How to utilise influencer marketing for your business

  • What is influencer marketing?
  • Influencer marketing throughout the ages
  • What value do influencers hold in your industry?
  • Building your own effective influencer marketing strategy
  • Monitoring your influencer campaigns
 
It was not that long ago that ‘social influencing’ was a marketing strategy that employed the services of just the celebrities of this world. Then over the next few years, a few dedicated bloggers and vloggers paved the way for sponsored content. Now, with the fast advances in social media, a saturated market of influencers in all industries has made this marketing strategy commonplace. Due to its very nature, influencer marketing is a polarising topic among strategists and marketing managers. If you’ve done any research into the subject you’ll find a wide range of advice, spanning from the ‘they are essential for fast growth’ category to ‘completely unnecessary’. So what’s the low down? Read our complete guide to influencer marketing as we make sense of this sometimes difficult to understand brand awareness strategy. It could be exactly what you’re looking for. Influencer Marketing

What is influencer marketing?

At its very core, influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing that utilises specific business endorsements and product placements from influencers. Now, an influencer is typically an individual who has gathered a large internet following across a variety of blog and social media channels.  They can be experts in their industry, celebrities, outliers, reviewers, or incredibly active users. They have the power to influence purchasing habits of their followers but also, they have gained the trust of a usually quite large audience base. It is this trust that companies tap into when seeking the endorsements of social influencers.

The growing trend of influencer marketing 

Back in 2013, it was a lot easier to make your mark on Instagram than it is today. If Lady Luck shined down upon you and blessed you with a feature on Instagram’s featured page, or if your style & posts were quirky and unique enough, then your odds of securing a paid post or two were quite high. There are many social influencers today who are millionaires after making influencer marketing their full-time occupations. A cursory look at the Instagram account of Rosie Clayton will show you that she has made her page famous by sporting extremely colourful and quirky dresses against the backdrop of interesting and uniquely colourful walls. Her photos stood out and she engages with some of the biggest brands on the planet, fitting their products into her general style.

How long can this last?

Bright and colourful images are the norm these days. You see interesting ‘foodie’ concoctions photographed in front of a range of quirky backdrops. What happens when the stand-out nature of influencer marketing becomes the norm? Well, The Atlantic argues that the younger generation have ‘snapped back’ to a style of limited editing, with candid photographs and videos taken straight from a smartphone rather than a professional setup. The key to maximising your ROI when it comes to influencer marketing, in any industry, is welcoming constant changes in developing trends.

What is the true value of influencer marketing?

Whilst it took Instagram to really light a fire under this marketing strategy and turn it into the social beast it is today, many other channels are facilitating the rapid growth of social influencers. SIZE OF THE INFLUNECER MARKETING MARKET WORLD WIDE Other social media networks that have risen to prominence over the last few years are Snapchat and TikTok – with brands heavily invested in video content to capture the market of younger target audiences. In a recent study by the Influencer Marketing Hub, 59% of brands have a dedicated budget to content marketing; and of that group, 75% have budgeted to engage in influencer marketing in 2021. Additionally, 90% of their survey respondents claimed that influencer marketing is an effective strategy.

How to build your influencer marketing campaign

The success of formulating your influencer strategy will, like most forms of marketing, lie in the planning and targeting stage of the campaign. Sending a few free products to anybody that asks will not lead to the greatest of results. And, it requires a lot more planning than extending your network to your friends and friends of friends.

Finding your perfect influencer

First off, choose the platform you want to focus on pushing your product or service first.  If you’re selling art or are in the fashion industry, Instagram will likely be the network for you.  If you’re looking to promote a new SaaS product, perhaps LinkedIn will suit your needs most. It’s not all about social channels either. Industry-specific blogs and review sites may be the best place to promote your product depending on your target audience. Developing a new game? Twitch is the channel you’re looking for. If this is your first shot at influencer marketing, then it is best to choose a platform that your brand already has a presence on. A great way to start would be to use a social listening platform like Awario. These solutions allow you to monitor what sort of conversations or mentions are happening relating to the keywords that closely align with your product or industry. The next step in your research will be to note the followers of the types of voices in your industry. Celebrities will likely have hundreds of thousands, if not millions of followers from all around the world.  Are you selling all around the world or just in the UK? Is your industry quite niche? If so, then this likely is not the option you’re looking for. Typically industry-focused influencers with smaller followings have more engaged users that place a higher value on their endorsements.  A micro-influencer will typically have around, or fewer than, 2000 followers. Depending on which influencer you choose to approach, their social following will be reflected in the final cost. Be sure to research common rates for various influencer types as the remunerations expected can differ quite dramatically. A lot of micro-influencers will represent themselves and will tend to only provide endorsements for products within their specific field, although some may be represented by a comms agency. Celebrities and the larger-followed influencers may expect you to deal with a talent agency to broker a partnership.

