Customer buying habits are changing rapidly in the modern world. We’re seeing the rise of influencer marketing, where those with a large following on social media promote the products or services of a company to their audience.
Influencer marketing can be an effective part of your overall marketing strategy, but if you’ve never done it before it can be difficult to know where to start. For example, where can you find the right influencers for your brand, and what do you pay them? Or perhaps you are wondering what platform would work best for your marketing campaign – should it be TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, or something different? In a recent webinar, our social media and influencer expert demystifies the world of influencer marketing and how it can benefit your business. Watch the webinar here and find out more about influencer marketing below.
Influencer marketing has been a buzz word for a while now, but what exactly does it mean? Similar to traditional celebrity endorsements, it uses the reach and popularity of social media influencers for marketing, utilising the loyalty and relationship the influencer has with their followers. They will usually produce the content themselves in the form of an image or video, depending on the platform they use.
Influencer marketing doesn’t just mean using celebrities, because not all influencers are famous outside of the online world. An influencer is someone who can be described as having the power to affect trends, behaviours, and purchasing decisions of others. This comes down to two factors: having many followers and having similar, relatable experiences or interests to those followers.
Influencers come in many forms and exist in all sorts of industries, from fashion bloggers on Instagram to well-respected executives on LinkedIn. What’s important here is that a successful influencer will have built a keen, engaged audience who values their opinions and knowledge. And so, their audience will care about the influencer’s opinion of your brand, and trust that your brand aligns with their values and needs.
You know what influencer marketing is, but how exactly can it benefit your brand? Influencer marketing can affect how consumers perceive your brand, as well as ultimately driving sales. What’s important is to use the best marketing platform for your brand and identify influencers to collaborate with.
Influencers can help solidify your brand positioning within your market. When you work with an influencer already respected in your field or industry, their opinion matters to their audience. The influencer can help your target audience learn about your brand values, its story and the products or services that you offer. Essentially: they can position your brand as a leader within your industry.
Audiences can be resistant to obvious adverts. In the days of ad blockers, it can be hard to connect with your audience to tell them about your brand. Influencer marketing offers a platform to connect with these consumers in a less obtrusive, more organic way. People will follow influencers they relate to, respect, or find interesting and can learn about your products or services without feeling like they are just being sold something.
Followers care about what the influencers they follow think and what products and services they’re using. If an organisation can work with an individual with industry authority to recognise its brand this creates an impression that the brand is a reputable, trustworthy company. For example, if you run a makeup company and a beauty influencer says they like your product, followers are likely to trust their opinion. Building trust is integral to marketing.
We use social media every day, and it’s becoming a bigger influence in our purchasing decisions. Consumers look towards influencers they respect and admire to guide these decisions, so it’s clear that influencer marketing can help grow your sales. The algorithms on many social media platforms help drive you towards content and profiles relevant to your interests, so users are more likely to find content and products that relate to their needs and interests.
If you want to market your brand to younger generations such as Gen Z and millennials, you will want to incorporate influencer marketing into your overall campaign. These younger audiences favour digital media and attracting these audiences brings a lot of value to your brand. This is especially important as younger generations are less welcoming of traditional advertising and are more likely to turn to people they relate to when exploring new products and services.
Much like search engine optimisation, influencer marketing means playing the long game. You’re not likely to see a huge increase in sales from a one-off promotion, especially as this can be seen as an attempt for a quick cash-grab. Instead, influencer marketing works best when your influencers and their followers benefit from you as much as you benefit from the exposure.
Many people have admitted to buying products they have seen promoted or endorsed on social media by an influencer. This is especially true if content created includes links through either to your brand’s social media pages or to your brand’s products or website. With the capabilities of social media, it’s becoming easier for users to go from seeing the product in a content piece to being on the product page in a matter of seconds.
Lead generation is a crucial part of the sales process, and influencers can help. Many social network platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and TikTok offer advertising formats that are specifically designed to cater to marketing strategies and collect leads. So why not harness the power of influencers to help you do that?
To create an effective influencer marketing strategy, you must approach it like any other: with thought and planning. Researching your target audience, what platforms they’re using, and how they’re engaging with influencers makes sure you’re reaching your target audience and giving them content that they’ll like. Social listening can help you identify where people are talking about your industry and brand and can help you to identify what the best channels might be for your influencer marketing.
While it might seem tempting to reach out to the biggest influencer you can find, it may not be the best strategy for your brand. Your budget will affect which influencers you can partner with; bigger influencers will charge higher rates per post, which adds up in longer-term partnerships. Smaller influencers might not have as much reach, but often see higher engagement rates and have a more focused, niche audience. If you’re not sure what strategy might work best for your brand, take a look at our influencer marketing strategy services.
