Thanks to social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, the word “influencer” has become an inseparable part of our lexicon. More so, if you work in the field of marketing.
As of 2021, the influencer marketing industry is estimated at $13.8 billion. In 2016, it was worth “only” $1.7 billion. In just five years, the industry has grown by eight times, indicating the power the industry holds.
As a business, no matter the size, it’s important that you are aware of what influencer marketing is and how you can accelerate your business growth with it. For this reason, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide of everything you need to know about influencer marketing. We’ll talk about who’s an influencer, the benefits of influencer marketing, and how you can successfully incorporate influencer marketing into your acquisition strategies.
Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our comparisons and recommendations. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.
Let’s dive right in.
Who is an influencer?
An influencer is someone who can influence others’ buying decisions. They can do this because they have authority, knowledge, position, and because they’ve built an online community on their website or social pages and have a close and trusting relationship with them. Usually, they have a large number of followers in a specific niche, and they actively interact with them.
Influencer marketing grew out of celebrity marketing. However, modern influencer marketing is much more than just a movie or sports star offering some unrelated product to their fanbase.
With the development of the Internet, some people have acquired a reputation for being digital superstars. These are the people we consider to be influential.
They could create a successful blog on the topic they’re considered influential in. They may have filmed videos and uploaded them to their respective YouTube channels. Or, more often, they have active and popular social media accounts where they provide opinions, ideas, tips, and tricks related to their specialized topic.
Influencers spend a lot of time building their brand and developing their audience. So, if they think your product is helpful for their audience, they will be happy to work with you. In addition, they will be willing to share their name, experience, and credibility to promote your product to their followers.
Benefits of Influencer Marketing
- People trust other people
Things like social media content, reviews, mentions, and tags are social proof. They signal that even the influencer/celebrity already uses a particular product and is happy with it.
Influential people are usually trusted even more. This is because they’ve put time and effort into growing their brand and reaching their audience. They value customer relationships more than profits. Plus, the audience knows them well.
- You can get insights into your target audience
Influencers know how to captivate their audience – your potential customers. They’ve spent years learning so they know what will and won’t work with them. By observing and analyzing the interactions between agents and your target audience, you can gain valuable information that will help you build a portrait of a client, write better content, and create effective advertising campaigns that will improve user acquisition for your brand.
- You can get more leads
This is achieved through the word-of-mouth effect. The audience of social networks is enormous. And every time an influencer publishes a post about your product and another person shares it on their page, new people will find out about your company.
What Can Influencers Do?
It all depends on what marketing goals you are pursuing. The primary purpose is to deliver your message to their digital audience, which helps build an online community for your brand. Here are some ways they can influence your brand.
- Link to your product or services
- Write about you
- Promote your brand at events
- Repost in social networks
Influencer Marketing Strategy: A Step-by-Step Guide
Now that you understand influencer marketing, you need to figure out how to find suitable agents for your brand.
- Define Your Goals
Before you start working with the influencers, you need to define your goals. Knowing what exactly you expect from the cooperation with the influencer will help you define your approach, find the right people, and allocate the right budget. Here are some of the goals you may think of:
- Creation of unique content that pays off;
- Generation of unique reviews;
- Attract a younger audience;
- Boost the audience’s involvement with the brand;
- Increase the website traffic
- Engagement of qualified leads;
- Increase in online or offline sales.
Keep in mind these are just general goals and yours should be SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound). After you have decided on the goals, identify 2-3 key performance indicators (KPI) for them. Then, you can ask for the influencer’s general engagement for a unique post or insights.
- Identify your ideal influencer
The most important aspect of your influencer marketing campaign is… well, the influencer. You need to find the perfect person that will match your brand with their interest, ideology, voice, and content style. Here are some characteristics of the ‘perfect’ influencer:
- Regularly publishes quality content
- Interacts with their subscribers;
- Has a large audience of engaged followers;
- Writes in your brand tone of voice;
- Operated in the same industry as you.
Remember that the number of followers doesn’t matter as much as the engagement. Influencers with 20,000 dedicated followers can do more for your brand than those with hundreds of thousands of uninterested ones.
- Find the Right Influencer
Most influencers have a large online audience. Followers are waiting for their feedback, reviews, tips, and articles on industry trends. Influencers usually work in specific niches and spheres, such as fitness, health food blogging, lifestyle, fashion, news, etc.
Being an influencer does not mean being active on all social media platforms. For example, one can be an influencer with many followers on Instagram but only a few on Facebook. First, estimate the influencer’s audience size and total reach.
