Influencer Marketing has definitely become the new buzz word in the industry, but is it really all it’s cracked up to be?
It seems that every few years or so the marketing industry gets excited by a new buzz word. Not too long ago it was “Content Marketing” and “Social Marketing” and now it appears that “Influencer Marketing” is the new buzz word on the scene.
But what exactly is Influencer Marketing?
According to MarketingSchools.org, Influencer Marketing involves-
“Marketing products and services to those who have a sway over the things that other people buy. This market influence typically stems from an individual’s expertise, popularity or reputation….it does not rely strictly on explicit recommendations “
Another good definition comes from CIO, who states-
“The concept of influencer marketing is rather simple. Brands and startups identify and build relationships with journalists, bloggers, consultants or industry analysts and work with them to build credibility amongst target audiences. This is a handful of powerful and impactful opinion negotiators, who are able to drive a pool of internet users to a particular opinion.”
Influence marketing is also typically not done by a celebrity and is instead carried out by people who have an online presence and are considered an influencer in their field.
Bloggers, YouTube stars, Instagrammers and Tweeters are all good examples of influencers, as they have more authentic followings than celebrities and therefore, more power to push and sell their products.
By using influencers, brands can also avoid any associated skepticism or cynicism towards their marketing message and are more likely to reach their audience on a more personal level.
As social media is growing and evolving, influencers from all over the world are starting to emerge and there are now many examples of just how effective influencer marketing can be.
Examples of Influencer Marketing that Will Blow Your Mind
Not too long ago, Unbox Therapy, a popular YouTube channel was invited to host the unboxing of the Samsung Galaxy S6. A whopping 4 million viewers tuned in to see the video all thanks to the influence the YouTube channel had built with its fans.
Another brand, Birchbox teamed up with lifestyle blog, Cupcakes and Cashmere on their Instagram account. From the promotion, Birchbox was able to reach over 550,000 consumers and received high engagement rates from Cupcakes and Cashmere’s followers.
Cold Stone Creamery, an ice cream company also teamed up with Pinterest influencer, Will Cook For Smiles. Just one pin of their White Wedding Cake Milkshake ice cream flavour generated over 28,000 pins almost instantly.
Tyson Foods teamed up with a series of “mummy bloggers” during Christmas time and got them to share pictures of decorated Tyson Chicken Nuggets as Christmas trees, reindeer and so on. The pictures earned a collective 8.8 million impressions across various social media networks and the company reported that their entire chicken nugget inventory was cleared out in a matter of weeks.
Acura, the car company, gave three influential bloggers one of their latest car models to drive around in and share pictures, videos and blog posts about their experience over the course of a week. The campaign was so successful that Acura had a 750 percent return on investment and increased car sales across the USA.
There is no doubt that Influencer Marketing can be extremely successful and on average, brands report that they are making around $6.50 for every $1 spend on Influencer marketing.
Influencer Marketing provides huge opportunities to expose brands in a new and improved way, but running a successful campaign takes a lot of strategy and planning.
How to Run a Successful Influencer Marketing Campaign
According to CEO and founder of Brand Influencers, Jason Metz the most important feature for any Influencer Marketing is social data.
“We identified trending influencers within each consumer segment and based on an analysis of social data we worked with those influencers to create experiences that we were confident would excite each influencer’s audience, based on what was proving to influence their behaviour.”
One of the major benefits of Influencer Marketing is that you can use the audience of your influencer to determine how your products are going to be marketed and what the best angle would be to reach your influencer’s audience.
This not only helps to take any guesswork out of your marketing strategy but also allows you to reach a whole new demographic that your brand may not have been able to reach on its own.
Other tips that you need to be mindful of when it comes to investigating and running an Influencer marketing campaign includes-
1. Finding the Right Influencer
If you really want to run a successful Influencer Marketing campaign, you have to ensure that the influencer you are choosing is well, influential.
Of brands that have run influencer campaigns, over 75 percent believe that finding the right influencer is the hardest part of the campaign.
Some strategies to help you select the perfect influencer include-
- Looking at people who regularly like, tweet or share your content that may have a following of their own
- Approaching bloggers that rank for a particular keyword
- Searching social media platforms for influencers with a strong and growing following
- Looking at their market reach and ensuring that they are reaching the right demographic for your brand
- Looking at the influencer’s expertise and how they have generated sales of their own or other products
- Looking at the persuasiveness of the influencer and how they have promoted or presented other products
- Looking for how the influencer engages with their audience and responds to discussions about products or services
The tricky part with influencer marketing is that you may not have a lot of control over how your product is presented or reviewed by your influencer. Setting parameters can help, but your influencer may also want a say in how they perceive and experience your product.
