Taking a Deeper Look at Influencer Marketing
We’ve all heard from them, believed them, and followed their recommendations. They’re everywhere on the internet and social media platforms. Who are they? Why do they have so much power over the way we make choices and purchases, you ask? They are called influencers and influencer marketing is their arena.
Just a few years ago, influencers were just mostly models and celebrities that we love to watch on TV commercials and in movies. However, this has greatly changed since it has opened up the influencer market to more players and aspiring influencers.
A Deeper Look at What is Influencer Marketing
Though this word has already become a common household term, we need to define or describe it to be able to fully understand what it is and what it entails.
Now an established form of online marketing, influencer marketing is even being referred to even by mainstream media. On the surface level, this type of marketing uses social media and is used for endorsing products and services. It also includes product mentions from individuals who are known for their dedicated social following called influencers. Influencer marketing puts the idea of a celebrity endorsement and incorporates it into a content-driven, modern-day marketing campaign.
What makes influencer marketing work is the amount of trust that followers put on the influencers they follow. And your brand getting product and service recommendations from them is a social proof of quality.
However, it is not about achieving quick results.
If you’re thinking that using this type of marketing can yield immediate results, then you’re thinking wrong. Influencer marketing is a slow and steady approach that doesn’t involve directly selling your products and services. Its most basic objective is to establish authority and credibility in your chosen industry as well as set yourself up as a thought leader.
What is an Influencer?
As previously mentioned, influencers don’t always just involve celebrities. In this time and age, it can just be anyone—even those who would never consider themselves popular in an offline setting.
So, what is an influencer? He or she should:
1. Have the power to affect the way people make purchases and purchasing decisions. Influencers are followed for their opinion, authority, position, knowledge, or relationship with their audience.
2. Have a significant following in a given niche where he or she actively engages in.
How important then are social media influencers? Imagine that over the last decade, social media grew rapidly, reporting about 3 billion people actively using it. This is a good 45% of the world’s population that look up to influencers to guide them in their purchasing decisions.
The Types of Influencers
There are numerous ways to classify influencers, including by types of content, by follower numbers, and by their level of influence. In this article, we will identify the types of influencers in the most common way, which is by follower numbers.
From the name itself, these influencers boast a vast number of followers in their social media accounts. Though there are no written rules on the specific number of followers for one to be called a mega-influencer, a common idea is that they have over a million followers on a platform.
Most mega-influencers are celebrities who have become famous offline such as TV and movie stars, musicians, writers, sportspeople, and reality TV stars.
Ranked next to mega-influencers are the macro-influencers who are believed to be more accessible than the former as marketing influencers. Their usual number of followers ranges from 40,000 to 1 million. There are two types of mega-influencers—the B-grade celebrities or those who haven’t quite made it to the top and the successful online experts or those who have built up a successful following online.
Here come the micro-influencers or everyday people who have become known for their knowledge on a specific niche, garnering follower numbers of between 1,400 to 40,000. Though the numbers may not be so big, it is their relationship and interaction with their followers that matter.
Next to micro-influencers are nano-influencers or those who have a smaller number of followers. They offer brands a modest reach, which is also narrower. However, these influencers make up for their narrower reach by increasing engagement. They have the highest engagement rate among all types of influencers, which is at 8.8 percent. Why is this so? It’s because their content is more targeted, personalized, and authentic for the audience, making the brand influencer marketing experience different. Also, these influencers are suitable for startups and brands that have a limited marketing budget.
The Value of Influencer Marketing
How important is influencer marketing in today’s tough business competition? Because its well-known and proven effective for many brands, more and more people and companies are turning to it. Even Adweek forecast in 2018 that its worth will reach around $10 billion last year. Indeed, it even surpassed this number. Today, more platforms such as TikTok, YouTube, and Snapchat are beginning to have their own set of influencers.
What are the Advantages of Influencer Marketing?
Let’s decode why more brands are turning to influencer marketing for their needs. Here are its top advantages.