For example, if your target audience is parents, and the influencer’s followers are 15-year-olds, they wouldn’t be a good fit. Finding the right influencer is not always a simple process. It would help if you researched the industry, viewed different profiles, and read blogs.
Nowadays, there are influencers in almost all fields, from skincare to business and human resources. No matter what product or service you provide, with the right research, you can uncover the right person for your brand.
- Reaching out to influencers
Most of the time, influencers can be contacted via direct mail. But before you send them messages, take a look at their bio section. They may have a specific email address for marketing requests.
You can create an outreach template to maximize your productivity, but remember to add some personality before hitting the submit button. Larger influencers get hundreds of offers, as well as a large number of invalid offers. Therefore, make sure to send them only a well-designed professional email. Having a signature in your email that contains company contacts and a brand slogan can go a long way.
- Discuss the finances
If this is your first time working with the influencers, chances are, you don’t have a budget allocated for the influencer campaign. There isn’t a correct number in this case. Each influencer often has an exact price list for the number of stories they make, a post, or a video. The project manager or the marketing head can work together to understand which part of your overall marketing budget you can allocate to the influencer campaign, and then, based on this, start the conversation with the influencer.
- Track and Measure Results
With UTM links or simple insights reports, you can track results and choose whether to continue working with specific influencers or not. By traceable link, you can follow the number of leads the cooperation with the influencer has resulted in.
Best Platforms For Influencer Marketing
While influencers can promote your products and services on just about any platform, specific platforms are generally more effective for influencer marketing, depending on your brand’s industry. Let’s take a look at the key ones below.
With over 2.8 billion monthly active users, Facebook is a social media giant that allows influencers to reach vast audiences with their messages. In the time when the organic reach of company pages on Facebook decreases due to algorithm updates, influencer marketing, alongside paid ads, is one of the few working methods to attract attention to your brand on the platform.
Facebook influencers can use tools like Facebook Live to promote your product in real-time or their communities in Facebook Groups to share a word about your brand. They can also create video, text, and image posts, as well as stories their audience will see. When it comes to industry, Facebook engagement rates tend to be highest in industries such as food and beverage, hotels and resorts, and higher education.
Instagram is one of the most popular platforms influencers and brands use to reach their audience. Believe it or not, Instagram influencer marketing is nearly a $2 billion industry! The visual content platform allows creators to share beautifully curated and well-thought-out visuals with detailed captions that grab the attention of subscribers.
With almost 1.1 billion monthly active users, Instagram is a powerful platform your brand shouldn’t neglect, especially if you operate in the field of beauty, fashion, skincare.
Source: Sara Covey
YouTube is another powerhouse when it comes to digital marketing in general, and influencer marketing in particular. YouTube is currently the second largest search engine in the world, which means people go there to look for products, companies, and ideas they are interested in.
On YouTube, influencers usually create longer videos discussing all the aspects of the product and demonstrating how a product works, create pop-up links to your services or products to boost sales in the long term.
Consider Your Competitors
If some of your competitors have hired influencers, look at them to get an idea of what type of influencers would be well suited to promote your brand.
Then contact them or other influencers in your niche. Choose influencers who are actively involved in your niche and seem to have a positive impact on their audience. Consider also their engagement rate (the number of comments, likes, and shares that a post receives,) as it indicates how involved the influencer’s community is.
Use an Instagram hashtag finder to look for hashtags related to your industry to see who’s already talking about your competitors. Set up Google Alerts to search for keywords related to your industry. Follow blogs that might interest your target audience.
The Future Of Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing may be the preferred marketing method right now, but what will the future hold for it?
Although social media influencer marketing is viral, it is still a new marketing method. It has grown over the past few years and continues to grow. Brands are trying to find new ways of working with influencers because people are well informed about and how it works, making it not so obvious.
The world of influencer marketing is still being analyzed, understood, and refined, and we are yet to see what comes next. Notwithstanding this, one thing is for sure: influencer marketing will only grow. This is an entirely new form of marketing that shows no signs of stopping and deserves your attention.
Many thought influencer marketing was simply a trend. However, it evidenced its value. This is often not a short-lived craze that may pass. Instead, influencer marketing has modified the approach brands act with their customers, and these days, if you do not use influencer marketing, you’re falling behind. Influencer marketing is way more than a trend. This is often a brand-new approach of marketing that’s ever-changing the approach individuals act with brands.
Anahit Grigoryan is a freelance content writer and marketing specialist who works on blogs and articles related to digital marketing and business. She is a marketing enthusiast who currently works as a marketing strategist at 99PAWR and is simply addicted to everything that includes marketing. Probably you understood it already because, in her short bio, you read the word "marketing" 4 times... now 5.