I’m sure you’ve done a ton of online research in your lifetime.
Think about that pair of shoes you looked for or searching for the best skincare lines. Your search led you to reviews, whether on a blog or social media. The piece of information either persuaded or prevented you from making a decision.
That, in a nutshell, is influencer marketing.
What you’ve looked at will help form your purchase decision based on the opinions and facts you’ve just seen.
Whether you realize it or not, so many daily decisions and ideas are spawned through another person’s thoughts or ideas.
I know, we don’t like to think of ourselves as being easily influenced, yet it’s perfectly normal.
Influencer marketing is a way for brands to get their products or services in front of decision-makers on all levels, whether it’s a household or a large corporation.
And, influencer marketing is one of the most effective tools a marketer can use.
The Definition of Influencer Marketing
Wikipedia defines influencer marketing as “a form of social media involving endorsements and product placement from influencers, people, and organizations who have a purported expert level of knowledge or social influence in their field.”
The content these influencers share can be considered a form of testimonial advertising or social proof. The higher the ‘ranking’ of the influencer, the weightier the words.
There’s nothing more powerful than word of mouth marketing.
Bottom line is, you’re paying an influencer to leverage their community in an effort to spread the word about your product or service.
Also, don’t underestimate the power of the micro and nano influencer. But, more on that later in this article.
Is Influencer Marketing Right For You?
Research has shown that people trust other people over advertisements created by brands. Plus, over 44% of social media users follow influencers, and 34% of those users make purchasing decisions based on those recommendations.
It’s true that not every single product or service is right for influencer marketing. The fact remains that some things are harder to “influence” than others.
But keep in mind, there is an audience out there for every single product or service imaginable.
And, for that audience, there are influencers pitching relatable products the only way they know how to. Through their blogs and various social platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Linkedin–you name it.
For your product or service to reach a larger audience, investing in an influencer campaign could increase your reach, as well as sales.
Why Influencer Marketing Is Important To Your Strategy
The internet is a crowded, noisy place. Brands of every shape and size, vying for the attention of their target audience. Internet congestion is worse than rush hour in L.A.
You have a split second to capture the attention of your potential buyer.
If you aren’t giving them what they want, they’ll move onto your competitor.
And, since consumers are equal parts savvy and skeptical, they often don’t buy what brands are self-promoting.
That’s why influencer marketing is a powerful tool in your arsenal.
The word of a trusted influencer can create a viral product or service. Or, worst-case scenario, bring in some website traffic to increase brand awareness.
Does Influencer Marketing Work?
And, influencer marketing is about to grow even more influential. Especially since we are sheltering at home.
We are unable to touch, smell, taste, or whatever sense is needed to make our own decisions. Consumers will now, more than ever, need a trusted person telling them what to buy and what to avoid.
If your influencer campaign runs effectively, you can expect:
- Amplified Awareness: Whether you choose one influencer or 100, your brand will be presented to a new audience. With a like, share, and follow from them, suddenly you’ve increased your presence exponentially.
- Totally Targeted: By meticulously choosing who your influencers are, you can ensure that your promotion is being targeted to the most relevant audience.
- Intensified Integrity: If your influencer’s audience trusts them, then by default, they will likely trust you. Influencers work hard to grow their community’s trust and establish relationships.
- Awed Audience: An active audience is a captive audience. If your chosen influencer shines your product or service in the right light, those fans will be left in awe. Which will put into action them seeking you out. Your fan base grows, waiting for you to build a relationship and awe them.
How To Choose Influencers
Not just any influencer will do for your unique offering. No. You have to find the right person with the right audience.
First, identify the type of influencer most beneficial to your campaign:
- Micro/Nano influencers: These influencers have a smaller community, usually from 5K up to 50K. Typically, their fan base is pretty close-knit and highly engaged.
- Expert or Macro Influencers: With a larger fan-base, these influencers are considered thought leaders in their respective niche. Their audience turns to them for recommendations based on the types of products they endorse.
- Celebrity Influencers: Celebrity influencers grow their communities based on their celebritiness (and yes, we made that word up). They may be more apt to promote products of any kind, but expect to cut them a pretty hefty-sized check.
There are many ways to find the right influencers:
- Leverage your personal network
- Join a specialized influencer network service
- Use search tools like Buzzsumo and take advantage of the free trial
Once you find influencers related to your industry, build a rapport with them. The best influencer campaigns begin from a good working relationship.
Elements For Running An Influencer Marketing Campaign
Next, there is a lot of prepping and planning that goes into an effective influencer marketing campaign.
There is usually a cost when it comes to influencer campaigns, so determine your budget prior to putting together the campaign.
Costs can include your product, along with the payment for the influencer. That number runs the gamut, and you may be able to negotiate directly after you’ve made contact.
How to run an influencer campaign:
- Identify who your target audience is.
- Determine what outcome you’re wanting. Is it brand awareness, increasing sales, building your own platforms (your social and website)?
- Figure out which social platform you want to focus on. Blogs, TikTok, Instagram? All of the above?
- Determine the type of campaign you’re planning to run.
- Gifting: You provide your product in exchange for page placement, or mentions on the influencer’s social or blog. Keep in mind, many influencers request payment along with the product.
- Affiliate: Giving an affiliate code to your influencer will allow them to earn money long after your agreement has ended.
- Brand ambassadors: This is more of a partnership. The influencer becomes a recognizable face associated with your brand.
- Influencer takeover: Just like it sounds, for a set amount of time, an influencer takes over one or more of your social channels. They bring their fan base along with them.
- Sponsored content: Written or visual content you created specifically for influencers to share on their platforms.
Find your influencers and reach out to them with a compelling, friendly email asking for a collaboration. Once you’ve got a list of people you’re working with, another email should be sent detailing expectations for both parties.
You can track your key performance indicators (KPI) by adding an urchin tracking module (UTM). This is a little snippet of code you put on the end of a unique URL. This will help you figure out the success of the campaign effort.
The FTC And Influencer Campaigns
In order to lessen, or even prevent, false claims in advertising, the FTC created governing principles and regulations.
If these are not followed, and yes, the FTC does closely monitor what goes on, then you could be subject to fines or worse.
Rules and regulations for Influencers can be found on the FTC website. And, also reference the FTC Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Finally, read the What People Are Asking document.
When running any type of campaign that includes paid influencers, there must be an easily found, easy to understand disclaimer stating that the post is an ad, a sponsored article, or an endorsement of any kind.
Influencer campaigns are one of the most effective ways to gain brand awareness. If you have the budget and product for one, try it on a small scale to measure how it does for your brand.
Cheers to your successful influencer marketing campaign.