Influencer marketing is one of today’s fastest-growing topics with new creative influencers emerging on a daily basis. It wasn’t known whether influencers were able to prove their value but we have seen their content make leaps in quality, which raises questions about their actual usability.
There is a great deal of diversity between influencers, so part of the challenge is finding the “right influencer” to represent your brand. Businesses constantly seek authentic influencers with superior content that resonates deeply with viewers. Influencers are content creators above all else, and it’s fair to expect expert-level content.
As important as it is to find a creative influencer, their audience is still the ultimate goal. There are a few notable characteristics of influencer marketing that you should know before jumping in with both feet. In this article, we will discuss everything required to build your own influencer marketing campaign.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is the promotion of a brand through a social media platform such as Instagram or TikTok. Influencers can be anything from ordinary people, celebrities, or even organizations so long as they have an engaged social media following. These influencers endorse brands by leveraging their relationship with followers as a marketing service.
All influencers are by some degree “content creators” as there is a basic requirement for them to create content, attract new viewers, and retain followers. Influencers operate by identifying a niche and tailoring their content toward the interests of those viewers. Through the process of improving content quality and enriching their relationship with followers, these influencers can leverage their presence for marketing purposes.
It’s important to note that content quality can vary drastically between influencers. The most creative influencers produce the most engaging experiences and tend to have more responsive followers. This raises another important dimension of influencer marketing campaigns that is largely skill-based. These authentic influencers are often highly sought after for collaboration, primarily for their ability to persuade their viewers and their authoritativeness within their specialty.
Another substantial part of an influencer’s persuasion potential is primarily built on trust. A critical aspect of this dynamic between influencers, followers, and clients; is relevance. Relevance has the ability to undermine this inherent trust if misaligned with consumer demand. This forces our attention on the influencer audience as an in-differentiable part of the success of an influencer marketing campaign.
The influencers’ audience is by far the most subjective factor of all. Some audiences are stagnant, while others can be hyperactive. When looking for the right influencer we cannot presume our ability to generate interactions if there was no prior evidence to base our assumptions on. We do however have the ability to analyze their performance, after the fact, by observing influencer statistics and the range of their audience. Something we will observe in greater detail later on, but let’s discuss the importance of influencer marketing and the ways it can be used.
Finding the Right Influencer
Influencers can be evaluated by these five criteria. This can help us both choose which influencers to work with and draw expectations for our influencer marketing campaign.
- Reach: Influencer reach can be sorted into categories by follower count going from nano, micro, macro, and then mega. Each category of influencers has its unique traits and uses. Mega influencers are known to have poor conversions but are exceptional for brand awareness due to their massive reach. Smaller influencers have demonstrated better click rates making them uniquely advantageous in certain cases. Content quality can vary between categories with smaller influencers often having the least experience and potentially inferior content. Mid-range influencers have a balance of reach, content quality, and affordability.
- Range: Range is the term we use to describe the spectrum of followers an influencer might have. Famous influencers like movie stars may have followers from all walks of life, while more niche fashion influencers may have dominant characteristics within their following. As an example; influencers who work in a particular industry like e-commerce will have followers who are uniquely positioned for e-commerce solutions. A more concentrated range of followers is thought to be more engaged and have a higher potential.
- Voice: An influencer’s product is their content and their voice is their primary asset. We use the term voice to attribute individual characteristics to an influencer’s content. We can consign expertise, content quality, and attitude toward their voice. Newer influencers are often thought of as having a maturing product, without a definitive voice. Voice is also commonly used to describe how well an influencer is trusted and to gauge their ability to persuade followers.
- Engagement: Engagement is a strong indicator of an influencer’s ability to generate conversions for a brand. Engagement also serves as an indicator of the bond between influencers and followers. There are countless influencers that generate low-performance figures like comments, likes, and follows. And those figures establish a baseline that reflects an influencer’s ability to create value for a brand.
- Relevance: Influencers and brand values must be aligned to be of any value to audiences. Relevance represents the interests of an influencer’s follower base and how receptive they are to a specific brand promotion. Ultimately the synergy between influencer and brand must be considered as an important determinant for the success of an influencer marketing campaign.
Why is influencer marketing important?
Influencer marketing campaigns can help us fulfill a variety of different goals that are specific to our organizational needs. Ultimately they are designed to return a profit and must prove this ability to remain relevant. By providing a consistent return on investment, influencers legitimize their presence as content creators and pave a path to future collaborations with brands. Below you can find the main benefits of influencer marketing.
Benefits of Influencer Marketing:
- Return on Investment: The most important benefit of an influencer marketing campaign is the return on investment. This is what ultimately determines the viability of an influencer.
- Targetted Marketing: Influencers create content on a topic that is highly relevant to your target demographic. This implies two things: they come with a ready-built viewer base and those individuals are interested in a specific topic related to your brand. This allows you to find your target audience almost immediately, as they are actively accumulating new users.
- Enhanced Credibility: Influencers accumulate followers based on their ability to understand consumer interests. Their drawing power comes from their ability to create targeted content. In this process of finding and collecting followers is an element of trust based on their history. When utilizing influencer promotion, they relay their credibility to your brand.
- Boosted Brand Awareness: Businesses can quickly spread brand awareness by finding the right influencer. Such examples include local influencers and influencers that have a highly concentrated niche. The perfect influencer will be able to portray your intended voice to the people who are most likely to be interested in your product.
