In the last two decades, marketing has dramatically evolved. To keep up with changes in technology, marketers are looking for more creative ways to share their products and services. Although traditional forms of marketing are still relevant, influencer marketing is challenging the status quo.
According to a report by Linqia, in 2017, 86 percent of marketers used influencer marketing. With so many marketers jumping on board, perhaps you’re wondering what exactly it is and whether or not it really works. You’ll find answers to those questions and more if you continue reading below.
What Is Influencer Marketing?
If you’ve ever bought a product because an online personality you love endorsed it, you’ve probably experienced influencer marketing. A more formal definition of influencer marketing is when a brand works with online personalities who are considered influential with the goal of promoting a brand, campaign, or product.
It’s a savvy new way for marketers to leverage people with engaged audiences and loyal followers. Likewise, it’s a way for social media gurus to use their influence to secure business endorsements that get them free products, services, or money.
This form of marketing can serve many purposes for a business. Some include creating brand awareness, driving conversions, and helping to build customer loyalty. It can be a powerful method for both small and large businesses alike. Using an influencer’s social media platform gives you the chance to tap into different markets and generate new leads. For this reason, influencer marketing has become a popular form of marketing for businesses.
Does it Work?
Now that you know what influencer marketing is, you may be wondering if it works. Over the past few years, social media has seen exponential growth in terms of the number of users. Presently, over 3.48 billion people globally use social media and the growing number of users creates massive opportunities for businesses and brands alike.
To buttress this point, marketers spent $570 million on influencer marketing in 2017, while in 2018, $1.6 billion was spent on sponsored posts via Instagram. The fact that so much money is being put into influencer marketing can allude to the idea that it works, but does it? Research from the Digital Marketing Institute shows that it indeed does. Their findings concluded that influencer marketing campaigns make $6.50 for every dollar that’s spent. This means that they’re making a significant return on investment. DMI also discovered 74 percent of people trust social networks to guide their purchasing decisions.
With that being said, it is safe to say that getting a highly-respected Youtuber to review your new pillows could create more brand awareness and drive sales for your business. However, it’s not as simple as just choosing any influencer, which you’ll discover below.
How to Find Influencers
Before going to find influencers, know what your goals are. Practical goals include creating awareness, boosting product sales, or harnessing more leads. Choosing the type of campaign you want to run would be the next step to take. Some examples are allowing influencers to give discount codes or getting them to share content tailored to your brand.
Next, you need to learn more about the type of influencers you can choose from. Knowing the different types of influencers there are is key because a celebrity would offer different value than a thought leader would.
The list below will give you more insight into the types of influencers there are so you can decide which influencer is right for your brand:
- Micro-influencers: these kinds of influencers tend to have smaller audiences and be more accessible. They’re also cost-effective which is ideal for brands that want to build a stable relationship.
- Celebrities: As you can imagine, celebrities are another category of influencers. Some of the most influential ones right now are Ariana Grande, Dwayne Johnson, and Lady Gaga. Their influence means them endorsing your brand could yield great results.
- Bloggers: Google algorithm updates can sometimes cause your website traffic to decrease and this is where bloggers can help. Using an influential blogger is a natural way to boost traffic and conversions by partnering on content production.
- Social media influencers: You can likely guess what a social media influencer is as the name gives it away. These individuals have a well-established social media platform with an impressive following. It’s a great way to grow your social media following and create brand awareness. Makeup artist Huda Kattan and fitness professional Amanda Ferny were top social media influencers in 2018.
- Thought leaders: If you’re doing B2B, then using a thought leader could help you meet your goals. This is because they are usually experts in their industry, so they can help your brand appear reputable.
Once you’ve decided which of the above influencers would be best for your brand, do some research. Find out who the top individuals within your niche are and which best fit your brand. Some things to look out for when choosing are whether they share your audience and their level of authority.
A tool you can use to find influencers is Klear, which allows you to find influencers in 60,000 topic categories. Other useful tools to try are Traackr, Upfluence, BuzzSumo and GroupHigh. The final step would be reaching out and making an introduction. Be sure to negotiate terms that benefit both of you.
How to Make it Profitable
When choosing influencers, you don’t want to go over your marketing budget. However, you also want to get a good return on investment on what you do end up spending. To use their influence to your advantage and get maximum profit, make sure it’s a favorable partnership. This means getting as much exposure and value from their platform as possible.
Also, understand that you need clear performance metrics and goals. Without establishing them beforehand, it’s hard to tell if your influencer marketing campaigns worked. Some metrics to look out for are profile visits per dollar, new visitors per dollar, and website visits per dollar.
Keep in mind that social media platforms are ever-changing. Being up-to-date with trends is important as it could influence the focus of your influencer campaigns. For instance, Instagram recently removed likes and it is reducing the content reach of some influencers. This could mean you have to shift your focus to authentic influencers with quality content as opposed to ones with thousands of likes and followers.
The fact is that, so far, influencer marketing has proven to be effective in helping businesses grow and connect with their audiences. Although we don’t know what the future holds, for now, it’s a worthwhile investment.
The original version of this article was first published on V3Broadsuite.