Influencer marketing is on the rise in the last few years. Most businesses are seeing influencer marketing as a viable option, as opposed to other forms of marketing. Businesses are also seeing the value in investing in this more.
In this piece, you can get an in-depth understanding of what it is, and why it is on the rise. You can also get a sense of who influencers are and which of them are the better ones. Additionally, the article provides a few data points of why and how influencer marketing is working. Finally, you also get a sense of why an influencer could be a bad choice or a campaign could potentially fail. Hope you find this article to be an interesting read.
Do you know what is influencer marketing?
So, let me tell you what it is. Influencer marketing is when a brand gets endorsed by an online influencer for their product or service. Different people are considered online influencers. These people have multiple followers and can impact and influence the opinion of their followers.
Brands improve their brand recognition by working with influencers.
No matter which industry the brand belongs to, with the penetration of social media, every industry has its set of influencers. As a brand, you must find those influencers, identify the most effective ones and convince them to inform their followers about your products and services. These influencers cater to your specific industry and therefore bring greater conversions by targeting specific target audiences.
Needless to say, as much as it may sound like a cakewalk, many things can go wrong while implementing an influencers’ marketing campaign.
- You could potentially not identify the right influencers,
- the messaging that you send out could be all wrong,
- the timing you choose for the messaging could potentially be wrong,
- the campaign may fall flat, and more.
Therefore, it is important to ensure that you have the right strategy while adapting to influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing could be something similar to a recommendation made by someone you trust in your family or friends. However, the only difference is the influencer here is online, a stranger but certainly believed by his or her audiences as an expert in the subject. This form of marketing has been increasing over the years with more people adapting to the online or digital world.
Who are influencers?
With more people going online, influencers are taking on an important role in brand awareness and spreading the word. They are not “celebrities” they are experts in their field, who have a lot of followers.
According to the Digital Marketing Institute, “70% of Teens Trust Influencers More than Traditional Celebrities”.
Influencers can be anyone and be from anywhere. Meaning they can be popular for their sheer knowledge on a particular subject or have expertise in certain areas.
An influencer can be:
- An Instagramer who is a fashion photographer, or
- A blogger dealing with online security,
- A trusted source for news or politics,
- A respected source on LinkedIn for market information;
All of these can be influencers. They typically have many followers in the millions or could have as few as 10,000 or less. However, what makes them tick is the amount of influence they have on their audiences and the authenticity of their support.
For instance, if you want to invest in Instagram influencer marketing, you must look for not the influencer who has the maximum number of followers but the ones with the most expertise in the field and have the most engaging posts on the topic relevant to your target audiences. The more the engagement with your influencer’s post, the greater the chances that they can change the reader’s mind and impact your businesses directly.
An influencer is also someone who can interact and stay away from the straight-jacketed promotion of the product. They tend to be more engaged with their audiences and the product or services they vouch for. This means, to be an effective influencer, they are usually convinced and have all the knowledge of the product or service to back up their recommendation.
Why is Influencer Marketing on the rise?
Over the last few years, influencer marketing has been on the rise because of the sheer increase in the number of online participation. Many people have started to join the different social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, and more. This has introduced creators and curators of content themselves. This has also given a lot of talented people the opportunity to rise above the noise. This has helped people craft and share their own experiences using their different forms of expression, be it videos, infographics, photos, stories and more.
Some of the reasons the influencer marketing is on the rise include:
#1 Attract the right customers
Influencers have the right kind of audience for your brand. The best way to find them is to find the influence who is involved the most with your industry. Additionally, one can filter down further to the particular type of product or service. This ensures that the per capita return on investment is higher.
#2 Efficient use of social media platforms
There are different types of influencers across different social media platforms. This includes platforms like blogs, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and others. These platforms are huge and influencers use these social media platforms efficiently. Brands find it easier to ride on the efficiency of the influencer and gain conversions. It is believed that Instagram posts are the most used format of influencer marketing.
According to bigcommerce “78% of marketers chose Instagram posts as the number 1 choice.”
#3 Builds customer trust: When a legitimate influencer talks well about your brand, the trust, and reliability of your brand increases. An influencer has the clout to change public opinion, and people often look to them for recommendations. This is better than serving your brand up as an ad.
The Digital Marketing Institute in its study mentions that ‘49% of Consumers Depend on Influencer Recommendations’.
#4 Conversion and better returns
Targeted marketing always gives better returns and higher conversion rates. The most effective thing about influencer marketing is that you are not just targeting the right audiences, you are targeting audiences using influencers who they already trust.
It is believed that 89% of organizations say the ROI from influencer marketing is comparable to or better than other marketing channels as specified by bigcommerce.
#5 Cost-effective option
Over the years, marketers are finding influencer marketing to be a more cost-effective option, as compared to other marketing options including email marketing, ads, and others.