- Quality Content Creation: Influencers are positioned as specialized content creators. When working with influencers you are investing in their ability to produce persuasive content to appeal to their dedicated audience.
When to use Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing can be a powerful tool when applied in the right context. But they have their limitations, finding the right influencer and utilizing them at the right time is critical. It’s important to be uncompromising on which influencer you choose to work with as there is a great deal of diversity in quality amongst them. It isn’t a one-size-fits-all sort of deal and it shouldn’t be. The importance of finding the right influencer is only heightened if you plan on setting up a potential brand deal.
Examples of when to use Influencer Marketing:
- Launching a New Product: Influencers are a direct way to reach established audiences. This makes them ideal for creating a buzz about a new product with an additional vote of trust from the influencer.
- Targeting a Specific Niche: Niche products love niche influencers. There is no greater synergy than finding an influencer that can successfully promote your unique product.
- Building Brand Awareness: The right influencers can be a great way to create a sharp boost in brand awareness. They can prove even more effective in doing so if it’s a local influencer and your product is targeted towards their region.
- Rebranding: If you are going through a process of rebranding, influencers can leverage specialized content to boost your brand’s perception and introduce your new approach to the market.
- Diversifying Marketing Channels: Influencers have applications at all stages of a brand’s evolution. Creative influencers can be a great addition to a diversified marketing strategy.
- Organic Marketing: Influencers can be a great alternative to paid ads which are prone to oversight. Since influencers generate followers based on content, they are a source of organic traffic.
- Expanding into New Markets: Influencers are often based in a specific market and that can be a great opportunity to localize in their home market. If you are looking to enter a new market a great start would be in a market where an influencer has an established following.
- Boosting E-commerce Sales: Another more general reason to implement influencer marketing can be to boost your sales. Influencers are known to have a strong ROI and that can be enough reason to engage in the practice.
- Enhancing Content Strategy: Content production can be a long and expensive process, and creative influencers can be a practical solution. Influencers can produce expert content on your topic of interest and enhance your reputation.
- Market Research: Influencer marketing is based on social media, a high-interaction platform that automatically generates feedback from followers. These interactions can be leveraged for hints on consumer perception of your brand and product.
Influencer Marketing for Startups
Brands with limited reach and suboptimal marketing options look to influencers as legitimate solutions. Influencer marketing for startups is uniquely effective as influencers have ready ready-built audiences that can be accessed immediately within a specific niche. Most startups begin operations in one location and as a result, find that local influencers are especially effective.
Influencer marketing for startups also resolves content production issues. It can be time-consuming and expensive for brands to conduct their own content function. Influencer marketing campaigns are an investment into specialized content that’s targeted towards a specific customer base. Furthermore, influencer marketing campaigns are endorsements, meaning that they consign trust and add value to your brand.
Choosing a Platform for Influencer Marketing Campaigns
Similar to finding the right influencer, choosing the platform depends on what sort of content your target demographic is most receptive to. Ask yourself what is the best medium, length, and audience you are trying to connect with. Will a simple image catalog suffice? Does your product require a thorough explanation? Will short form be most effective for relaying the main idea? Are you trying to showcase or educate your viewers?
Evolving Trends in Influencer Marketing:
- Shift towards Video Content: Especially short-form video content is proving to be the most impact form of influencer marketing with almost every major platform featuring the content type.
- Rise of Nano-Influencers: It was previously thought that any real value would be behind larger influencers but nano-influencers and other smaller influencers have demonstrated higher % conversions.
- Sustainability and Ethics: Sustainable practices are seen as an important trend in our current environment and businesses are rushing to align their brand with ethical values.
- Social Searching: As the prominence of e-commerce grows across social media platforms, shoppers are going directly to social media to browse products.
- Affiliate Marketing: Influencers are now breaching affiliate markets and leveraging their following for stable sources of revenue.
- On-going relationships: Brand deals are becoming increasingly common with notable names often featuring as central figures to a brand’s image.
- Quality Improvements: As the influencer market expands and more content creators emerge, there is an overall improvement in the efficiency and quality of content.
Companies Using Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing campaigns are taking substantial positions in certain markets as legitimate methods of leveraging niche content. Below are three examples of companies using influencer marketing for their authentic voices.
Our first example is a popular YouTube content creator who sells his expertise on digital assets, e-commerce, and digital marketing. He is well-recognized in his community for his extensive knowledge of the digital environment and professional delivery. You can tell that his content is refined and well-composed, a style that businesses would love to align themselves with.
While KSI and Logan Paul are not as niche as our previous example, with millions of collective followers across their multiple social media platforms. They are central to the Prime influencer marketing campaign. In a recent podcast featuring Logan Paul, he stated “We have no marketing budget, we save millions by using my influencer status”.
Zachking is another example of a creative influencer who produces some of the most stunning visual content. With a massive following of nearly 28 million people on Instagram, any brand would love to work with him for a product launch. He recently partnered with Subaru the automaker for a video that produced more than 1.2 million likes.
Influencer marketing is very clearly on the rise with new influencers emerging on a daily basis, and new mega influencers being crowned on what seems to be a rapid pace. What was previously thought to be a difficult industry to work with, has been reforming and becoming increasingly viable. Having read the abundant benefits of influencer marketing campaigns, you should be able to take full advantage. Social media is an integral part of the internet and also e-commerce with it.