Influencer marketing has become a well-known strategy that brands leverage to reach out and engage with their current and potential customers. Marketers and brands feel confident utilizing influencer marketing as a channel, and roughly 80% of marketers find influencer marketing effective.
How Influencer Marketing Works
At its core, influencers – individuals with a dedicated social following, and a strong reputation in a particular niche – partner with brands, co-create content and endorse certain products. These partnerships work well because of the high amount of trust social influencers build up with their audience. Recommendations serve as a form of social proof to a brand’s potential new customers.
Influencer Marketing Landscape
The influencer marketing industry is on track to be worth up to $15 billion by 2022, up from $8 billion in 2019. There’s no question that certain brands are investing a significant portion of their marketing budgets into influencer campaigns. So the question is, what is influencer marketing? And how can it work for your brand?
A decade ago, the influencer marketing landscape looked vastly different in comparison to what it looks like today. This landscape was exclusively made up of celebrities, athletes and politicians. Whereas today, that landscape has drastically shifted. With the exponential growth in social media platforms such as Instagram, everyday bloggers can grow and leverage their own audiences and provide value to brands.
Factors That Influence Marketing Strategy Success
When looking to start an influencer campaign, a brand needs to define a specific goal and targets. Is your goal brand awareness? Or is your goal conversions?
The second step is developing your audience personas. You need to know who you’re trying to influence, and an effective strategy will require you to understand your audience and align it with the influencer and their audience.
Going through the selection process to find the right influencer for your campaign can take months. Breaking it down into tangible steps and knowing what to look for will help you with your search for the perfect creator.
Prioritize engagement over follower count
A big following means nothing if an influencer’s audience isn’t engaged in their content and in turn, their offers. Tapping into micro-influencers (5-25k) can serve as a much better advantage to a business, as they generally have a loyal and engaged following within their specific niche. Good engagement usually means a high level of trust. When searching for the right influencer for your campaign, look out for likes, comments and views, as well as the value the influencer is bringing to their audience. A strong engagement rate also means a loyal following, rather than an inflated follower count through bots.
Be Aware of Sponsorship Saturation
Commonly, influencers will consistently do 1-off promotions with brands, rather than work with them on a long term basis. Keep an eye out for sponsorship saturation in your influencers’ content. If you notice that they are consistently posting with different products more so than adding value to their audience, perhaps it’s best to find someone better suited. Because influencer marketing is dependent on trust, if your influencer is not loyal to specific products, their following is less likely to share that loyalty as well. Instead, entering into long term partnerships with your influencers will guarantee a more successful campaign long term.
Keep in mind your budget
It’s important to keep in mind your budget for your influencer marketing campaign. Influencers will expect fair compensation for their content, and rightly so. When reaching out to an influencer, inquiring about their rates is an important part of the process. Because these rates are not standardized, it can be difficult to know how much to pay an influencer for their content and reach. Most pricing starts with a baseline formula that is often adjusted on a case by case basis: $100 x 10,000 followers + extras = total rate
Working With Influencers
My personal experience with influencer marketing has been on both the influencer side and the marketing side. As a digital and social media marketer, getting a behind-the-scenes look into the influencer marketing industry from the influencer perspective has been beneficial and in turn, informed my strategies as a marketer. Having experience in both sides, I view the relationship between a brand and an influencer as mutually beneficial.
As an avid yoga practitioner and teacher, I started an Instagram account in 2016 solely to track my personal progress and connect with the community online. After consistent posting, my audience slowly began to grow to over 60k on Instagram, and 45k on TikTok. As my audience grew, opportunities to collaborate with brands became more consistent. I’ve collaborated with numerous apparel, skincare, and supplement companies. Most of my partnerships are on a long term basis, and by doing so, I’ve developed strong relationships with brands that are mutually beneficial. My success on social media has boiled down to remaining authentic in my content, which in turn develops a sense of trust with my audience.
The Value Found In Influencer Marketing
An average engagement rate on Instagram is roughly 2.1%. Calculating an influencer’s engagement rate can be done through this formula: adding up all engagements on a post (likes, comments, clicks, shares), dividing by follower count, and multiplying by 100. If your campaign goal is brand awareness, choosing a macro influencer will provide a wider reach. On the other hand, if your goal is conversions, choosing a middle or micro-influencer with high engagement will, generally speaking, increase your ROI. Developing those long-term relationships with your influencers will serve in the best interest of both the brand and the influencer.
Brands are always trying to find new and innovative ways to reach their target audience in order to stay relevant and ahead of the curve. Using the power of social media channels to do so has become increasingly relevant over the last 5 years, and will continue to play an important role in the overall marketing landscape for brands in the future.