1. Increased brand awareness
The need to increase brand awareness is very high, and this type of marketing helps a lot with that. With influencers’ massive reach, you cannot underestimate their power to increase brand awareness. When they post something that endorses a brand, service, or product, their followers will notice it and take interest in it. Compared to traditional advertisements where audiences know that the endorsers are being paid, influencer endorsements are deemed more authentic. So, when you use influencers, you are taking a shortcut and attracting their followers to find your brand.
2. Targeted endorsements
In marketing, messages have to be targeted towards the right audience to achieve the desired results, which is a painstaking process, especially when done the traditional way. Thanks to influencer marketing, you can take this burden off your shoulder because it is the influencers now who will do it for you. For as long as they are relevant to your niche and fit your brand’s image, they can do a lot of wonders for your product or service.
For example, if your business is clothing apparel, you can reach out to influencers in this niche and bank on their followers who might be interested in buying your products.
3. Trust and enhanced credibility
When it comes to influencer marketing, the power of influencers is in the trust that their followers give them. Followers expect influencers to give their honest opinion or review of the products or services that they feature on their social media accounts. So, when an influencer talks about your brand in a positive way, they deem this genuine and eventually develop brand loyalty.
4. Increased audience engagement
Having a million followers on your brand’s social media account won’t matter at all if your audience does not engage with you. This is where influencers come in. Remember that when they share your content on their social media accounts, their audience engages with it too. And when they like it, they might share it on their own profiles and tag their friends, extending your post’s reach.
5. Heightened website traffic
It’s not just your social media accounts getting more followers, but your website’s traffic will also likely go up. Remember that increased brand awareness is one of the top advantages of influencer marketing. Because of this, more users and customers will start visiting your website; thereby, increasing your traffic there.
6. Higher conversions
The ultimate objective of every business is to increase sales and conversions, which you can do through influencer marketing. Without it, you’ll have to do the tiresome work of blowing your own trumpet and convincing your target market that you have the best products and services. This is especially more difficult with consumers who are now more willing to spend hours researching online before making their purchase.
Whereas, if you use an influencer to endorse your brand, your consumers’ buying decisions will be easily influenced, leading them to buy your products. The result, higher sales and conversions.
How to create an influencer marketing strategy
In order to be able to take advantage of influencer marketing, you need to know how to create a good marketing strategy. Consider these tips:
1. Identify your audience
Remember that your audience is the one you want to reach and have an impact on, so it’s important that they are identified at the onset of your influencer marketing strategy. Take the time to outline the specific details about who you want your brand to connect with. It’s best to create a buyer persona with psychographic and demographic segmentation. Once this is done, it will be easier to identify the websites and people they follow.
2. Learn how to find influencers and determine the amount you are willing to pay them
It’s important to do the most crucial step in any strategy-building endeavor—research. If you’re only starting out, you should focus on only one platform. Then, as you expand, you can another platform. However, it’s important that you make your brand visible first before looking to expand it.
Oftentimes, taking the first step can be the most confusing one. It helps to perform social listening within your niche or industry to find out what people are talking about. It’s important to note that the beauty and fashion industry is more popular on YouTube and Instagram.
While in this stage, you should consider the type of influencer you want to deal with. The larger their following, the more expensive they are. Even with this, you need to know the range of payments or rates for influencers. Furthermore, determine the way by which you can gauge your ROI from your social influencer campaign. In a blog by Influencer.co that looked at the average cost of every Instagram post by an influencer, it was found out that the average overall price per post is $271.
3. Create a management strategy
Armed with your budget, you now create a management strategy that includes the time you set for planning, executing, and reviewing your influencer marketing strategy. Always remember that it’s not a set-up-and-go kind of plan, but you need to monitor it as it goes. Should there be any changes needed, you will be able to make the necessary adjustments.
4. Decide on your message
What do you want to tell the audience? How do you want your influencer to endorse your brand? Remember not to do a hard sell because most consumers now don’t like that. Your influencer should stick to stating their review or opinion of what you’re offering instead of pushing the audience to buy it right away.
Influencer marketing is a modern way to do marketing for your business. It’s not as expensive as traditional marketing, but it definitely has a wider reach in just a shorter amount of time. Businesses that are looking to get their brand seen or increase brand awareness should, without a doubt, invest in influencer marketing.
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Writer, blogger, software reviewer.