How to gage your potential ROI from an influencer marketing campaign

These campaigns are not going to be free so it’s essential to try and gage your potential returns. One way to do this is to compare your budget to an ad campaign you may have run before. How much budget did you allocate for the production of an online video? Just think of the influencer as the producer of a similar video. This may seem a stretch, but it will help to have a point of comparison in mind. So how much are you expected to pay for the services of an influencer in 2021? According to the Influencer Marketing Hub, the official category splits of influencers within the industry are as follows: Nano-influencers: 1,000–10,000 followers Micro-influencers: 10,000–50,000 followers Mid-tier influencers: 50,000–500,000 followers Macro-influencers: 500,000–1,000,000 followers Mega-influencers: 1,000,000+ followers As well as followers, the other metric to consider is engagement rate. How much does the audience engage with your target influencer? If you can see a healthy amount of comments, likes and shares – then you’re paid post is more likely to be seen and acted upon by your target audience. THE TOP 5 SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS FOR INFLUENCER MARKETING According to the most recent Influencer Marketing Outlook report, here is a breakdown of what you can expect to pay per followership per platform:

Instagram

Nano-influencers: $10–$100 per post Micro-influencers: $100–$500 per post Mid-tier influencers: $500–$5,000 per post Macro-influencers: $5,000–$10,000 per post Mega-influencers: $10,000+ per post Celebrities: Varies, but $1+ million isn’t unheard of

YouTube

Nano-influencers: $20–$200 per video Micro-influencers: $200–$1,000 per video Mid-tier influencers: $1,000–$10,000 per video Macro-influencers: $10,000–$20,000 per post Mega-influencers: $20,000+ per post

TikTok

Nano-influencers: $5–$25 per post Micro-influencers: $25–$125 per post Mid-tier influencers: $125–$1,250 per post Macro-influencers: $1,250–$2,500 per post Mega-influencers: $2,500+ per post

Twitter

Nano-influencers: $2–$20 per post Micro-influencers: $20–$100 per post Mid-tier influencers: $100–$1,000 per post Macro-influencers: $1,000–$2,000 per post Mega-influencers: $2,000+ per post

Facebook

Nano-influencers: $25–$250 per post Micro-influencers: $250–$1,250 per post Mid-tier influencers: $1,250–$12,500 per post Macro-influencers: $12,500–$25,000 per post Mega-influencers: $25,000+ per post

Follow a strict strategy

So now you can roughly understand what you can expect to pay an influencer to market your product, it is important to define your strategy and follow it up with consistent monitoring and reporting. Unlike the modern automated marvel that is Google Adwords, influencers are human and are subject to errors. They may have multiple projects at the same time and let some agreements slip through the net. If you’ve specified a tag you wanted on the post or a time for the post to be sent – it is important to make sure these things are actioned.

Define your message before you reach out

What are the two main reasons why companies engage in an influencer marketing campaign? To raise brand awareness and to boost sales. These objectives are broad and it’s worth taking the time to understand the specifics.  What are your brand needs at the moment?  In which age group do you want to increase sales?  Are you looking to expand into a new target audience? These are important questions and will guide you in making the right choice on which influencer to choose. With influencers, you can target very niche audiences – so try and make them as laser-targeted as possible.

Reaching out: How to make contact with influencers

Reaching out loops into the research stage of the process. There are a few things to consider:
  • Does the influencer already post about products and promotions within your industry?
  • How are their current engagement rates? If you’re seeing spammy or irrelevant comments, you may want to be wary about using that channel.
  • Look for any signs of paid promotions in the past. If your chosen influencer is experienced he/she may have a press kit you can download with some contact information.
For nano or micro-influencers you can likely just send a private message on the platform that they are most prominent on. For more established and seasoned influencers, have a look around the rest of their digital real estate and you’ll likely come across a contact list for business inquiries. Influencers are here to stay. They have access to engaged and relevant followers and audiences within a range of specific industries. The success of the strategy will lie mostly with research and finding the right person. Looking out for followers and current engagement metrics, whilst clearly defining your own business objectives will be key to the process.

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