2. Approaching the Influencer
Now that you have researched and found the perfect influencer, it is time to reach out to them. Usually email works best but you can also use various social media networks to contact them as well.
Here is a template email that you can use or take as a guide-
My name is (Name) and I am reaching out from (Company name) in regards to a project that we think you would be a good fit for.
We have come across your work on (enter their brand here) and really enjoyed what you did with (enter example of their work here).
We were wondering if you would be interested in collaborating with us on a project. We would of course, ensure that this project would be mutually beneficial, but we would love to discuss things over with you first.
If this is something you may be interested in, please contact me at (enter contact info such as email or phone number).
(Your name, Your Company Name)
When it comes to crafting your email you want to ensure that your message is clear and concise and that you include that they will be reimbursed or receive some benefit for their time.
If you write your own template, here are some pointers to follow-
- Keep it short, sweet and to the point. Do not ramble or send a lengthy email
- Ensure your email mentions your company and product, you may also want to include a website link or other necessary material
- Be sure to let them know you want this venture to be mutually beneficial
- Don’t give away too much of your idea in the first email, allow room for collaboration
- Provide a direct contact so they know who to reach
- Don’t make the email sound or look spammy
- Be sure to compliment them for their work using a specific example
It may also be worth mentioning that most influencers don’t seem to respond until a follow-up email is sent. This is likely due to the fact that the influencer may not trust the email on first receipt, so don’t give up after just one try.
Once you receive a response from them, the first step would be to secure a copy of their media kit to see who they are reaching and where they have the most influence.
3. Analyse Your Influencers Audience to Determine the Best Strategy
Understanding your influencers audience is the most critical component of running a successful influencer strategy.
Once you have their media kit and analytics, you will be able to take your initial research and put it all together for a bigger picture view of your influencer.
This will help you to determine-
- the type of content you will get your influencer to create
- where you would want your influencer to share this content
- how long you would like to work with the influencer
- how much you should pay them or what to offer in return
Remember, the effectiveness of your influencer is determined by the quality and quantity of their audience and content so be sure to pay attention to these factors as well.
When working with influencers it also important to give them a say in what they think will work best too. After all, they know their audience better than you so it is worth hearing their opinion.
You may also ask them to help you think about content creation ideas or giveaways that they may want to offer their followers.
Any good influencer will also heavily value their audience and will want the freedom to be able to tweak suggestions and ideas accordingly.
As Olivier Blanchard, a popular blogger states-
“If you are paying an influencer for their opinion, you probably shouldn’t be running an influencer program to begin with. The belief that the influencer is paid to think a certain way or write a certain way because they were paid to is a pretty clear sign that you don’t understand how influencer programs actually work.”
Whatever content strategy you end up devising, it is important that it fits organically and seamlessly into your influencers brand.
Here are some Influencer Marketing Ideas you can use-
- Have your influencer share a video review of your product or service
- Have your influencer upload a picture using your product or service
- Ask your influencer to write a blog post review about your product or service
- Get your influencer to mention a benefit of your products or services in a tweet
- Ask your influencer to write a blog post about the benefits of your product or service
- Ask your influencer to write a blog post about how to use your product or software
- Have your influencer share a video demonstration using your product
- Have your influencer upload a photo of your product or service in a creative way
Currently, the most popular way to use influencer marketing is for content promotions, product launches and event management.
There are many ways you can use influencers to promote your products and services, so get creative and workshop ideas together for the best results.
What are the Major Challenges when setting up an Influencer Marketing Campaign?
Augure conducted a study to see what the major challenges were behind setting up an influencer marketing strategy. This is what they found from their research –
- 75 percent found it most difficult to choose the right influencer
- 69 percent found it difficult to come up with ways to engage the influencers audience
- 53 percent found it difficult to measure the performance of the campaign
- 32 percent found it most difficult to keep track of influencers activity surrounding the promotion
- 26 percent found it most difficult to budget their campaign
- 26 percent found it most difficult to automate the process
- 8 percent found it most difficult to find trained or qualified staff to help with running the promotion
It is important to keep in mind the common road blocks that occur when it comes to running this particular style of campaign and how you can put safeguards into place to help meet the demands of these challenges.
Some safeguards that you may want to put into place include-
- Asking for all analytics and relevant information about your influencer before starting the promotion
- Setting up appropriate tracking of your campaigns (more on this later)
- Keeping a strict budget for your campaign
- Giving your influencer the opportunity to share their opinion about the best way to engage their audience
- Ensuring that your agreement includes full coverage of analytics for your campaign
How Much Should You Pay an Influencer?