#6 More efficient than organic growth
Organic growth is time-consuming and requires a lot of effort on something you might not necessarily have the experience of doing. The learning curve is steeper. However, influencers already have the reach, they have already established themselves. This makes the process more efficient.
#7 Better SEO
A good influencer marketing strategy increases SEO making it more effective. The more people mention your product, the better the SEO rating gets. A better SEO on a brand means that anyone looking for a similar product or service gets the brand’s product or service as a higher-ranked result. This not only makes the influencer increase sales directly but also indirectly increase conversions through search.
How to identify a good Influencer in your niche?
Today, it is believed that 17% of companies spend over half their marketing budget on influencers according to bigcommerce.
Therefore, you are better served to know how to identify a good influencer and put your money to good use. You can identify the influencer according to your customer journey.
Tips to find the genuine influencers in your vertical:
#1 Organic, reliable followers
An influencer who has organic and reliable followers is an influencer worth investing in. When selecting an influencer, you must ensure this influencer is one with legitimate followers. A good influencer always has the ability to increase his or her followers over a period of time. When an influencer has a static number of followers, it should ring bells in the brand’s head saying this may not be someone to invest in.
#2 An advocate of the brand
A good influencer must always be an advocate of your brand. He or she must be able to vouch for your brand, for which he or she must have a good understanding of what the brand stands for. Brand advocacy is an important part of an influencer’s job, a good influencer knows and takes the role very seriously.
#3 Present quality content
A good influencer knows his or her followers and knows how much and how to push content to them. A brand might want to get the maximum return on investment and most mentions, but an influencer knows when the mentions are moving from promotions to a hard sell. He or she knows what and how to make the idea go without throwing the audiences off with sales-heavy information.
#4 Engage with audiences
A good influence always engages with audiences. Influencer followers like to engage. They feel a sense of importance when influencers engage and respond to them. Influencers worth their salt know this, and therefore engage with their audiences – not just while running a campaign but all the time. This is also how they grow their followers.
#5 Drive lead generation
An influencer at the end of the day must help generate leads and increase sales numbers. The reason the campaign is run is to get the desired outcome for the brand. A good influencer will deliver on it, and if he or she cannot then the experiment can be considered a failure. According to (source) Convince and Convert, ‘On average, businesses generate $6.50 in revenue for each $1 invested in influencer marketing’.
Though this is not a direct indicator of a good influencer, it certainly is one of those considerations one has to make while picking an influencer for your brand. So, someone who fits into the budget is certainly more desirable than an expensive one. However, on the upside, it is believed, according to bigcommerce, there will be 1.65% of influencer marketing budgets increase in 2020.
What could go wrong with influencers or influencer marketing campaigns?
There are many reasons why influencers or an influencer marketing campaign might not work for your brand. Here are some of the reasons why:
- The influencers you have selected were not the right pick. This would require you to go back to the drawing board and select the right ones.
- Lack of legitimate followers is also an issue that can come up. A lot of fake influencers seem to have the numbers in terms of followers who potentially could have been bought or lured into following the person. However, it could be that they do not actually have any influence on them.
- Though the influencer may be convincing, sometimes there could be an audience mismatch. This could affect conversions, and lead to messaging to the wrong audiences.
- Issues with setting objectives and identifiably goals could lead to an unsatisfactory performance on part of the influencer and the campaign.
- Lack of knowledge and/or conformity to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) could lead to issues.
- Influencer marketing campaigns are usually time-consuming and time-sensitive. Therefore, the influencer will have to be able to invest the time and effort to make it a success. Without that commitment, there is a likelihood that the campaign may fail.
- As much as influencers are promoting a brand, they should not sound like salespeople. Instead, they should appear to have bought into the idea of the brand. This requires creativity, learning, and engagement. A lack of that can be problematic.
- On a technicality, one needs to ensure that the proper tracking systems are in place, URLs and landing pages are designed and available to ensure that audiences are not lost after being influenced.
- The brand and the influencer must have a mutual understanding of what and how to communicate. There are no prebuilt guides such as an Instagram marketing guide or a Facebook marketing guide etc. Therefore, the best way to get in line is to have an open discussion.
- The cost of the influencer is an important aspect of any decision made by the brand. A good arrangement at an affordable rate with terms and conditions specified will take the relationship and campaigns a long way.
Here is an influencer marketing framework to understand how it works correctly.
For your success online, picking the right influencers is indeed paramount. You get the right person for the job, strategize the right kind of campaign, present it to the world at the right time, and watch the magic unravel.
You are faced with two options when you decide on influencer marketing –
- You stay out of it because you do not trust the process or do not know enough yet to invest in it.
- You can pay attention to how the online space is evolving, take the plunge knowing there is data to back your choice, get your hands dirty, and get with the program.
Like in most business decisions, there is no one size fits all solutions. However, given the growth of influencer marketing and how it is predicted to grow over the next few years, if you don’t cash in on this boom, you will have only yourself to blame and rest assured will be left behind.