Influencer marketing is one of the latest marketing channels gaining popularity in recent years. Whether it’s B2C or B2B influencer marketing, the strategy can be used to market any product or service.
Influencer marketing does not rely on traditional advertising. Instead, brands collaborate with influencers to promote the former’s products or services.
These influencers are usually experts in a particular field and have many followers or subscribers on social media. They can be bloggers, journalists, celebrities, athletes, or social media stars. They promote the brand through sponsored posts, which are still generally cheaper than placing ads on TV, print, or radio.
Anyone can be an influencer as long as they have extensive knowledge and skills about a particular industry. For instance, a beauty influencer can be good at makeup and know useful hacks for the inexperienced. In influencer marketing, your brand must tap someone who knows how to engage social media users. Influencers who consistently post content tend to build a large following, too.
Why influencer marketing is important for your brand
Influencer marketing is a valuable part of marketing strategy for brands of any size for a couple of reasons:
Compared to other marketing strategies, influencer marketing has an excellent ROI. A vast majority of marketers report that the influencer marketing ROI is better than that of other marketing channels. Needless to say, you probably expect to receive good results from your marketing campaigns. Then you must seriously consider using influencer marketing as part of your marketing plan.
Personal and organic
Another reason to use influencer marketing is because of its organic nature. Presumably, influencers have already established a relationship with their followers. It feels more natural and personal when a person (i.e., the influencer) posts or shares relevant content about a product, unlike when a brand sells it.
No wonder more and more brands prefer to work with influencers to make it look not like they are selling goods or services but are actually using them because of the benefits they enjoy.
How to plan an effective influencer marketing campaign
The use of influencers to promote your business has become a staple component for marketing and advertising. This is due to the fact that it is a more cost-effective way to reach the target audience than other forms of advertising. These days, people are on social media. Hence, brands can easily target them in their marketing campaigns.
An influencer can also help your company find potential customers and create and execute compelling campaigns. As long as you regularly measure your success in influencer marketing, you can leverage this channel to raise brand awareness, promote your offerings, generate leads, engage your audience, build a community of like-minded people, and establish industry leadership, among many other marketing goals.
Now, we will go through the basics of planning an influencer marketing campaign since its success heavily depends on how well you use the tools at your disposal—in this case, your brand influencer.
1. Understand what your goals are
Before creating a marketing strategy, you should identify your brand goals:
- Who is your target audience?
- Why are you making this campaign? (ex. increase brand awareness, generate sales)
- How are you going to execute this campaign?
Once you have determined your brand goals, you will know what metrics to monitor. This brings us to the next step and the main topic of this article.
2. Find the right influencer for your brand
The next step to planning a successful influencer marketing campaign is choosing the right influencers. It is important to identify the right influencers relevant to your brand. An ideal influencer should also have a large enough following to reach your target audience.
There are many ways to find potential influencers for your campaign. You can use social media or research for blogs and websites. Once you have found some possible candidates, you should narrow down your list of candidates. Look at their follower count, engagement rate, and niche relevance to your company.
The right influencer should align with your brand and share a similar aesthetic (as you would see on their feed) and audience. Then do the next steps.
- Reach out to your target influencers.
- Like or comment on their posts, or tag them when you share their posts.
- Send a personalized message and let them know you have taken the time to learn about them and that it would be an honor to collaborate with them.
3. Think engagement over quantity
There is also such a thing as “micro-influencers.” These people may not have millions of followers, but they could match your brand with engagement and increasing revenue. Micro-influencers may have more engagement with their audience than popular influencers with millions of followers. This is because they curate their content more carefully and value their followers’ opinions.
So when you choose an influencer, do not rely solely on the number of followers. Remember, followers can be faked by using bots. If the influencer profile has more “following” than actual followers and has no original content, it is most likely a dummy account. You must avoid these kinds of influencers.
Find one who suits and speaks for your brand best. When you reach out to them, consider how your offer can benefit both parties. The goal is to build a long-lasting relationship with your chosen influencer and help build both brands.
For example, if you want to explore getting potential exposure and being recommended on their page, you can invite them as guests on your podcast or vlog channel.
4. Consider how much the compensation will be
It could be tricky, but paying an influencer depends on the type of collaboration. Also, compensation isn’t always equivalent to money. It could also be through free products, such as those that are yet to be launched. Compensation for your chosen influencer can also be through affiliate commissions. An exchange can occur for every sale through their link.
What if you don’t have a budget to pay for an influencer?
Suppose you are just starting your business and have little money for marketing. Getting an influencer to market your business can take a toll on your budget. The good news is you can still use influencer marketing even with a limited budget. How?
You can quote influencers on your future content. Then, let the influencer know you used something they said on one of your posts. Thank the influencer if you get their “blessing” for the quote. If you’re lucky enough, the influencer might even feature your content and share it on their feed. An additional reach for your brand… yes, please!
If you have enough budget to send in some free samples to influencers. Do so in exchange for a testimonial. Post their testimonials on your website. Include their names or company names, to stand out. Customers will trust your brand because of the testimonials from known people.
How effective is influencer marketing?
Is influencer marketing effective? The short answer is yes.
People trust influencers because they are considered “experts” in a specific industry. There are “beauty” influencers, “tech” influencers with knowledge of the latest gadget releases, “parenting” influencers, travel influencers, etc. Some people like influencers for their humor, others for their extensive industry knowledge, fashion sense, etc.
Regardless of why people prefer a certain influencer, there’s no denying how effective influencer marketing is for a business. In a Google Keywords and Trends analysis, interest in influencer marketing has gone beyond 90% from 2013 up to the present.
People listen to someone whom they trust. If an influencer recommends your brand, their followers will listen to them and trust your brand. Conversions can also increase up to brands that create and share content through industry influencers.
Influencer secrets you should be careful of
Like global brands we know of today, popular influencers did not become, well, popular overnight. They also started from the bottom, and now they’re here.
Influencer marketing continues to grow as a powerful technique in the marketing space. As a marketer, you should be aware of these secrets to help find the right influencer that your brand needs.
Using bots to increase followers
Did you know that bots exist on most social media platforms? Some influencers buy likes and increase their followers to make their profiles popular and improve their rates when working with brands.
However, social media platforms have a way of discovering these types of activities and are serious about cleaning their platform of fake influencer accounts.
Here are some signs to spot a phony account:
- No default photo or uses a stock photo
- Few to no social posts
- Low “followers” and high “following” count
- Usernames that don’t make sense (usually contain random jumbled letters and numbers)
Buying YouTube views
Even YouTube has its fair share of fake engagement issues, such as buying views to boost channel growth. Some do this to build their channels, attract real viewers, and get online recognition. However, this typically does not last long as the website cracks down fake views.
Buying followers and likes are still a thing these days, although less prevalent, unlike before. Nonetheless, marketers should be careful when finding an influencer that could affect their brand reputation.
Marketing trends and strategies keep growing, including influencer marketing. This collaboration between a brand and influential individuals or groups. This is to promote a product or service can be a valuable part of your marketing strategy, as well. Influencer marketing promises good ROI and is more relatable and personal than traditional ads.
Most influencers are popular people in various industries. However, anyone can be one as long as they know how to engage on social media and are willing to consistently share skills and knowledge.
Choosing the right influencer is not a walk in the park. Don’t get swayed by so-called influencers with many likes and followers. It is a meticulous process to ensure that the influencer suits your brand and has the power and influence to help you achieve your marketing goals.