There are two types of influencer marketing strategies-
- Earned Influencer Marketing
- Paid Influencer Marketing
Earned Influencer marketing is when you have an existing relationship with an influencer. This includes a developed relationship where you can both team up together to promote each other’s products in a mutually beneficial way.
Earned Influencer marketing is also when you develop an organic relationship whereby the influencer simply just loves and advocates your brand.
For example, the tequila brand Patron has many influencer advocates that naturally promote and support the brand. If you search the hashtag #Patron on Instagram for example, you will see many pictures of the product uploaded, not because people are paid to do it necessarily, but just because they enjoy the product.
Paid Influencer Marketing is when you pay an influencer to promote your brand, product or service in some way.
There is really no industry standard on how much to pay an influencer, however here are some statistics that may help you to determine an appropriate price-
- Fashion bloggers with over 1 million followers typically earn anywhere from $5K to $15 K per product placement photo
- Khloe Kardashian who has a following of around 20 M followers reportedly earns $13K per tweet for promoting a product
- An influencer with around 13K followers on Twitter can be paid around $30 per tweet
- Biggest Loser trainer, Jillian Michaels has around 1 M Twitter followers and earns an estimated $3K per tweet
- A blogger with 42K followers can earn around $1K+ for a product or service mention in one of their blog posts
- A YouTuber with 2M followers can charge around $5K and up for a promotional or demonstrative how to video
- An Instagram influencer with over 1 M followers can charge $15 to $15k for a branded post
- Liz Eswein, a popular Instagram influencer charges brands $1 per like of her posts (some of her posts have over 23K likes)
One thing to keep in mind is that it is important to remember that you are not necessarily paying an influencer to get conversions immediately, instead you are paying them to bring exposure to your product.
Remember, endorsement programs are not influencer programs, so don’t get caught up in treating them the same way and expecting similar results.
As Pierre-Loic Assayag from SpinSucks states-
“Go for effectiveness, not numbers. When building an influencer program, it’s the Navy SEALS you re putting together: a small group of people going behind enemy lines to create and build the most effective program.”
How to Measure the Success of Your Influencer Marketing Campaign
While running your campaign it is important to continually measure the success of how it is doing and whether you are achieving your goal.
Unfortunately, there are very limited tools to help influencers connect with brands in way that allows full access into analytics, however here are 5 metrics you will want to pay attention to-
- Impressions: this measures the number of times your post was viewed by your influencers audience. Impressions are a good indication of the effectiveness of your campaign and can be helpful in determining how to scale your strategy.
- Engagements: these include likes, comments and shares and provide deeper insight into how your influencer’s audience is reacting to the content.
- Conversions: this includes measuring how many sales, sign ups or installs you received from the influencer. These can be tracked in three ways- trackable links like bit.ly, promo codes and correlations between the time of posting and the number of sales or sign ups.
- Brand Mentions: getting your brand mentioned around the web is a great way to build influence. You can check to see your mentions by visiting your various social media accounts or setting up a Google alert.
- Content Quality: how happy you were at the quality of content released by your influencer and how you think the content impacted on the way your product or service was received.
You may have to test out a few influencers and content strategies before you find one that works, however once you find the perfect combination, you will definitely start seeing results.
In recent research, Augure found that influencer marketing was most beneficial for:
(In order of effectiveness starting with most to lowest)
- Content promotion
- Product Launches
- Content Creation
- Event Management
- Corporate Communications
- Crisis Management
Is Influencer Marketing The Next Big Thing?
Judging by the rapid growth and influence of social media and recent statistics, it seems that influencer marketing is definitely here to stay.
An estimated 75 percent of businesses are already using influencer marketing strategies and around 47 percent of marketers view influencer marketing as a “very effective” strategy for growing their business.
Another survey also found that influencer marketing has become more effective in recent years and this trend is only expected to grow.
It really seems that Influencer Marketing is the next big thing and is going to become more and more popular as time goes on and as technology and social media expands.
Final Tips to Helping You Run A Successful Influencer Campaign
- Ensure that your brand matches and compliments the community of your influencer
- Know what your influencer stands for and what type of audience they attract
- Know which platform your influencer is most powerful on (YouTube vs. Facebook)
- Understand that your influencer has to communicate in their voice and style
- Develop a relationship with your influencer
- Think bigger than just instant results
- Set up as much tracking around your campaign as possible
- Keep up to date with current trends in the influencer marketing world
- Try, test and try some more till you have a strategy and influencer that works for you and your brand
Are you ready to launch an Influencer Marketing Campaign?