generally aligned with its core values, as this bridges the gap between the values of the brand and the audience. This also helps to prevent reputation damage; no brand would want to be associated with an individual with openly contrasting values.
If a business is looking for new ways to increase revenue, one approach is to partner with popular YouTube vloggers to promote its products or services. Businesses can take advantage of this by having them mention the featured product or service in their videos.
Brands should seek out creators that can help spread the word about what they sell. A few tips to take into account in this regard are:
- Ensuring that the goal for using influencer marketing is measurable and clearly defined. In the case of wanting to increase brand awareness, for example, data can be tracked on how many people saw or interacted with the creator’s sponsored post, as well as the quality of the interactions between the influencer and their audience.
- Choosing influencers who are relevant to a specific target audience to make sure that the associated following consists of qualified leads.
- Working with influencers who have a positive rapport with their followers. An audience that has trust towards the creator they are supporting will be more inclined to trust the products and services promoted by this individual.
- Having clarity about what is expected from the influencer and what their compensation will be. It is important that both parties are on the same page and that the business agreement is beneficial for both sides of the equation.
- Closely monitoring the campaign so that it can be adjusted in real time. This includes tracking performance and whether the creator is meeting the campaign’s expectations.
Much like any relationship between two parties, a good rapport must be maintained and managed for as long as the relationship lasts. It is also important to manage expectations within these relationships. Any changes within an organisation or with an influencer’s general direction or the values they express could dissolve the partnership.
It is also important to not expect creators to provide additional promotion for any brand beyond any contractual obligations; some brands choose to give gifts and freebies to a creator, but this does not constitute an obligation for them to give free work.
A few typical types of content are listed below.
- Guest posting: This one is mostly relevant for bloggers. In this case, individuals or companies contribute content to one another, which increases cross-traffic, brand credibility and brand awareness.
- Sponsored content: For a brand targeting a specific niche, sponsoring content by a prominent creator in that niche is an excellent way to showcase and raise awareness about the products and the brand name itself. Continuous sponsoring of the same creator can build a long term business relationship that can make the brand name associated with the influencer in question, which over time can raise the popularity of the product and company.
- Contests or giveaways: The idea of a contest or giveaway is very straightforward, yet can yield phenomenal results. People love freebies, and people love to win. By offering products or services for free to a select few, an influencer can amass very high traffic and engagement on one single post or video, in which every person watching will be made aware of the product and brand. Furthermore, the winners could become long term customers if they are happy with the quality of their prize.
Measuring the ROI of Influencer Campaigns
60% of marketers state that posts by influencers outperform branded posts and receive eight times more engagement. Some way to measure the ROI from influencer campaigns include monitoring the sales generated through affiliate links and unique discount codes supplied to influencers, as well as referral codes, and UTM tags to track the source of traffic.
Another helpful value to consider is Earned Media Value (EMV), which indicates how much would need to be spent in order to gain the same level of engagement as from the influencer campaign. Factors contributing to this value include the average cost per engagement, cost per impression and cost per click.
Tracking brand mentions through social listening platforms can be a good source of qualitative insights. This can make it easier to observe the effects of the influencer’s recommendations on their audience and to understand the attitudes among them.
Influencer marketing is a powerful strategy that has grown astronomically in recent years. Businesses can use it to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to their websites and social media channels, gain backlinks, and generate leads and sales.
Any marketers that choose to use this strategy must work with influencers that have a broad reach and high quality interactions with their following. In addition, the campaign’s content must be engaging, relevant, authentic, and valuable to the business’ own target audience, as well as to the creators.
When collaborating with an influencer, establishing trust and credibility is a priority. By managing expectations from the start, a mutually-beneficial partnership may be on the horizon for many years to come, the value of which can be measured through various methods, as discussed above.
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