The most common reasons for influencer marketing campaigns are to increase your sales and increase your brand awareness. However, these are broad goals, so to have measurable success you need to home in on exactly what it is your brand needs to achieve. For example, you may want to expand your customer base to reach a younger demographic. The message your brand sends depends on the values within your brand and how you use influencers to market them. Make sure your message resonates with the values of your audience – otherwise you may sound inauthentic.
So, you have a plan ready to go: you have set your goals, the platform and the type of influencers you would like to work with. But how do you find these specific individuals? There are several factors to consider:
According to Hubspot, almost a third of all Instagram accounts are considered ‘micro-influencers’ – users with between 10,000 and 100,000 followers. In contrast, macro-influencers have over one million followers but make up less than 1% of all influencers. Depending on your brand, your product or service, and your intended audience, different sizes of influencers can make a great impact on your reach.
A micro-influencer often works best with smaller or more niche brands. Although they have fewer followers than some influencers, their audience is much more engaged. Because they often create smaller, tighter-knit communities, any products or services featured on their channel come across as a recommendation of a friend rather than an advertisement.
Micro-influencers often have a higher engagement rate than macro-influencers, as they seem more relatable and approachable. This makes working with micro-influencers incredibly beneficial for smaller brands who may not have a huge marketing budget. However, a well executed endorsement by a bigger influencer has shown to make products sell out within minutes.
Instagram has fewer active users than Facebook, but users are much more engaged with content.
It has the highest interaction rate compared to other social media platforms such as Twitter or YouTube, which is essential for an effective influencer marketing campaign or strategy. When considering influencers it’s important to look at both the numbers of followers but also the percentage of those who are engaging with content regularly.
Instagram’s top performing posts are product-related, showing us that Instagram users are happy to interact with posts where influencers are promoting products. Essentially, these people know they are being advertised to and they are open to it, making Instagram effective for Instagram influencer advertising.
TikTok’s user engagement is through the roof, there’s no doubt about it. Still a relatively young platform, it is a great network for consumers, creators and influencers alike. Unlike other social media platforms, TikTok has a huge trend culture, and its algorithm can allow accounts with low followers to have videos go viral. This makes it an excellent platform for influencer marketing, even for brands who have a new and unestablished account.
Studies predict that in the next few years, TikTok’s popularity will overtake that of Instagram and Snapchat. If you are looking to reach a younger audience like millennials or Gen Z, this is where you should be focusing your influencer marketing efforts.
The way TikTok’s algorithm works is excellent for brands looking to increase their awareness. The platform is very quick to tailor user specific content based on their interests and needs, so it can help you get your content in the eyes of people who actually want to see it.
Despite being the ‘grandad’ of social media, Facebook can be utilised for effective influencer marketing too. Facebook remains the most popular social media platform with 1.52 billion active users.
Having a massive user base means you have an opportunity to reach a bigger audience with your campaign, which is ideal if you’re targeting a demographic that regularly uses Facebook.
Facebook Live videos are proven to be a very engaging and effective form of content. Through Facebook live, influencers can share their experience of your brand or product in real time with users, or broadcast from an event of yours or an experience visiting one of your stores.
Pinterest might not seem like an obvious choice for your influencer marketing campaign, but it can be very effective. It is a visual platform, with many ‘pins’ for items, inspirations, and designs the user likes or wants to have.
People often use Pinterest to search for products they would like to buy, for anything from an event such as a wedding or hen party to décor for their home. You’re your products or services are the right kind of desirable, inspirational goods then having them easy to find on Pinterest means users are more likely to find them.
85% of its users are women and 67% are millennials, which makes the platform ideal if your target audience is this group. Pinterest also has a platform that works as a meeting place for brands and influencers called Pin Collective. Creators can create content specifically for a brand’s boards.
LinkedIn is perhaps not the first social media platform that comes to mind when we think of influencer marketing, but can be incredibly useful depending on the industry you are in.
Originally created as a recruitment tool, LinkedIn has developed into a place where experts in fields ranging from marketing to leadership and tech share their opinions, network, and create content to promote themselves. To have success on LinkedIn, you will need to partner with an influencer or influencers who have large, active followings and relevant expertise in your field.
Many professionals on LinkedIn are decision makers in their area of expertise. This makes the platform ideal for lead generation in a B2B market. Many LinkedIn influencers have worked hard to build their authority on the platform for years, and have built up trust with their audience.
While influencer marketing can seem like an attractive concept and a way to get your brand out there, not every product or service will be suited to it. Audiences are much more perceptive of how brands present themselves, and usually avoid marketing that feels forced or inauthentic.
However, there is a place for influencer marketing for most brands. Cleaning products have been popularised by home-cleaning influencers, and we’ve even seen rapper Post Malone marketing the ugly but well-loved Crocs shoes. As long as your brand has a clear idea of the message it wants to send, and that message is both true and relevant, then influencer marketing can be a great way to reach your audience.
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