If you're a part of the few businesses that aren't using influencer marketing, you're in for a treat! Ten years ago, the influencer market was limited to people with real notoriety like celebrities and online newspapers. Now the industry has exploded. An average mom in South Dakota has equal power of persuasion with her audience as an actor in your favourite TV show. With the rise in the number of authentic influencers, you'll also find a similar number of fake influencers. For most small to medium business owners who don't have full partnership divisions, it's difficult to weed out an influencer's authenticity. That's where the use of an agency is valuable. Most agencies have access to backend insights on an influencer and their previous campaign statistics.
But before you can get started with a campaign, it's first essential to understand the industry and why it's useful.
In a nutshell, influencer marketing uses the social media clout of influencers (individuals with a dedicated audience) to drive traffic, get validation and attention from the market. A brand will use mentions, endorsements and testimonials from an influencer to increase awareness and engagement in their niche. The reason large companies are shifting their marketing efforts toward influencer marketing is because of the value of an influencer. A simple example of an influencer's value is that if your best friend were to recommend a new restaurant and said you'd love it, you'd immediately want to go check it out. An influencer works in the same way when they recommend a location, service or product. Their audience acts as a best friend would and checks out what they are mentioning.
An influencer, on average, spends about three years gaining their audience's trust; a brand hops in and capitalizes on their social capital to transfer onto their company. Whereas if a brand would try and achieve the same trust on its own, it would take a significant investment of time and money. In the current context, becoming an influencer for your brand is a real uphill battle. The chances of you being featured and standing out among the billion accounts online are slim and time-consuming.
Instead of putting sweat equity in, investing in influencer marketing helps you skip the headache and get straight to what counts in this world "eyeballs." If you believe you have something of value and people will be able to see that if they experienced your product or service, then using an influencer to showcase it to a sizeable trusting audience is the best bang for your buck.
If you're already thinking, wow I need to get on it, wait until you hear the statistics on the power of influencer marketing. According to Adweek, the industry will reach a total valuation of $10 billion by the end of 2020. That's insane! To add in a few more statistics, did you know 86% of women use social media for advice on what to purchase, and 60% of consumers were influenced by social media while shopping at a store. Based on these statistics, you want to get in front of people on social media before making their buying decisions.
It is vital to keep in mind that running a successful influencer marketing campaign requires a proper understanding of the industry and an all-encompassing strategy. It is pretty easy to lose money if your plan and expectations aren't clear.
Similar to most strategies, the first step in influencer marketing is research. You have to find the right influencer whose audience matches your ideal client/customer. For example, if you're a winery, the last thing you want to do is select an influencer whose audience is under 20 and have the liquor board shut you down. One of the reasons why influencer marketing is so powerful is because their audiences are hyper niche. At this point, it is essential to know the different types of influencers; there are nano, micro, macro and mega influencers.
Unless you have an infinite budget, you'll be interacting with nano and micro-influencers for the most part. A nano influencer has under 10,000 followers but has a ridiculous engagement rate and works the best for localized service-based brands. On the other hand, a micro-influencer has between 10,000 to 20,000 followers and an engagement rate of 3-5%. For most campaigns, we at Blitz Marketing like to use a combination of both types of influencers. We use the nano influencers to create lasting content and drum up localized buzz and the micro-influencers to drive traffic to the brand sites and pages.
Once you finish the research phase, you'll need to start connecting with the influencers to set the terms of your agreement. It is good to start with a budget and your expected ROI in mind; you have to be aware of how you will assess your influencer posts' results with your overall marketing goals before you begin.
Compensation per influencer is a large spread that depends on both their amount of followers and engagement rate. Each influencer sets their standards based on the value they provide, so when contacting an influencer, you'll need to request their media kit and rate card. Keep in mind that the content an influencer creates is valuable because it is a high-quality piece and has built-in social validation and notoriety. For example, if you were to contract out a videographer to create an ad for you and then an influencer to create an ad, the value would be similar as the videographer will give you a high quality visual, and the influencer would offset that with social notoriety. Always ask an influencer for examples of their previous campaign work to help you validate their work quality.
A big part of a successful influencer marketing campaign is the creative strategy and vision. We've seen countless brands come to us with a failed campaign wondering how and what went wrong. It's simple; you need to create a viral creative that the influencers plug into help grow. To sell properly, you'll need an evident emotion that your product or brand makes people feel. With that emotion, you use influencers and their content to give it life. For example, the silk almond milk brand created a vision around "#meatlessmondays." Then they used 200+ fitness and health influencers to create a feeling of better health around using their product. The campaign resulted in an 11x higher return than conventional ads by using influencers to drive that message home.
Managing an influencer marketing campaign requires a consistent person in charge. It's not like other ad campaigns where you can set a campaign and leave it for several days/weeks. With an influencer marketing campaign, you have first to set the intention and expectation for the campaign. After you've successfully entered into contracts, the influencers you'll need to keep in contact with them to ensure that they create content aligned with your vision. The last thing you want is to pay an influencer or send them a product and get zero results.
Also, if there are story posts involved in your strategy, you'll need to ensure that you are appropriately tagged so you can share it on your social media. You also want to agree that the influencer shares their assets with you post-campaign to ensure that you have met your KPI's. Agencies will collect that data and compile them into a full-scale report for you. If you are doing it yourself, you'll need to collect the data from each influencer.
And there you have it! Influencer Marketing in a nutshell. Make sure to check out our other posts on IM! At Blitz, we've run multiple campaigns that utilize anywhere between 10 to 400 influencers, so management and reporting are vital. Feel free to reach out to us anytime to find out how we can help you get started on your next influencer campaign.